So what what does my garden offer this week? With high humidity and salt winds a coastal garden in the Western Algarve presents its own challenges and this week has proved no exception. Strong winds, sun, heavy rain and temperature from 7C to 20C. Fortunately no snow or frost. On the plus side some amazing flowers and the promise of more to come.
1. Growing Hydrangeas in Pots
I am now spraying my hydrangeas with neat milk as a preventative measure against powdery mildew – so far so good. I had already tried a product called Rose Clear on my rose which was suffering with the same problem, and it burnt the leaves. I was NOT happy!
Another suggestion to add a teaspoon of baking powder and a squirt of washing up liquid to a gallon of water but was also informed it could burn the leaves. So why would I knowingly do that to a plant?
In mid October, I cut this hydrangea right back to almost soil level so I was not expecting it to sprout again so quickly. I don’t want it to become too ‘leggy’ by the time it is due to flower so I’m now wondering if I should prune it again. We don’t usually get frosts so that is not an issue. Ponderous.
Last year I pruned it right down and was rewarded with the most amazing blooms by June.
To give you some idea of the challenge powdery mildew presents where we live, this photograph was taken in Jan 2017. I could not cure the problem and was forced to prune the plant right back to soil level. Now I spray the leaves with milk as a preventative measure.
Depending on how much rainfall we have I intend to spray every couple of weeks; fingers crossed it works.
2. No Rhubarb Crumble for Piglet!
Serves me right for not tending the rhubarb pots over the last few weeks. I took this photograph today (13th December)
This photograph was taken on the 18th of November. I was planning one of my favourite desserts – rhubarb crumble, however, because I am on a diet I delayed pulling the rhubarb thinking it would grow bigger. Probably would if I had remembered to water them!
I have three pots of rhubarb and the stalks have all since withered and died. DAMN!
3. Problems with Hibiscus
Opinion is divided between it’s ‘the time of year’ and mineral deficiency. Further info
4. Plants in Bloom W/C 9th December
5. Hungarian Hot Wax Chilli Seedlings
I planted four seeds early November and after a lot of persuasion this is a month’s growth. I bring them in at night and put them back outside undercover during the day. Now I know why I buy established seedling plugs. Do you think they will produce chillies by May?
6. Ornamental Orange Trees – To Prune or Not to Prune
I took a gamble on this. This pot-grown miniature tree produces a continuous succession of either fruit or flowers so there has not been a defined ‘season’ to help me decide WHEN to prune. I have two of these trees and while the fruit is bitter I cut in half and then freeze to use as decorative ice cubes. Okay, I digress, back to pruning.
Advice on the net varied so eventually I grabbed a pruning window of opportunity (or the bull by the horns) when there were no flowers and only a few oranges. I have two trees both in full sun in a semi-sheltered position. Temperatures range from 7C at night to 20C during the day.
When taking a photograph of the orange tree pictured above I noticed the new leaves have citrus leaf
weevil miner sigh…I will remove the affected leaves by hand and spray the tree with soapy water. Another job to add to my ‘To Do’ list
I then fed with iron granules as the leaves are a tired pale green. However, after speaking to a lady who grows ornamental citrus trees professionally, I am going to remove those. But then … she seemed amazed when I told her my trees fruit and flower continually.
I am still on a quest to find the seaweed liquid feed a fellow garden blogger uses on her citrus trees. They look fantastic!
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