Friday 6th October

We started off the day with a demonstration of pricking out by Bridge.

Many of the seeds which we sowed a couple of weeks ago are growing well and need transferring into separate pots, eg. Eschscholzia (California poppy).  In order to produce good root systems, the seedlings need space and so one per pot should be placed in either a module tray or individual pots no less than 7.5cm deep.

  • Make a hole in damp compost in the centre of each pot which is deep enough to accommodate the roots of the young plant.
  • Holding the plant by its leaves (never the stem in case you damage it), transfer it into the hole until its first leaves are just touching the surface of the compost.
  • Firm the soil around the plant and water with a fine watering rose.
  • Place in a sheltered postion under glass where they will receive plenty of light and make sure they are kept lightly watered.

Plant ID

Ginkgo biloba – Maidenhair tree

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This is a deciduous conifer tree (gymnosperm) which is thought to have been growing on earth for over 150 milion years.  Growing up to 25m, its leaves turn bright yellow in autumn when the female tree will often produce unpleasantly-scented dull yellow fruits.  Some botanists believe that these odorous berries attracted dinosaurs who, after consuming them, spat them out, so helping to spread the seeds.  It is great at absorbing pollution and you will find it growing in the centre of many big cities.

Paulownia tomentosa – Foxglove tree

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This medium-sized deciduous tree has lovely ovate leaves which can reach up to 25cm in length.  It produces beautiful panicles of fragrant lilac-coloured flowers in spring.  However, if cut back hard, these blooms will be sacrificed in exchange for extra-large leaves.  Like the Ginkgo tree, the Paulownia is extremely pollution-tolerant.

Begenia ciliata

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This clump-forming perennial has large round hairy leaves which are tinged red early in the season.  It is evergreen and its red stems will produce white flowers early on in spring which turn to pink as time goes on.  The leaves may be damaged by frost during the winter but will be replaced by fresh ones in the spring.  It grows to 30cm.

Melianthus major – Honey bush or Peanut butter plant

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This medium-sized evergreen shrub has beautiful pinnate leaves which grow up to 45cm in length.  It has lovely red flower spikes during the spring and summer.  It loves the sun and will do well if planted in a sheltered position.

Hesperantha coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’ – Crimson flag lily ‘Fenland Daybreak’

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This semi-evergreen perennial has recently been renamed and used to be known as Schizostylis coccinea ‘Fenland Daybreak’.  It can grow up to 60cm and has narrow, upright sword-shaped leaves.  From late summer through autumn, it grows beautiful salmon-pink flowers.

Acanthus ‘Whitewater’

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This unusual Acanthus form has impressive dark, deeply-cut variegated leaves with white splashes.  It grows to 1.5m and produces striking white flowers on tall erect stems.

Jobs for the week

  • Pricking out of seedlings in the greenhouse.

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  • Making a Square Foot Salad Garden in the greenhouse – One foot squares were marked out with tarred string and different varieties of salad leaves were sown.
  • Bulb sorting – ready for bulb planting which we’ll do gradually over the next few weeks.

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  • Working on the Winter Bed and starting to plant some of the bulbs there.

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  • Propagating Pulmonarias – These were dug up and divided before being potted up, ready for re-planting later.  The leaves were cut back so that the roots don’t have to work so hard to maintain the foliage.
  • Removing the Trachelospermum jasminoides from the large planter in the front garden and replacing it with a Chamaerops humilis (Dwarf fan palm).  The rose over the garden gate was also pruned.
  • Continuing to prune Rosa ‘Cecil Brunner’ – and admiring the view from the compost heap.

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  • Continuing to clear the veg bed, including the strawberries and collecting runner bean seeds.
  • Continuing to clear Lil’s Bed and planting out wallflowers.
  • Hoeing/weeding Paul’s Bed and getting it ready for bulb planting.
  • Planting up an autumn container by the pond.

 

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