Sow your sweet peas if you haven't done so already. Sweet Peas are usually sown around St Patrick's Day, March 17, but can be sown up to Anzac Day.
Sweet Peas have a hard seed coating and improve germination by soaking overnight prior to planting to soften the seed coat.
Sweet Peas grow best in a rich and friable loam and in a sunny, well-drained spot, ideally where the flowers will be in the sun and their roots in shady, cool moist soil. Keep them moist and protect from snails.
Sweet Peas need a support for the plants to climb up, which the plants can wind their tendrils around, such as a trellis, climbing frame, wire fence, tepee of stakes or an existing pergola.
They can also provide a quick colourful screen to hide utility areas or as a background for the vegetable or other garden beds.
Some perennials that have finished flowering are starting to yellow and die back as they get ready for winter dormancy and it's a good time to tidy them up.
You can just go through and cut out spent flower stems and tatty growth, which may encourage some late autumn blooms, but when perennials such as carnations, Shasta daisies and sedums are done, they can be cut back with hedge clippers or shears to about 5cm above soil level.
Autumn is also a great time to dig up and divide big clumps of perennials.
This is a great cost-free way of creating new plants, and often helps to regenerate crowded perennials that are not performing as well as they used to.
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Dig up the entire clump, with as many roots as possible, and cut between the shoots to make smaller clumps.
Replant these smaller clumps in groups to expand your display, or spread them to other parts of the garden.
Improve your soil with compost before planting, keep the divisions moist and apply liquid seaweed once a fortnight to encourage root growth.
Thin crowded camellia buds to reduce bud drop and encourage larger blooms.
Clean up old and damaged hellebore leaves, then feed and water in preparation for winter displays.
The Armidale Garden Club's next meeting will be at 7pm on Thursday, April 28, at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall, off Rusden St, behind the Uniting Church. For more info, call or text 0412 589 414; otherwise just come along!
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