Don’t Forget the Autumn Tidy-Up.

 In George Irvine

There is a still quite a lot of chores that need to be done in the garden during the next few weeks before the clocks change and British Summer Time comes to an end. If you have not already harvested your vegetable crops such as potatoes, carrots and onions and summer cabbage then  now is the time to lift any remaining produce before the frosts cause damage or the slugs make short work of what is left in the soil.

Crops such as leeks and broccoli can be let in the vegetable plot over the winter and you can use these as they are required for the kitchen, although broccoli and sprouts will both benefit from being staked to prevent winter winds from rocking the roots of these plants. Leeks can be dug up as needed provided the soil is not frozen hard.

Take a close look at hard fruit trees such as apples and pears, gathering up any fallen fruit and discarding any that are damaged or showing sign of rot. Clear up any fallen leaves while you are doing this. Don’t forget to apply grease bands as mentioned in last week’s article.

Take a look at your lawn and use a spring tine rake to give the grass a bit of a scarifying before winter. This will remove any debris and thatch which is gathering around the roots of the grass and will clog up the grass. Spike your lawn if you have not already done so and  brush in some sharp sand into the holes made with your fork or hollow-tined rake. Finally, give the lawn a feed using an autumn lawn feed which is low in Nitrogen but high in Phosphate.

Take a close look at your shrubs and perennial plants and cut back any that are overgrown. Some tall growing plants may need to be staked to prevent damage during winter.

Autumn Prune Roses to Help Them Survive the Winter

Rose bushes should be pruned back to about at least a third of their height at this time of year.

Carrying out this job now will prevent the winter winds and gales from rocking the bushes which can cause the roots to become loose in the soil. Indeed, this can cause the bushes to die but can also allow disease to attack your roses.

While you are tending to your roses remove and discard any leaves which are lying on top of the soil around your bushes as these may be contaminated with black spot or rust which can form spores on the soil and will re-infect you bushes next year

Give Strawberry Plants a Start During Winter.

If you really want to enjoy sitting out in the sun next summer eating tour own home-grown strawberries complete with ice cream, then you can start growing your plants any time now.

If you have rooted runners from last year’s crop you can plant these into small pots and grow them on  outdoors in a sheltered spot over the winter. Alternatively, you can buy new plants now and plant them into large containers or strawberry planters.

Strawberry plants really do well when they get a bit a cold and as they are quite hardy they will thrive. It is a good idea to grow various different cultivars so that you can have a mix of both early-fruiting varieties, some main crop followed by some late fruiting varieties.

Winter Gardening Talks Begin.

Gourock Horticultural Society members commence their winter talks on Wednesday evening in the Cardwell Inn, Cardwell Road, Gourock.

Members will be treated to an illustrated tour of local gardens which should prove to be educational and yet entertaining and everyone hopefully, will learn something of value and maybe get some ideas about how to enhance their own gardens next year.

The meeting commences at 7.30pm and new members are welcome to come along and enjoy the evening.

Grand Gala Evening Celebrates Gardenfest Inverclyde 2016.

Cardwell Garden Centre was the scene of this year’s Gardenfest finale when the crème-de-la-crème of local gardeners gathered to await the announcement of the winners of the 2016 competition. Promoted by Inverclyde Council and sponsored by Cardwell Garden Centre, this year’s contest attracted increased entries and also brought many new gardens to the judges attention.

Attended by Provost Robert Moran and local councillors, local ‘green-fingered’ enthusiasts and their friends and invited guests were treated to an illustrated commentary of all the gardens that were entered in the competition by Ken Thomson and yours truly.

Following this part of the programme, the audience were wrapped a sense of mystery as everyone awaited the announcement of the results of each municipal ward and were called to receive their prizes from local councillors.

There followed the announcement of the awards and trophies for the specialist categories and the recipients received were called to receive their awards including those for the Best Gardens in each of the three towns of Inverclyde and for the best garden in the villages. The final award was for the Best Garden in Inverclyde.

The garden awarded the title of the Best garden in Greenock was that tended by Ted Kelly of Inverkip Road and Ted also earned the top accolade of having the Best Garden in Inverclyde.

In the commercial and community garden section of the competition, Clock Caravans of Gourock topped the bill with their colourful containers and baskets giving architectural enhancement to their many borders of colourful bedding plants.

Among the gardens entered by pre-school groups and local primary schools the top award was gained by Moorfoot Primary who was also awarded the Judges Discretionary Award.

As one of the judges, I can add that I and my colleague- Kieran Gallagher of Cardwell Garden Centre- were really surprised at the standard and quality of all the entries and even the newcomers were really opened our eyes. Well done everyone!


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