Water, water everywhere

I know it is a pain in the neck to haul hoses, or lug heavy watering cans, but when it is hot, plants shrivel up unless they are kept moist.

Please keep your plants watered.

I know it is a pain in the neck to haul hoses, or lug heavy watering cans, but when it is hot, plants shrivel up unless they are kept moist.

Gardeners know all about this, but people new to gardening, or those who don’t give a darn about plants, or those who don’t realize that plants need water to survive, or forget, (being busy with other things), don’t understand why their containers are so unsatisfactory, or why plants seem to be wilting. All they need is water.

When watering containers, it seems to work best when you pour water on the soil, move on to other plants and return to add more to the first ones watered. This allows the first drink to break the dry surface, allowing the second water to sink in. It is “fiddly” but honestly it works better that way.

Twice a month it’s a good idea to fertilize your pots and baskets, using 20-20-20, or my favourite Miracle Gro mixed into the water. Not too much, though, don’t kill your plants with kindness. All that watering has almost certainly washed most of the readily available nutrition out of the soil, especially in hanging baskets or planters.

This morning as I did my usual daily inspection I was delighted to see that the alyssum, and the nasturtiums have appeared along the front edge of the three-foot-long planter which holds six geraniums (not yet in bloom). While out there I found an unplanted pot full of soil and immediately spread green onion seed, covered it lightly, and watered it as well (twice).

I also cut off and removed the dead tulip foliage in another pot, to make room for the sweet peas which have been doing their best in the same pot under somewhat trying circumstances.

The honeysuckle is flowering, but the clematis in the opposite end of the balcony seems to hate it and has reluctantly produced three rather pinched-looking blooms on the tips of sickly-looking stems. Not one of my better efforts, oh dear.

Yesterday Penny T. T. had the other Peni and me to a lovely lunch at her home, and I had a chance to see her garden. She also plants vegetables in the same beds as flowers, and it looks splendid, and practical as well.

The second Peni presented me with a beautiful pink African violet and it isn’t even my birthday. Lovely to receive an unexpected gift, and such a lovely one.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.