• Flamboyant Poppies

    IMG_2126The Oriental poppies have put on a wonderful display this year with their beautiful large papery petals that burst from the fat buds held proud on long strong stems, above clumps of hairy leaves.

    Flowering from June to July they put on a flamboyant show with their glorious flowers, as soon as the flowers begin to fade snip the stems out to prevent them from producing seed this can help bulk up the flower production. For the flower arrangers the seed heads can be dried and left natural or spray with a little metallic paint for that extra zing they can be used for decorations in the month the man with the red suit pops by (I won’t mention the word a little early I think)

    When poppies have finished their glamorous show they can look untidy but don’t despair they are one of the easiest plants to care for, cut all the growth back to just above ground level give them a dressing of fertiliser and a little mulch; in a few weeks they will be producing their hairy leaves again with the possibility of a late flush of flowers around September.

    Oriental poppies can leave a gap when cut back this is not a problem plant Asters, or the daisy flowers of Heleniums and Rudbeckias to fill the space these will provide late summer colour and elegance to the garden.

    We will have some lovely new poppies next spring Central Park a lovely wine red, Harlem burgundy pink and Helen Elisabeth a lovely salmon pink.

  • Garlic spray for Lily Beetle and Slugs

    LILIUM_5Aren’t these little creatures lovely, the slugs and snails hold parties in my garden every night I’m tempted to put little signs up “no gate crashers allowed” they wreak havoc.

    How to stop them! I think this has been the conundrum of gardeners for many years, Provado is a good guard against Lily beetle but if you don’t like to use chemical sprays I have heard you can use a garlic spray and found the following recipe.

    Boil two pints of water, crush two large garlic bulbs "I would use cling film or a plastic bag to keep it all in place", crush using a rolling pin, add the contents to the boiling water to blanch for around 3 minutes, take off the heat and leave to cool, I would leave outside to cool garlic does have a strong odour. When cold strain the liquid into a jar to remove the debris through muslin or old tights, you could make more than you need and freeze some to prevent it going off.

    This is your concentrated spray add one tablespoon to around a gallon of water you could add a little washing up liquid to help it stick to the leaves, spray all over the leaves and stems not forgetting the underneath every couple of weeks, you may find it better to spry late afternoon or evening after the sun has gone. The slugs will not like the taste and should leave your plants alone, especially Hostas with there big juicy leaves.

    It's also a good guard against aphids I think it may be a good idea to test it on your plants first; if there is no sign of harm then continue to use, otherwise dilute a little more and try again. I think a little care should be taken as it could deter the predators of the pests you are trying to eradicate. Still kill any lily beetle you find and continue to remove the grubs until you can see the signs that the spray is working. You can buy a commercial garlic spray at garden centres, homemade is much cheaper.

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