A time to recover before winter’s rest

2010-03-27 00:00

SOME welcome rain fell recently, but regrettably some areas had severe wind and hail damage. Cleaning up will involve much cutting down and trimming back of trees and shrubs that have been tattered and torn. This is always disheartening, but with two delightfully sunny and warm autumn months ahead, the garden will grow and recover before the winter slow-down and rest.

Looking gentle, tall and very pretty are the white, pink and lilac flowers and buds on the Japanese or wind anemones. Easy-to-grow perennials, these are a delight the year through. The big, round plants have attract­ively shaped, large evergreen leaves, and when not in bloom they are good foliage plants, giving a cool spread to a patch of garden in summer. While there are double- and semi-double-petalled flowers, it is the singles which are the loveliest with nine velvety pe­tals and pronounced stamens full of yellow pollen. The position they enjoy is one offering rest from the afternoon sun.

At this time of strong growth, the ramblers and climbers of star jasmine send out long stems of foliage. Where it grows out of bounds, trim it back. This does not affect its flowering in the spring.

The same applies to the petreas. The purple-flowered petrea is well known and grown; the white-flowered one is a little forgotten, but is very beautiful. The racemes of flowers are snow-white and glisten and shine among the lemon-yellow green leaves.

Where shrubs have grown too big for their position, they can be attractively controlled with some thoughtful and diligent pruning. This will give shrubs a topiary appearance. Some change into umbrella shapes, others to fat, round balls and yet others into tall or short pillar shapes. Artistic and adventurous gardeners try to make shapes of birds or animals. These will need clipping and trimming from time to time to keep their definition.

Those who have monkey-free gardens have time still to plan a few plants of lettuce and cabbages and a row or wigwam of beans. Many herbs, too, will grow and mature before the cold months come. The Swiss chard spinach produces its green leaves in quick time, too.

The usual garden chores of cutting lawns and edges, weeding, dead-heading and trimming still need regular attention.

Most of the summer flowering annuals are reaching their sell-by date and need pulling up. Marigolds, zinnias, snap-dragons and ice-plants have played their colourful part for this season.

Some summer flowering perennials too, have done with flowering for now and spent stems need to be cut down. Seed may be collected from many of these and will germinate successfully after spring planting.

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