In the garden with Nell Carr

In the garden with Nell Carr

JANUARY 2018 | Nell Carr

HYDRANGEAS ARE some of the most striking of the flowers of December/January, but the heat this summer has not been kind.

Those which are exposed to hot morning sun have reacted by taking on a dejected appearance, as if cringing from the heat.

With the promise of hotter climate to come, it is possible these hardy,Πdrought tender plants will become a thing of the past. A mulch of crumbly cow manure, covered by a layer of straw will extend the watering schedule to once weekly.

The one in the picture was grown from a cutting taken 40 years ago from pink flowering specimen in a neighbouring garden. It has gradually transitioned through mauve to its present blue because the soil conditionsŒ di™ffered from those of its former home.

Rural residents with unprotected small fruit trees and shrubs are the unexpected beneficiaries from the plague of army worms which has devastated pastures and cereal crops. Farmers will be hard pressed to preserveŒ suffi›cient feed for their animals through winter. Apparently they have grown to plague proportions because of the unusually hot November.Œ The birds prefer these insect pests to small stone fruit. “Army” is a suitable description, as they invade in their millions. But they are small striped caterpillars rather than worms.

Vegetables

Sow Brassica seeds in containers of seed-raising mix. Plant out inΠsoil enriched with compost or manure. Sow seeds of beetroot, silver beet, spring onions, carrots and parsnips in Jan/Feb.

Nell Carr

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