Blos­som is the key to qual­ity fruit

The Leader (Tasman) - - GARDENING - ROBERT GUY­TON

apri­cot. Blos­som doesn’t last for­ever. In fact, one de­cent gale and it’s gone, so if your trees are alight with bloom, get out­side and among it. Pic­nics are rec­om­mended and even po­etry read­ings have a valid place where blos­som reigns. walk­ways through your swamps – use step­ping stones or rounds of tree-trunk. Bet­ter still, stay off the ground till it’s till­able.


The spring gar­den is a vul­ner­a­ble one and spring is a tem­pes­tu­ous sea­son, mean­ing ev­ery­thing is un­der threat of sud­den de­struc­tion: blus­tery winds can re­duce a thriv­ing flower gar­den to a mess of potage, and hail can turn what’s left to con­fetti. Keep­ing those el­e­ments off your young seedlings or pansy blooms is chal­leng­ing un­less you are grow­ing un­der­cover in a tun­nel­house, but there are ways to re­duce the chances of shred­ding-by­weather. Cloches, glass or plas­tic pro­tect against ev­ery­thing bar in­sects and mol­luscs.

Weather events of the rough sort are coun­tered by a well-an­choured cloche and even cold air is kept at bay, as un­der the clear skin of a cloche, the air can be sev­eral de­grees warmer. At this time of year, let­tuces ben­e­fit greatly from pro­tec­tion from un­ex­pected cold, and cloches suit them per­fectly, but slugs don’t care about them. Mol­luscs such as they and snails march, on their sin­gle foot, right on in and set­tle down to dine. The most ef­fec­tive way to keep their num­bers down to next to zero is to visit the plants they yearn

to dine on at night, with the aid of a head torch, and pick them off your plants, then con­sign them to a fate I’m re­luc­tant to de­scribe here, but is fi­nal and fa­tal.


Peren­nial herbs and flow­er­ing plants are rous­ing from their win­ter slum­ber now and throw­ing up this year’s growth, sig­nalling a will­ing­ness to be di­vided and mul­ti­plied. Gold­en­rod, com­frey, French sor­rel and lemon balm all ac­cept di­vi­sion at this time of year and show no ill ef­fects from be­ing sliced, diced and re­lo­cated for the greater good.

You can mul­ti­ply your stock of those peren­ni­als with the fall of a sharp blade (em­pha­sis on sharp – I use a bas­tard file and use it often on the edge of my spade) and they will com­fort­ably es­tab­lish new out­posts through­out your gar­den, with the


This col­umn is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get grow­ing, from New Zealand Gar­dener mag­a­zine. For gar­den­ing ad­vice de­liv­ered to your in­box ev­ery Fri­day, sign up for Get Grow­ing at: get­grow­

sup­port of a lit­tle ju­di­cious wa­ter­ing in the drier parts of the coun­try. It’s sur­pris­ing just how ro­bust those peren­ni­als are and how keen they are to spread their in­flu­ence.

At present, I’m try­ing to di­vide and mul­ti­ply goat’s beard, a coarsely named but beau­ti­fully flow­er­ing peren­nial that by all re­ports doesn’t re­spond well to be­ing chopped from the par­ent plant and re­planted else­where, so if there’s a reader who has done this suc­cess­fully, I’d like to hear from you. I’ve gone ahead and made the cut and am on ten­ter hooks while the re­lo­cated clumps bed in.

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