17 December 2017

May in your garden

April has passed, with it’s mixture of rain, snow, hail-stones and wind. Every season brings something new into our life, as it does to our garden. As our gardens need to be maintained so do we as followers of Christ. Plants, shrubs and trees need to be pruned regularly to produce the best for our garden. We also need to be pruned that we might become fruitful and most useful for the ultimate plan of God. Jesus said in the Bible: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:2

Maintenance of the garden:

The lawn:

 if you did not repair your lawn in April, you still have time to do so in May. Fill dead patches of grass and over-seed the sparse areas. Create a fine surface by raking, sow seeds evenly on missing parts, incorporate the seeds by rake into the surface or cover them with thin layers of fine soil, gently press the surface with seeds and if necessary water.

 weed control is very important before the weeds go to seed, pull by hand or dig out always with the roots. This is a more time consuming way of weeding but it is very effective especially at this time when the lawn still have a soft, moist soil. If you cannot afford the time use the chemical options and apply a weedkiller with fertiliser.

The shrubs and trees:

 prune out frost damaged parts of the shrubs and trees.

 after flowering, prune bushes like berberis, forsythia, chaenomeles, choisya, ribes, spirea and weigela.

 clip hedges of evergreens and trim the wilting seed heads from azaleas and rhododendrons which will save the energy for growth of foliage and next year’s flowers.

 if you have hydrangeas in your garden this is a great time to change the colour of it: use lime in the soil around the bush to produce pink flowers or aluminum sulphate for blue.

 trim and fertilise roses with all-purpose fertiliser, look out for aphids, greenfly, whitefly and diseases like black spot.

 for compacting the size of conifers, shrubs and trees pinch off the new growth ‘candles’.

Fruits and vegetables:

 plant beans, carrots, corn, lettuce, peas and potatoes at the beginning of the month.

 in the middle of the month, plant cucumber, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes.

 after weeding and basic maintenance, cover your strawberries with protective netting and protect fruit bushes, like currant and gooseberry, from damage by birds.

 constantly trim the sucker growths from fruit trees.

 clip the side shoots of gooseberry.

Flowers:

 use fertiliser for flowerbeds and borders.

 protect your plants from slugs and snails mainly delphinium, hosta and lily.

 pinch out the leading shoots from helianthus and chrysanthemums.

 you can plant bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas, lilies, cannas and tuberous begonias.

 after finishing blooming, care for spring flowering bulb plants like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths as growing plants and use care to protect the foliage and roots.

 in the middle of the month plant dianthus, fuchsias, geraniums, impatiens, pansies, petunias and snapdragons.

 regularly clip the dead heads of the flowers unless your intent is to harvest the seeds from it.

 divide plants like hostas, primroses and daffodils after flowering.

Special tips and tricks:

 Basil deters flies and mosquitoes from tomatoes.

Pot marigold deters tomato worm, asparagus beetles and whitely from tomatoes.

 Mint repels cabbage white butterflies, aphids and flea beetles from cabbages and tomatoes.

 Coriander repels aphids from most of the vegetables.

 Chives next to roses helps prevent black spot and increase rose perfume.

Now, it is time to maintain our life with God!

Zuzana Polackova