Wednesday, 20 March 2019

First Day of Spring, apparently.

I decided to unwrap my varying palms, the two trunked Butia has come through pretty unscathed but this is fairly well protected from the south westerly winds by the brand new fence. I always think a palm adds something to a tropical looking garden

The old Butia which has been planted out since 2014 and is the palm in the centre of the blog header, when it looked decidedly better is as you can see rather the worse for wear. I am gutted, that this and the ......

Brahea armata in the next picture look so bad. Having come through last years 'Beast from the East' winter, to end up looking like this after the mild winter we have had, I am quite gutted.

If it was me I would dig them out, I think they look awful. After asking my 'Tropical plant friends' advice they all say leave them in. One person said ' they will be fine and send out 6 fronds this year so will look better'? 6 Fronds??? 6 FRONDS??? I have never had 6 fronds grow in one year, all the time I have had them planted out!
The Brahea armata in 2015 if you look at the old photos of when they went in they looked far healthier.

The Butia was planted out 2014

 as you can see they both had far more fronds. I don't know, you will just have to watch this space!!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

I Love my Greenhouse

I can spend ages in it, I only wish it was bigger. That is what all greenhouse owners say no matter what size of greenhouse they have. I love the earthy damp smell in there.
I have surprised myself this year by only having a minimum temp of  5C, the thermostat was set at 7C which has given a very steady 5C continuously and so far everything has come through fine.

My Hiniba pups after a bad month, they all looked like they were going to die, but hopefully seem to be improving. It has been difficult trying to second guess what they needed, as too much water would just rot away the roots so a light liquid seaweed feed, seems to have helped.

 and there is rather a lot of them.

I have potted all my dahlia tubers up into damp soil, quite scary just how many I have.

There are also some Elephants ears (Colocasia) in amongst them.

This year I overwintered my Ensetes in two different ways, after listening to some 'tropical' friends. Usually I dry store mine, digging them up, trimming and washing the roots then storing them upside down so no water gathers inside and rots them. This has been successful for me over the past 10+ years, but latterly (The past two winters) when I have planted them in the spring to restart them they have either failed to get going or have rotted at the base.
This year bearing in mind I had some very newly grown Hiniba which only had a small trunk, (they say if you get your finger a thumb from both hands to form a circle around the trunk, then it is too small to over winter dry). So whether I wanted to or not I had to store some in their pots.

As you can see they have not done too badly. It has been relatively mild so they have had a small amount of water but not a lot.

I have just potted up the dry stored Ensete the two on the right

the one in the middle was stored in its pot and as you can see with just a small amount of water is already romping away. The one on the left of this is a dry stored one.

It will be interesting to log the difference in them getting going but already it looks like the pot stored ones will be the easiest. I have found in past years when I start the dry store ones off, in very slightly damp compost, they seem to have to think about getting going and it can take quite a few weeks. The problem here is you feel you 'have' to water them and this can be when they start to rot.

When I was digging out in the autumn my Fuschia arborescens was still flowering and it was such a pretty shrub, but sadly not hardy for me. This was the first year I have tried it, so as I had some room in my greenhouse, I cut it back severely  took cuttings and hoped.

Here it is today and the cuttings have done well too.

I also over winter Lobelia Tupa and took cuttings and you can just see them to the right in the photo above looking good.

I bought a beautiful Salvia Amistad from Sarah Raven, I really love her plants, always very healthy and although I am sure she does mass produce them they are of a far better quality than any of the other companies I have bought from, but they do come at a price. So thinking ahead (very rare) and trying to save a few pennies, (also rare) now hubby has retired, I took a load of cuttings, which have been doing really well until this month!

They are watered and I have given a very small liquid seaweed feed, mmmmm?? We can but hope.

Just to show just how mild the winter has been.... my Musa Basjoo are still upright! I never wrap them, I could and maybe should but bringing a bale of hay through my house (I have no rear access) does not inspire me to do so. If they die back they are root hardy and will soon romp away again.

The first frogspawn, a bit late, but we have some!

I am off to look at plant catalogues as I need to find something that will out do the bush sunflowers I had in the front last year,they were magnificent, continual flowering, the bees, loved them...

but they required more support than I had allowed for and so collapsed quite early (Sept), But they where spectacular and lots of people stopped and asked me about them. So we will see.........