Care For Your Autumn Blooms

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Perfect pansies

The bright little petaled faces of pansies are one of the delights of the cooler months. Whether you have a bare spot in a sunny or partly shaded garden bed or want to brighten a courtyard or balcony with some flower packed pots, pansies provide a splash of happy colour.

Yates ‘Pansy Joker Mix’ is an early flowering mix of blotched and straight colour blooms in shades of yellow, mauve, orange and burgundy that will flower delightfully over a long period.

Yates Pansy ‘Giant Supreme’ is a beautiful blend of varying flower shapes and sizes in bright yellow, white, red and purple.
Sow Yates Pansy seed in trays of seed raising mix and transplant out into sunny or partly shaded garden beds or containers when the seedlings are around 5 cm tall.

And to create an additional wow factor, combine pansies with late winter and spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, jonquils tulips, hyacinths, freesias, hyacinths and anemones, which become available from March. The pansies will provide a beautiful carpet of flowers and then the bulbs will pop through the pansies and begin their gorgeous floral display.

Here’s how to grow this eye catching combination at your place, in either a garden bed or container:

  1. In a sunny or partly shaded spot, improve the soil (or potting mix) first by digging in some Yates® Thrive® Natural Blood & Bone. It adds valuable organic matter which benefits soil structure, encourages earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms and helps hold moisture in the soil.
  2. The bulbs are planted first. Most bulbs are planted with the pointy end up (except for anemones and ranunculus) and around twice their height deep. Check the bulb packet label for guidance.
  3. Cover the bulbs with soil and then plant the pansy seedlings. Be careful not to disturb or damage the bulbs below. Plant the pansies around 45 – 60 cm apart. It’s ideal to then apply a layer of mulch around the pansies to help keep the soil moist and protected.
  4. After a fortnight start feeding each week with Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. Mix in a watering can and apply over the seedlings and surrounding soil. Yates Thrive will encourage healthy leaf growth on the pansies as well as promoting lots of colourful flowers. It will also nourish the bulbs as they start to grow in a few months time.
    Apply a light scattering of Yates Blitzem™ Snail and Slug Pellets around the garden bed to attract and kill any snails and slugs that might have their eye on your new seedlings.

Stop and smell the roses – you’ve worked hard for them!

Cutting edge – how to get the best out of your home grown roses for a vase

If your roses are flowering in March, bring some of their scented gorgeousness inside and create a beautiful vase display. Here are some top tips on how to get the best out of your home grown cut roses:

  1. It’s best to cut roses in the cool of the early morning. Take a bucket of cool water out into the garden with you, so you can immediately plunge the ends of the cut stems into the water.
  2. Using a sharp pair of secateurs, cut stems around 30 – 50 cm long. You can always shorten these later to suit the vase size and style of arrangement. Choose flowers that are only partially opened, as these will last longer.
  3. Back inside, half fill your vase with cool, clean water. You can add a sachet of flower food to the water or a home-made alternative is a teaspoon of sugar and a few drops (only) of bleach.
  4. Remove the lower foliage from each stem (so no foliage will be under the water) and re-cut the base of each stem at a 45 degree angle just prior to placing in the vase. This creates a fresh surface for the stem to better absorb water and the 45 degree angle helps keep the cut stem off the base of the vase as well as creating a greater area for water absorption.
  5. To keep the roses looking their best for the longest time, replace the vase water every other day. Re-cutting the stem bases will also help.

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