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HomeHome & GardenAction plan: Nigel Colburn's essential jobs for your garden this week

Action plan: Nigel Colburn’s essential jobs for your garden this week

Action plan: Nigel Colborn’s essential jobs for your garden this week

  • Nigel Colborn offered tips to cool down your greenhouse
  • UK-based garden expert also advised to regularly feed outside plants 
  • He said to gather seed for new plants now if you grow special hellebores 

 COOL DOWN YOUR GREENHOUSE

The temperatures inside a greenhouse or conservatory can rise to rather dangerous levels in strong June sunshine. Many plants — even tomatoes — can suffer from heat stress or leaf damage caused by excessive warmth. 

With greenhouses, you can easily create shade by painting the glass on the outside with shading compounds. These include products such as Summer Cloud, which can be blended with water and painted or sprayed on.

Nigel Colborn offered his tips on cooling down your greenhouse so that plants do not suffer from heat stress or leaf damage caused by excessive warmth

You can also buy fabric shading material which provides gentle shade without blocking out too much sunlight. This can be fixed to the inside or outside of your greenhouse, depending on the product type. 

A quick browse will prove that there’s a wide range of items on offer. When autumn comes, fabric shading material can be easily taken down. It is simple to wipe shade paint products off by hand, too. 

Most are formulated to be removed when dry, so pick a sunny autumn day to wipe your glass with a dry cloth. For now, a quick application of shade could save your tomatoes, improve their fruit quality and create better growing conditions for anything else in your greenhouse. 

 Any cold frames and conservatories can benefit from shading, too. 

TOMATO WONDER FEED 

If you have plants outside in containers, they will benefit from regular feeding. A general-purpose feed helps the plants expand rapidly, filling their pots with root so the green parts grow quickly. 

To increase flower production, feed them with high-potassium fertiliser. You’ll soon have heavy crops of flowers blooming for the rest of the growing season. The best product is tomato fertiliser, which has just the right balance of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen.

UK-based garden expert said if you have plants outside in containers they will benefit from regular feeding and that a general-purpose feed helps the plants expand rapidly

UK-based garden expert said if you have plants outside in containers they will benefit from regular feeding and that a general-purpose feed helps the plants expand rapidly 

COLLECT HELLEBORE SEED

If you grow special hellebores, gather seed for raising new plants now. From donor plants, find seed capsules which are mature and just about to split.

Check for ripeness by squeezing the ripest-looking capsule on the old flower cluster. 

If it splits readily, remove the whole sprig, place it in a dish or a large envelope and stand that upright. 

Over the next few days the seeds will be shed. If the pods need a little help, squeeze them gently.

Expert said to gather seed for raising new plants now if you grow special hellebores. He advised to find seed capsules which are mature and just about to split

Expert said to gather seed for raising new plants now if you grow special hellebores. He advised to find seed capsules which are mature and just about to split

 PLANT OF THE WEEK: PELARGONIUM ‘AUSTRALIAN MYSTERY’ 

 With so many pelargoniums in cultivation, picking a favourite can be an almost impossible task. There are varieties for every taste. One of the most attractive, Australian Mystery, has upper petals in a rich purple-red, and is subtly veined at the petal base. It is in the group of pelargoniums known as ‘decorative’. Most of these are easy to grow. Its vivid flowers sit beautifully among medium-sized foliage. It grows vigorously, up to 50-60cm with a spread of 40cm.

QUESTION  

We moved a young witch hazel ‘Jelena’ bush last November. It survived but the leaves are smaller than normal and there’s almost no new growth this year. Will it recover? 

Mr R. Beecham, Dorset. 

Witch hazels are liable to sulk for a while when transplanted. But if your plant was healthy in its previous position and the soil and conditions are similar in the new spot, it should recover.

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