Gardening: Kale flowers feed bees, other beneficial bugs

Expensive Helen: My kale vegetation survived the hefty snow and freezing temperatures, and I seem forward to harvesting their nutritious greens again by early spring. My problem is the house they choose as they broaden into flowering manner, just when I have to have to make new, spring vegetable plantings.


Leaving kale to bloom, at least for a even though, provides positive aspects to a backyard and the ecosystem. The flowers are an critical food supply for bees and other pollinators and also for the helpful bugs that enable to command pests in our gardens. Enabling the vegetation time to bloom can also just about guarantee a number of seeds will acquire and be dispersed to germinate the following spring to produce extra-solid and successful plants.

Most gardens these days have area concerns. Planting kale alongside a plot edge will make it as basic as attainable to fit spring plantings in the plot.

Expensive Helen: Early in the slide I taken off weedy, invasive vegetation from a small plot adjacent to my town dwelling. The bare soil soon turned a litter box for neighbourhood felines. Is there nearly anything I could plant that would repel cats or avoid them from digging in the plot?


Various vegetation are reputed to be successful cat repellents, but no scientific research that I know of have demonstrated their efficacy in that position.

Cats are mentioned to avoid potent citrus scents, as in lemon balm, lemon thyme and lemon-scented geraniums. I recognize in the Richters herb catalogue a listing for Plectranthus ‘Sumcol 01’ — a distinct wide variety developed from crossing two species of Plectranthus.

The resulting wide range has a particularly pungent fragrance. The plants are rounded and compact, 25-cm tall and 30 cm vast, with fleshy, gentle eco-friendly leaves. Popular names for cat-repelling Plectrantus varieties are “scaredy cat plant” and “piss-off plant.”

An alternative cat-deterrent evaluate would be to plant a ground go over or addresses that would variety a limited mat of growth over the floor, preventing the cats from digging. Some of the thymes are exceptional for this, and some are lemon scented. One of my favourite lemon thymes is Doone Valley, a mat-forming creeper with compact, dim inexperienced, gold tipped leaves and purple-pink summer months bouquets. Doone Valley vegetation are not normally challenging to come across early in the spring where ever herb plants are sold.

Minus thyme is yet another ground-hugging, tight-knit ground deal with that I’m glad to have in the yard. These are happily minimal-treatment vegetation as very long as they have a great deal of sunshine and a well-drained soil.

A tour by way of the thymes at will provide you further decisions to ponder.

Even though ground handles are increasing to fill areas involving transplants, it may perhaps be required to lay gentle wire fencing, this sort of as poultry netting, above the bed — at least prolonged ample to split the cats’ behavior of frequenting the location.

Pricey Helen: When can I start pruning my Hybrid Tea rose bushes? They are messy. Accidents from a significant incident late in the summer months prevented me from holding the youthful shrubs lifeless-headed and tidied.


I hope you will have recuperated enough to entirely love spring in your backyard garden. As for the rose bushes, wait around until finally late wintertime to prune, in weather that is dry and over freezing.

I check out for expansion buds alongside the canes to start inflammation. This commonly comes about in the course of the latter section of February. The inflammation signifies that sap has started to move actively in the plant and pruning cuts will mend speedily.

The slight enlargement of the buds also helps make them simple to see for placing precise pruning cuts.

Begin the pruning by eliminating, dead, damaged and evidently diseased growth. Make the cuts at the cane’s place of origin or earlier mentioned a nutritious-hunting growth bud pointing outward from the bush. Then take away weak, spindly development and any headed into the centre of the plant. Slim to decrease crowding, normally slicing absent the weakest growth in congested places.

Aim to stop up with four or 5 of the strongest, youngest, healthiest canes. Shorten them by taking away in between a third to a 50 % of the cane’s size. Take away the the very least on the strongest, thickest canes, adhering to the outdated pruning adage: Let the strongest increase the longest.

Make these cuts a scant six mm higher than and parallel to a bud that points outward, absent from the centre of the bush.

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