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The New Zealand Evangelist

Notes on Gardening

Notes on Gardening.

October.—The state of the weather exercises such an important influence upon vegetable life, and consequently upon the operations of the Gardener, that both should be considered as inseperably connected. It is generally considered that this has been the most backward spring experienced by the colonists for many years; and yet on refering to my notes of last year, I perceive much less difference than I should have expected. The same prevalence of cold S. E. winds, hot mid-days, and cold nights, existed, perfectly agreeing with the cutting E. and N. E. winds, of England, so peculiarly distressing to invalids, and irritating to the nerves of sensitive people. There is no doubt however that the S. E. gale on the 23th of August was the coldest ever experienced in the Hutt Valley during the last eight years; for it killed a finely grown shrub of the decidious cassia, (called here the Cape Laburnum) page 143 which had wethered the winters of the last seven years, and several of the african Pelargoniums, that have hitherto always withstood our winters, shared the same fate. These facts, with many others much more conclusive, have long convinced me that the southern or antarctic hemisphere is gradually becoming colder, while the temperature of the Polar region has confessedly become warmer. Leaving this curious but somewhat abstruse question, however, for further consideration, I should suggest the great advantage of planting belts of shrubs and trees, as break winds, in all situations exposed to our prevalent winds, and for which I hope to give full directions at the proper season.

Planting, whether of fruit or of forest trees, should cease with the first week of September, when the season of sowing is fully come. Both annuals and perennials are best sown in circular drills, with a vacant space inside; this method prevents the young plants from being over crowded, and facilitates their subsequent transplanting; if, however, they are intended to remain on the spot where sown, all should be pulled up excepting three or four of the strongest only, and these at sufficient distances to permit their free growth.

In the first week of October the following garden plants are usually in flower.

All the species of narcissus (of which I possess six) excepting the double white, the most beautiful of all, from its close resemblance to the white variety of the Camellia Japonica, Gladiolus fulgens or pure red Gladiolus, Fritillaria Persica, a new species, recently received from Loddiges. Asphodelius fistulosus, and Luteus, Cowslips, Primroses, Polyanthuses, Stocks, Anemonies, and Violets, are all now in full perfection.

The Hawthorn buds are expanded, the young shoots of the Furz* (ulex Europœus) are near an inch long, hand those the native Evergreen so much advanced that few can be successfully removed, excepting with large balls of earth.

The Shrubs which are in flower the first week in October are the Australian, willow mimosa, the two flowering Currents, (Ribes sunguinea and rosea) the crimson and the rose coloured. The Caucares japonica with its pretty yellow blosoms and the Mesprilis japonica with its crimson flowers so closely resembling the Pomegranite. The silver wattle or mimosa has almost cast its flowers which are only in perfection during the last month.

The white Iris, Iris nivosa Sw. opens its blossoms early in October. Tulips, if planted early in the spring usually flower the second and third week, and face towards the end of the month.

The beautiful Ixia patens and several other species open blossoms towards the middle of the month but most of the cape bulbs flower much later.

All choise plants, sheltered during the winter and early spring in frames, may now be exposed to the free air, which will page 144 tmuch [sic: much] accelerate their growth; but care should be taken to replace hem [sic: them] in the frames on the appearance of any night frosts.

Gooseberries will be sufficiently large, the last week of this month, to gather for tarts: the fruit, should be equally thinned off all the branches, and not taken entirely from same only.

All standard and trained fruit trees should be carefully looked over, and such young shoots rubbed off with the thumb, as would disturb the equal distribution of the branches.

The general character of this month, for the two last years, was most unfavourable to vegetation. Cold nights and mornings, with a dry, scorching heat in the middle of the day. The tremendous S. E. gale which began on the 14th of last October, will long be remembered by the settlers, as ushering in that fearful succession of earthquakes which afflicted the settlement.

The English Elder tree, which grows remarkably well in this district, generally comes into flower the last week in September.

Towards the end of this month, seeds of the different species of the gaurd family, i.e. of pumpkins, melons, vegetable marrow, tomatoes, or love apples, &c., may be sown under a frame, or hand glass. Those who do not possess the former, may easily convert the bowls of large tumblers, or pickle bottles, into the latter. Frames are the best protection to all tender seellings, but it frequently happens that the disappointed cultivator finds that as fast as the colyledons, (or two first leaves of the above plants) show themselves above ground, they are eaten off by the “grubs” ss they are called. These grubs, however, are almost always slugs, (Limax) which hide themselves in the day, just beneath the surface, and emerge during the night, or in damp weather, for the purpose of feeding upon green vegetables. To discover their retreat is hopeless: but by adopting the following simple method of entrapping these pests, it is ten chances to one that any escape. When the seeds are sown in the frame, scatter a few small cabbage, lettuce, or even sow thistle leaves, over the ground within the frame. If there are any slugs under they will feed on these succulent leaves, and shelter themselves beneath them during the day, when they may be collected every morning or evening. The same method should be pursued whenever seeds or plants are under glass; for the slugs being confined within the frame, will devour almost every thing growing there, although if they were at liberty, other food might suffice, or be sought after.

If these plants are intended to be removed to the open air, this can de done, on any moist rainy day, early in November.

Printed at the Office of the "Wellington Independent," Corner of Willis-street and Lambton Quay.