A nice horticultural weekend has been had with yesterday spent at my HPS group meeting. As ever an excellent day was had with an interesting group discussion in the morning about what is looking good in gardens mainly chrysanthemums. A bit of plant buying over lunch including a rather nice Nerine ‘Kinn McIntosh’ and a Polyxena corimrosa to add to the bulb collection. I also was given a rather large Viburnum which has been planted today; I am always amazed at how generous gardeners are not just with plants but with knowledge as well.
The afternoon talk was on mistletoe which I have to admit I thought might be a little dull but as with the fungi talk last year it was completely fascinating. Our speaker, Jonathan Briggs, dispelled many myths about mistletoe, explained amongst other things how they were our only native white berry evergreen semi-parasitic plant, and how the real centre for mistletoe in this country is the Severn Valley including Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Hardly surprising given that there seems to be mistletoe everywhere around here but I don’t think I had really noticed how little there was elsewhere.
Despite the weather temperatures being warmer than normal for this time of year we have had really stormy skies and strong winds so some of the trees around the boundary are nearly bare of leaves and I need to start the big leaf collection. I am particularly keen on the autumn colour of the Prunus kojo-n0-mai which simply glows at the moment. Having planted the viburnum my focus today was planting the latest bulb purchases and making a decision about what should and shouldn’t be overwintered in the greenhouse. I have been procrastinating and dithering because I didn’t really know what winter conditions I should give my bulbs or some of the borderline hardy plants. Thanks to
the contributors on the Alpine Garden Society forum I have received advice and I plan to leave the greenhouse unheated and open for the winter unless the temperatures really drop in which case I can shut the door and if really bad turn the heater on. Research has made me decide to overwinter the tenders in the garage. The majority will be allowed to dry out but there are some that need a bit of moisture and I will put these to stand in saucers so I don’t flood the garage.
Having finally decided to dedicate the greenhouse to the bulbs I have relocated all the succulents and the bulbs have now taken over the whole space. There are also some primula marginata which I have a love/hate relationship with as I haven’t managed to get them to flower this year and some crusted saxifragas which are the nearest to alpine dome plants I plan to get.
I have even had a go at some cuttings which are in the propagator on the shelf. I know how to take cuttings but I never have much luck. Most of them, the fuschia and pomegranate, are from display stems brought to the club meeting yesterday but I have also had a go at some cuttings from Salvia ‘Phyllis Fancy’. I expect I am a bit late doing these but who knows they may take which would be fab. Actually I did manage to get the Malmaison carnation cutting I got from the club last year to take so who knows my luck might be changing. Moving all the pots around was quite time-consuming but at least its done now. I have a few succulents I want to dig up from the garden and overwinter under cover but the rest will be left in situ and get a thick mulch of used compost topped off with straw.
I have a couple of days off at the end of the week as hopefully, weather permitting, the tree surgeons are coming to tackle the weeping willow which swamps the top of the garden. This time next week, all things being equal, this view will be very different which I find exciting but also a little scary.