It's October already and we are well and truly in to Spring. It's also less than 80 days until Christmas, just in case you were wondering! The warmer days are drawing many out into their gardens and planning what to plant now.
There are many easy-to-grow annual flowers that will attract bees and other pollinators to your garden.
Now is the time to plant annuals such as Cosmos, Alyssum, snapdragon (Antirrhinum), Aster, Calendula, Californian poppy, cornflower, Dianthus, forget-me-not, Impatiens, Lobelia, Nigella, Petunia, sunflower and Zinnia.
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With annuals, you can fill any space you can find with these attractants as they will die off after they finish flowering. Remember that bees prefer single, traditional-type flowers, not highly modified cultivars.
While many of the fully double flower types will add fabulous colour and form to your garden, the pollinators will be happier if you stick to the simpler types.
Of course, there's always the risk of a cold spell in October, so keep frost cloth handy to cover your tender seedlings at night.
While you are out and about in the garden thinking about what jobs need to be done, take care when exploring, as it's all too to forget where every bulb and perennial was planted and you don't want to risk damaging them!
Dahlias can be planted into a sunny, well-drained spot.
Divide and plant them out when new shoots appear at the base of the stems. The tubers themselves do not shoot, but rather the new growth comes from dormant eyes at the base of the old stems, so when you divide them, make sure each section has a couple of eyes and part of the stem attached. It's the same process whether you lifted and stored the tubers over winter or left them in the garden.
Except for the dwarf varieties, dahlias need to be staked; it is easiest to put the stake in the hole with the tuber when planting otherwise, if staking is done later, you run the risk of hammering the stake right through the tuber. Water, mulch, and protect new growth from any late frosts and from snails and slugs.
The next meeting of the Armidale Garden Club is scheduled for Thursday, October 28 at 7:30pm in the Uniting Church Hall, and all COVID guidelines will be adhered to. Everyone is welcome!
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