Great weather lately for waterlilies, water fowl and wellingtons!
Even with only odd days above 24-26 degrees, gardens are still growing fast and fabulously.
Of course, the weeds are growing at a super-fast pace, but at least the damp ground makes most of them easy to pull out.
Keeping on top of the weeds in a season like this one, and at this busy, busy time of year (just days until Christmas), can certainly be a challenge.
However, if you can find the time, you will save yourself some extra work in coming months. You could try spending just 10 minutes a few times each week and focus on those weeds that are in flower and close to seeding.
Another task that can get away from gardeners at this busy time of year is pruning spring-flowering shrubs after they finish flowering. Plants that flower on "old wood" means that, after flowering, they begin forming the buds for next spring's flowers. The buds remain dormant through winter on last year's growth, which is called the old wood.
Plants that flower on old wood typically flower early in the growing season.
It's important to prune plants that flower on old wood soon after they finish flowering, because, if you wait too long after they've finished blooming, they may not have enough time to create flower buds for next year.
If you prune in winter or early spring before they flower, you'll remove the flower buds.
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A common cause of a shrub not flowering is pruning it at the wrong time and inadvertently cutting off the embryo flower buds.
Shrubs which flower on old wood include Forsythia, Cytisus (broom), Rhododendron, Azalea, Magnolia, Witch Hazel (Hamamelis), Lilac (Syringa), flowering quince (Chaenomeles), Philadelphus, Spiraea, Viburnum, Weigela, winter flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), Deutzias and Camellia.
Shrubs do not necessarily require pruning to flower and perform well. If your spring-flowering shrub flowered well this spring and is not too large for the space you can go ahead and skip the pruning.
The damp conditions are also loved by snails and slugs, so stay alert for signs of damage and use your preferred control method.
Check grafted plants and remove any shoots that are growing from below the graft. This is much easier to do when the new shoots are soft and fresh, so don't leave it too long.
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