Meander Valley Gazette

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In the Garden with Nell Carr

Meander StyleJoanne EisemannComment

JUNE 2018 | Nell Carr

HELLEBORES: THERE is an infinite variety of these beautiful and very hardy plants which love the coldest time of the year. The single varieties include the beautiful pure white Helleborus nigra to the dark red H “Abchasicus”, and the almost black H. “Single Black”.

Catalogues now advertise a selection of doubles with picotee edges in contrasting colours. There’s even a yellow variety with burgundy edging. H. orientalis “Mrs. Betty Ranicar” (pictured). The originals of these were found in a very old garden in Deloraine, and several doubles in various colours have been developed from those. Hellebores need a soil which has been generously enriched with compost or aged manure. Most prefer moist conditions in dappled shade.

In the Vegie garden: June is the best time of the year to plant 2 year asparagus crowns. The bed should be dug to spade depth, and liberal quantities of organic matter added - add a little lime if soil is acidic. Set the crowns 15 to 20cms deep and 30cm to 50cms apart at the bottom of the trench. Cover with 5cms of soil, and fill in the trench as the ferns grow. Keep them well watered and give them liberal dressings of high nitrogen fertiliser in summer. Cut down the dried fern in winter and resist the temptation to harvest the first season’s shoots. With care, the bed should continue producing for many years.