Sunday, April 22, 2018

April Work in the Garden

Warm days with rains have made my garden really vernal one. Every day I look at my 'to do list'. Step by step there is more work in the garden that pleases me. Firstly I have to do cleanup all beds, lawn, along fences, berry bushes, raised beds etc. Since I started to do cleaning some of the places look tidy:

I'm waiting when I can start to sow salad, beetroot, celery, dill and parsley. I think to do this as soon as the ground reaches 6 C. The same goes for hardy annual flower seeds. If the soil is still cold I usually lay a covering cloth or plastic pieces over sown seeds. Last year my sowing were successful:

 green onion 2017

parsley 2017

My seedlings, cuttings and tubers starting inside on the windowsill are big and I will transport them in the conservatory. The gladioli bulbs are potted and started sprouting. Also I have several varieties of begonias. Their tubers were stored in cool place and now begonias have big leaves. That's a problem to transport them to the garden!

gladioli bulbs

begonia has tall sprouts

Three small cuttings of a rose The Fairy have grown at home too, one of them is in bloom now. 

At the end of April - first days of May I remove the covering cloth off the rose bushes and other tender plants. I do feeding them and continue to do so during May. In addition, I try to make the pruning of vines and Canadian roses. This is liana Actinidia, it has many crossing branches and of course it is to be pruned.

There is no snow at all but my pond is still frozen. I tried to break the ice, but it's too lasting, and I was afraid to damage the liner. When ice melts my next thing is to do cleanup around the pond, then sprouts of daffodils will be seen. And to take the time for the pond maintenance (water balance) because the water is awful after winter.

I have some tubers of Dahlias, that had been stored at home. The tubers sprouted and have leaves. Now is a perfect time when they could be replanted into the ground or in tubs.

It was a surprise when I had opened a door of the greenhouse. The last days were warm and sunny, there was warm air in the greenhouse as well, bulbs potted last autumn got started to flower. Here are irises and pushkinias:

Much work to do, yes? Maybe I forgot something, well what is your 'to do list ' in April?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mid-April: New Growth

What's news in my garden? Snow actively melts y almost disappeared except in shady spots. It's a pleasure that spring is finally here, it's said kind of "one step forward and two steps  back".
Yesterday when I was going to go to my cottage garden, there was no snow in the city. Probably the snow has melted in the suburbs too, I thought. When I opened the gate, I found out bright flower spots in the garden, there was almost no snow. Let's see together new growths this spring.

I am not tired to photograph pretty crocuses and first bees around them.  Although these crocuses pop up every year in the same place I always glad to see these signs of spring in my garden.

The soil warmed up under the pine-niwaki trees and the invincible Ajuga has glistened with its leaves. I let it to grow under the pines because the grass doesn't grow well there. 

At  the northern side, the red branches of Cornus alba and the new flower buds of the rhododendron 'Helsinki University' were clearly visible in the sun.

The buds of black currant bushes awaken. Next week I have to spray the berry bushes before the leaves grow.

The ornamental Fern leaves and bright green Lymphabis nummularia (Moneywort) have grown in many sunspots. 

The weather was lovely +16 C (60 F) and I decided that it's time to remove dry leaves and plastic off and to open the plants on beds.

Taking away shelters I saw green leaves of Вergenia and a crowd of Leucojum vernum (spring snowflake) flowers. Then I cleaned up beds and took the close photo of Leucojum. White supporting arcs I could not get out of the soil - they were still frozen.

That's all for now.

Arriving in the city I saw an amazing picture on the lawn along the road: it looked like a "pond" for a couple of ducks to spend a pleasant spring time.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Pelargonium Cuttings

Early spring is a good time of the year to take Pelargonium (Geranium) cuttings to raise new plants for free. I often grow my own annuals to make my garden colorful when other perennials aren’t in bloom. 
Today I’ve chosen 2 varieties of pelargonium plants – Zonale and Grandiflorum, and looked them over for likely cuttings.

I've learned that each cutting must be about 4-6cms long ( 2-3 inches), therefore I must cut with secateurs just above a leaf joint on the mother plant, choosing any that have plenty of shoots or nodes. 

Having new cuttings I removed the lowest couple of leaves, you can just leave only the top pair. If your pelargonium has flowering shoots pinch them out. 
One little secret: before pushing in soil, I always leave the cuttings to dry for about half an hour. 

I’ve pushed beginners into the plastic cups full of soil and compost. My pelargonium cuttings should have rooted within 2 or 3 weeks and started growth.

Next I watered and placed all 5 disposable cups into the used plastic supermarket tray out of direct sunlight – on a shelf near a windowsill.  if the weather is warm enough before to move them in the garden in May.
Another little secret: some types of cutting do best covered with a clear polythene bag to keep the air moist, but not so for pelargoniums, which can rot in a damp environment. 

If you want to keep the mother plant so leave seven or eight good stems to grow on.  On April I always replant old pelargoniums with new, multi-purpose potting soil. Having mother plants you can take cuttings to multiply your stock.

My neighbor, blogger friend from Finland Anne (Annen jutut) asked me about first spring signs in March - April in Saint Petersburg. 

Well, the first one is when ice of the Gulf of Finland melts and water is cleared.

The second sign is when first tender flowers are seen within snow.

The third sign is when sun is shining in blue sky and warmth is in the air.

Thank you, Anne!

I challenge the next 3 bloggers: what are first signs of spring in your place? 

1. Teresa - Perfumes y luces  de Extremadura

2. Lola    - La biosfera de Lola 

3. MDN   - Un jardin en clima subtropical