Gardening with Jill

Hi gardeners, hope all is going well for you and your gardens. I don’t know about you, but I can be a bit accident prone. The following plant is handy to have nearby for accidental burns, insect bites, stings, and sunburn.

ALOE VERA (Aloe barbadensis)

It has been said that Egyptian Queens, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, bathed in Aloe juice to maintain their beautiful looks. Although, I tried the Ponds 7 days beauty plan for about 7 years, I didn’t look like Elle McPherson!

Aloe is in the lily family, like onions, garlic, and asparagus. It is a perennial and easy to grow. It has sharp sword like fleshy leaves. When the leaf is cut open is contains a jelly like substance, known as ‘xeroids’ which stops the loss of water allowing the plant to survive long periods of drought.

Easy to grow either in a pot or in the ground, this succulent will grow in full sun or part shade but will not tolerate frosts. A rich soil, good drainage and adequate water are required. No overwatering. If growing in a pot, place it in a part shade position. Tolerant of most soil types and the soil Ph can be neutral. They are drought resistant absorbing water from the air through its leaves. When removing a leaf for use, cut it at the base and if you don’t use the whole leaf wrap it in glad wrap and store in the crisper of your fridge. A true gift from Mother Nature and a great gift for a friend or family member.

AUTUMN BULBS

A beautiful mass planting of bulbs is a joy to behold. A few years ago, I took a road trip to ‘Floriade’ in Canberra. On the way we stopped at Bowral. My favourite flower is the Daffodil and what I saw in these towns was inspirational. Nothing short of spectacular!

I want to inspire you, the gardener, to enjoy this Autumn and plant out some bulbs. The term bulb is given to any plant with a thick or swollen organ from which foliage and flowers grow up and roots grow down. The term bulb covers corms, tubers, and rhizomes. All bulb-like roots have the characteristic in that they are the plant’s food storage device to be drawn on to start active growth after its season of dormancy.

SOIL PREPARATION

Dig the garden to a depth of 20cms at least two (2) weeks before planting. Then do the following:

  • Spread Mushroom compost at least 1.5cms thick and dig into the soil

  • Add Blood and Bone at about 3 handfuls per square metre and dig into the soil

  • On the day of planting sprinkle over some Flourish Flower and Fruit.

When the bulbs arrive in your nurseries, usually February/March, purchase, and place in the crisper of your fridge. Once the weather is cooler, usually end of March, plant out. The reason for placing the bulbs in the crisper is that this cooling process promotes good flowering. I even use ice water when I am watering my bulbs for the first few times, to make them think that the ground is cooler than it is. As you know our warm weather can continue through to May.

Multi planting of bulbs in a pot will give you a fabulous array of colour.

CARE AND STORAGE

When the bulbs finish flowering DO NOT cut the foliage back, this is very important. During their growing time they store food for growth for the following year. Some bulbs even form the flower buds for the following year at this time also. A light feed of Blood and Bone is made at this time and weed the area well. I usually place a stake with the description of the bulb so I’m not digging around and disturbing the bulbs.

If you do dig them up there are a couple of methods for storage. You can let them dry out for a couple of day and then place them in a shallow container cover with Peat Moss and store in a cool dry place. The other is to dry the bulbs out well, sprinkle with Mancozeb, place in an onion bag and store in a cool dry place. Your bulbs will be kept safe ready for replanting next year.

Footnote

Your local nurseries will have leaflets on garden and container depth and apart (spacing) planting of the bulbs. The label on the bulb usually has instructions, as well.

Daffodils Garden Depth 10-12 cms

Apart 10cms

Container Depth Cover

Apart 7 cms


Gladioli Garden Depth 10cms

Apart 20cms

Not suitable for container planting


Happy Gardening,

Jill





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