Plum trees normally require little pruning, although removing diseased wood is always necessary. European plums — including prunes, greengages and damsons — bear fruit on two or three-year-old wood. If all new shoots are cut back by about two-thirds and all internal growth cut out completely, the trees will continue to bear excellent crops of well-sized plums every year.
Most orchids like some form of lighting, some more than others. Cymbidiums seem to enjoy full sun up to December and then some shade is required. Rock Orchids such as Dendrobium speciosum/Sarcochilus are happy with full sun throughout the year, but need protection from the direct light on hot summer days. Masdevallia and Paphiopedilum (slipper) orchids prefer shaded areas. Most orchids need to be moved to a couple of locations during the year.
Hellebores mostly originate in inland regions of central and southern Europe. The main concentration of helleborus species in the wild is found in the mountainous Balkans. Hellebores are found as far west as Spain and Britain and as far east as Turkey and the Republic of Georgia. Helleborus argutifolius and H. lividus are found on the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Majorca respectively. But by far the most geographically isolated species is the rare Chinese species Helleborus thibetanus.
Collect seed heads before they dry and burst open. Place the seed head in a paper bag with the open end left open so that air can dry out the seed head. Label your bag immediately so that you remember what plant it is and what colour/s they are.
Over the past few years dahlias have become increasingly popular, and rightfully so for few other plants offer the gardener such a variation in colour and form. In 2013 we had a visit from a member of the Hobart Horticultural Society Dahlia Group who spoke to us on cultivating and showing dahlias and donated a number of tubers which were made available to members.
This is a technique that the home gardener might consider to germinate seeds and then grow on to seedlings. It is simple, generally effective and combines well with the technique outlined earlier growing seedling on in pots in plastic bags.
There is a variety of techniques that can be used to grow plants from seed and gardeners are encouraged to attempt a number of different ones. Much of our early experience in growing from seed involves the purchase of packets of flowers and vegetables from commercial suppliers, planting in punnetts or in open beds often with considerable success. It is when we attempt to grow unfamiliar plants from seeds that we may be less successful and so some general advice is offered here on techniques to try.
The common practice of placing seeds in an envelope on the shelf for a while leads to the common misconception that all seeds will germinate when exposed to warmth and moisture. A drying period is necessary before the seeds will germinate. The length of time needed is dependent on the species.