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Action plan: Nigel Colborns essential tasks for your garden this week


Action plan: Nigel Colborn's most important tasks for your garden this week

  • Nigel Colborn gave advice on pruning wisteria to prepare for next spring
  • The British gardener recommends examining the plants for long, thin, fuzzy growths
  • He also answered a reader's question about their spoiled plums

EASY SUMMER CUTTING

August is the time to prune wisteria in summer. It's not critical, but pruning will result in bigger and better flowers next spring.

This also helps with training and binding the climber in the coming winter.

The task is simple. Check the plants for long, thin, or smeary growths that developed in summer. These are often sparsely leafy and can get tangled or twisted.

Take each young stem and find the point where it connects to the more mature stem. Count up to seven leaves or leaf buds from this joint and separate the thin stem there.

British garden expert Nigel Colborn gave advice on pruning wisteria (file image)

The plant responds by developing embryo flowers in each of the tiny buds, some of which are hidden in the leaf joints. You will hardly notice them, but you will probably be happy to get rid of the long, dangling stems.

Check whether the wisteria are still healthy. If necessary, cut away all climbers and carefully dissolve any tangled stems.

Training and tying on loose ends becomes easier in winter. By then, the leaves have disappeared, and it's easy to arrange bare stems and carefully tie them down. With newly planted or young wisteria, you may want to keep these long summer stems. This is best done in winter. However, tie them loosely to the support for now to protect them from wind damage and prevent them from rotating around themselves.

HARVEST ONIONS

Onions ripen quickly and need to be stored soon. Avoid the temptation to bend your onion tops. This used to be good practice, but it's always better to let your necks dry out naturally and as completely as possible.

On heavy soils, you can slide a large fork under your onions and partially pull them out without digging them out. This should support the natural ripening process. They should be kept temporarily in a dry but well ventilated place. When the skin dries and hardens, the dirty outer layers should peel off easily. You should have flawless onions with dry skin.

To store, either line up the bulbs or store them in nets or mesh bags. They must be kept in a cool, airy place. Keeped dry with a healthy skin, onions should keep all winter.

Nigel chose & # 39; Dark Knight & # 39; as a plant this week for its late summer bloom (file image)

Nigel chose & # 39; Dark Knight & # 39; as a plant this week for its late summer bloom (file image)

READER QUESTION

Our plums were spoiled by maggots in the fruit this year. They were creamy pink and each was surrounded by darker spots. What were they and how can we prevent that from happening again?

The pest is the tiny plum moth Grapholita funebrana. Women lay eggs in baby plums in June or early July. After hatching, the tiny maggots eat their fruits and ripen prematurely. As affected plums develop, each larva eats through the pulp and creeps into hibernation.

Control is difficult. You can hang pheromone traps in the tree in early summer. These could include enough male moths to reduce female fertility.

There are insecticide sprays like synthetic pyrethroids that are applied immediately after flowering. However, care must be taken not to harm pollinating insects. Affected fruits are perfectly edible, especially if you cut away the spoiled parts.

PLANT OF THE WEEK: CARYOPTERIS CLANDONENSIS & # 39; DARK KNIGHT & # 39;

Shrubs that bloom in late summer are appreciated. The selection is tiny compared to spring varieties. Caryopteris x clandonensis defies this trend by looking fresh and colorful in late summer and well into autumn.

One of the most beautiful varieties, C.x clandonensis & # 39; Dark Knight & # 39;, has rich royal blue flowers that stand out against the silver-gray foliage.

The flowers develop on the youngest shoots that have developed and ripened this summer. Prune every spring to ensure fruitful flowering. Freedraining soil works best with this plant and for free flowering, place it in full sun.

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