Friday 20th March 2020

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Strange times, as Friday Group takes note of Jobs for the Week from a distance and does a virtual Plant Ident.,  via the good offices of Garden House. That’s what a coronavirus outbreak does for you. Thank goodness for I. T., social media and our inspirational leader who remains undaunted, calm and is carrying on by herself.  And what a carry on…

Let’s see what’s in flower at the moment –
Plant Ident.
Pulmonaria saccharata
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Pulmonaria is commonly known as ‘Lungwort’, so named because its spotted leaves supposedly resemble lungs.  Good ground cover plants for shady areas, their flowers can be blue, violet, pink, purple, red or white and are very attractive to bees. Pulmonaria saccharata has blue / pinkish flowers which appear from late winter to early spring.
After flowering, remove old leaves.
Epimedium x perralchicum
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A beautiful, evergreen, rhizomatous perennial with delicate, yellow flowers.  Grows to about 40cms tall and has attractive heart-shaped leaves.  Likes sandy / chalky soils which are moist but well-drained.  Prefers partial shade.
Narcissus ‘Thalia’
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A vigorous, multi-headed narcissus, tolerant of most soils and positions. Brilliant in the garden and as a cut flower.  Its flowers are fragrant and pure white or pale ivory; the narrow petals flare slightly backwards to reveal the cup more clearly. A highly recommended variety.
Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Severn Sea’
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This cultivar has been awarded an R.H.S. Award of Garden Merit. Evergreen, aromatic leaves and vivid, blue flowers make it a popular herb for both culinary and medicinal uses. Grows best in light, well-drained soils – chalky or sandy soils are perfect.  Full sun reminds it of its Mediterranean origins.
Hippeastrum sp.
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Often given as a Christmas gift, the tender Hippeastrum bulb produces the most astonishing flowers about 6 – 7 weeks after planting.  Plant into compost with two-thirds of the bulb above the level of the compost.  Leave in a warm, well-lit place and water infrequently. Turn the pot as the stem grows to keep it growing straight, providing a little more water. If cared for properly, the bulb can be encouraged to flower again the following year.
Jobs for the week:
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Everything is coming to life
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Divide herbaceous perennials and grasses
If it takes more than half an hour, will it be long division?
Plant out hardy annuals 30cms apart
Feed beds and borders with pelleted chicken manure
A handful per square metre
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Sow tomatoes, leeks, dill, basil, and any hardy annuals as it’s the last chance for them now – eg cornflowers, ammi
Prick out anything that has developed a set of true leaves
Plant last years gladioli corms in compost in pots or trays to bring into growth
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Deadhead Narcissi and plant Hyacinths from the house into the garden
Remove spent flowers and leave leaves on to feed the plants
Finish cutting back Cornus, Salix and Rubus cockburnianus
Don’t forget to have a break!

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Pot on cuttings of tender perennials, eg Pelargoniums
Stake broad beans with canes and ‘cats’ cradle’ string ties
Stop to admire the prim primroses
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Harvest leeks, kale and spring onions and continue to pick salad crops from the greenhouse
Cut back Salvias
Use their soft tops to make cuttings, remembering to cut just under a node; plant into gritty compost or use half compost and half perlite
Weed herbaceous borders
Look out for speedwell and hairy bitter cress as well as cleavers or sticky willy which tend to germinate early in the season
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Bring out stored Dahlias and pot up; keep in greenhouse or frost-free place
Now, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours
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We miss you, Garden House