At this time of year (north of the Tropic of Cancer anyway) gardening usually slows down. This is not without its compensations. Keeping up does become less hectic. Still, most of us do not want to really hibernate so what do we do to keep the show rolling forward?
For those of us with a large garden there is always something to do even it is just trying to keep it tidy by gathering up leaves and broken branches. This is also the time of year to put most of any new spring bulbs into the ground. For those of us with a small garden or a balcony a little thought can go a long way. At this time of year we tend to be short of fresh items. Growing a few herbs can do so much to liven up a meal without much effort. Some of the hardier items can still be kept out of doors but others really must be kept indoors. One word of caution, be very wary of bringing pots indoors if they have been left outside. Insects tend to leave eggs in and around food that we like to eat. Once the eggs come into the warmth they hatch and the resulting plague can be most unwelcome! Of course going the other way has fewer problems and one really has to be wary of the frost in the spring.
One can have a splash of colour very cheaply by planting pansies, roses, gardenias or azaleas, in containers with compost out of doors. These items can easily be obtained from your nearest gardening centre or even your local florist. Throw in some cheap spring bulbs such as narcissus or daffodils and one can have a boost of colour just as the other plants are beginning to fade.
One can be a real enthusiast and start from seeds but if you are starting out it is more reliable to buy seedlings. Nowadays just about every supermarket sells growing herbs such as parsley and basil which are beyond the seedling stage in pots. If one wants the plant to keep on growing through the winter one should “pot up” into larger containers with good quality compost. The plants should thrive on that for a few weeks if they are watered and have sufficient light but if you want them to thrive into the New Year and beyond you will have to give them some fertiliser. Do harvest quite often as this helps the plant bring forth fresh growth. Uncut and some of them will become a bit stringy. With a bit of luck the plants will still be healthy at the end of spring and can be put into the ground outdoors for the summer!
Article written by London Florist – Flowers24hours.co.uk