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What to do this Week?

Flowers
  • Did you buy Mistletoe this Christmas? And as tradition has it do you pick off a berry eachtime someone was kissed under the mistletoe? If so you can squash mistletoe berries into apple tree branches to encourage plants to develop.
  • Cut down old stems of sedums, taking care not to damage new shoots
  • Clear borders and rake up leaves before bulbs start poking through
  • The forecast is for snow in East Anglia tonight so be ready to knock snow from shrubs bending under the weight
 
Fruit and Veg
 
  • Keep harvesting root vegetables as they mature, including parsnips and leeks
  • Stretch netting over brassicas to protect them from pigeons
  • Cover clumps of rhubarb with buckets or terracotta pots to force early stems
  • Check fruit and vegetables in store, removing any showing signs of deterioration
 
Greenhouse
 
  • Dig up clumps of rhubarb to force into growth in darkness under large pots or bins
  • Water pots of forced bulbs if their compost is dry
  • Wash glazing inside and out to let in the maximum amount of light
 
Around the Garden
 
  • Top up bird baths with fresh water daily and melt ice with warm water on frosty days
  • Recycle your Christmas tree by using the local council tip's shredding service
  • Turn off the mains water supply to outside taps and wrap with insulation to prevent freezing
  • Water pots of spring bulbs
Azaleas
Caring for your azalea
 
Azaleas are surprisingly easy to look after. Once your azalea has finished flowering indoors, you can carry on growing it there or plant it outside if you prefer. My preference is to plunge it in a shady position in the garden.
 
Light and temperature
Throughout autumn, winter and spring, your azalea will enjoy a sunny position like a window will. In summer,  move the plant away from direct sunlight to avoid burning the leaves.
Azaleas enjoy the same temperatures as you do, or a little cooler.
 
Watering
Keep an eye on your azalea and never let it wilt. This, more than anything, will shorten its flowering season. Always keep the soil a little moist. You’ll need to water anything from every 2 – 7 days to achieve this.
A good way to water your azalea is to pour water slowly into the top of the pot until it runs from the bottom. The plant should feel much heavier after watering – this shows it’s taking up the water and it’s not just running through the dry soil.
Don’t let your azalea sit in water for more than an hour as this will damage its delicate root system.
 
Feeding
Don’t feed your azalea when it’s in bloom – this will shorten the flowering season. Azaleas are ericaceous (acid-loving) so choose a fertiliser formulated for their needs. And if you ever need to re-pot your plant, use ericaceous compost.
 

Andrew
 


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