Friday 23rd October 2020

A hot, zingy Salvia with a cool blue-grey Eucalyptus. Colour rocks at Garden House.

The Plant Ident.

The topic for the week is succulents. A wonderful, tough group of plants, they store water in their leaves as a way of surviving dry, arid conditions in the wild. Here, they will tolerate cold and heat, but not wet. As in The Great British Bake Off, soggy bottoms are to be avoided at all costs. Keep inside in a light place or in a greenhouse or, at the very least, covered with plastic or glass lids over the wet months. Now is the time to start protecting them and other tender plants.

Succulents: Succour them. Sustain them. Support them. Shelter them. Now search for succulents starting with “S”. Ah! Here’s one…

Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Moonshine’

Spectacular and architectural, the Silver Snake Plant has lovely, broad pale silvery-green leaves lightly marked with horizontal bands. Can be propagated from individual leaves, by cutting them horizontally and inserting the cut ends into gritty compost. Alternatively, offsets will grow around the base of a plant; these can be removed from the mother ship and planted up.

Check out the smart black label inscribed with white pen. Posh.

Gasteria armstrongii

Slow-growing, it has splendid dark green leaves which are distichous (!) They grow in only two planes. Easy – and a good houseplant. Not to mention an ideal present for Mr, Mrs or Ms Armstrong.

Haworthia pumila

A very attractive low-growing plant with fab raised white markings on its fleshy leaves. Bright light, some moisture in the summer months and little, if any, in the winter. Easy.

Aloe ‘Cleopatra’

Soft pale green leaves rise in a rosette form, their serrated edges are pale orange. Bears orange flowers from June – September. Legend has it that Cleopatra used aloe gel as a skin softener – and this natural product is still used as a soothing balm by the beauty industry today. A well-known TV programme was named after this plant: ”Allo Aloe’.

Echeveria elegans

An interesting and beautiful genus of plants in the Crassulaceae family. Its glaucous, geometric foliage develops pink tips in sunny, bright conditions. Stunning small orange/pink flowers with yellow edges are produced on long stems in winter and spring. Fills a pot or bowl beautifully.

Jobs for the week:

Rapt attention being paid as the jobs for the week are described

After the first three hours, however, one member of the group seems to have drifted off…. (back left). Bless.

But she’s soon up and at it. Spade at the ready!

Remove Roses

In preparation for the new dry garden, plants have been removed from the bed near the lawn. Now the Roses need to be taken out.

And… begin!

Tackle first on one side

Then on the other

The Rose arises

The gardener, on the other hand, gently subsides

Those plants removed last week have been paddling in the specially provided pool. This week, they need to be lined out and heeled in temporarily until they are re-homed permanently.

We’re looking for nice straight lines

Like this

A line of white, blue and pink Hyssop

ditto Agapanthus

ditto Kniphophias

or Red Hot Pokers, if you will

Spot the frog checking on work in progress

A whole new meaning to the phrase’Do your lines’

What do you mean, they’re not in a straight line?

Come here and say that

I’m saying nothing

Remove Miscanthus

Cut back to about 18cms, split into 3 and re-plant. Some grasses have a tendency to become (and here we use technical horticultural language) ‘doughnut-like’ as they age. To avoid the hole in the middle getting bigger and bigger, it’s necessary to split them from time to time. Best done in the spring, but this one is a large, established plant, the soil is damp and still warm and we have prayed to Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners. And crossed our fingers.

Plant tulip bulbs in the bed near the greenhouse

They’ll be deeply purple, darkly maroon and darkest burgundy: T. ‘Black Parrot’, T. ‘Queen of the Night’, T. ‘Ronaldo’, T. ‘Paul Sherer’, T. ‘Black Hero’

First prepare the (newly created) bed. Remove lavenders, weed bed and add copious quantities of compost

A three – pronged attack

With hand to hand fighting

and four – pronged forks

and a spade

Everybody digs Friday Group

Here are the bulbs

And here, and here and here

Keep at it!

It’s a great spectator sport

Plant Iris reticulata and Crocus bulbs in pots

Finish with a layer of horticultural grit – and netting

Protection from those pesky squirrels

The war starts now

Round One to Friday Group

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