a whole load of aeoniums which I am now wondering what I will do with if they take.
When I got my first aeonium it took me some time before I had the courage to chop the top of the plant and pot it up. But when I did I also, having read up on the subject, took stem cutting which took surprisingly well. Whenever you cut the top of an aeonium off, if you are lucky, the plant shots from the cut and produces branches so you end up with a more interesting plant.
As you can see I have quite a few stems which I am hoping will reshoot to create interesting branched plants. As for all the pots of aeoniums, if they take, quite a few of them will be donated to the work charity plant sale next year, where this year, the last batch of aeonium cuttings I took proved to be surprisingly popular. That is most of my succulents sorted aside from the Echiverias which need to be divided but thats for another day.
It’s fair to say that I don’t do well in the heat at the best of times so you can imagine that over the last week or so with temperatures reaching the low 30Cs (high 80Fs) I have been pushed to engage with the garden.
I’m coming to the end of a weeks annual leave when in the past I would have really tidied up the garden ahead of the rest of the summer. However, this week the most I have managed is to continue with the endless watering of the pots and trying to keep the newer plantings going. Luckily, I have been distracted by a lovely day out in cloudy damp Wales and two days of embroidery workshops with friends; the workshop room had a couple of vast ceiling fans which made it more bearable.
Today we have had a rather cloudy day with heavy rain and storms forecast over the next 48 hours. Whilst it has still been very warm for this time of year the patio is fairly cool first thing in the morning so I spent an hour tidying and potting up my succulent collection. The above are Agave montana seedlings which have been bidding their time on the patio and in desperate need for potting up. The seeds were sown in 2016 and I expect that if I had potted them up earlier this year they would be much larger now but I didn’t. I think they look rather cute in their matching terracotta pots and they are now residing in groups along the edge of the gravel steps.
I also potted up a few other pot bound residents of the patio including a large branching aeonium, a sad pelargonium and my Bird of Paradise seedling which may flower one day. I finished with potting up two Sempervivums which I bought in Somerset. These are now forming a group on one of the patio tables along with a Daphne which I am trying to revive. I’m trying to display my pots in more interesting groups, as per the pot displays I saw in Austin but I think I have a way to go yet.
After an hour I was hot and sticky and retreated back to my sewing which I wont bore you with. Here’s hoping the promised rain arrives soon.
Another month has passed and the greenhouse is full to bursting although the winter occupants are beginning to move out and the new spring tenants are starting to move in. There has been a slight swop over with the succulents moving across the greenhouse to the slatted benching and the seedling trays moving to the gravel beds. I think the seed trays do better with the humidity around them. I really need to move the succulents out to make room for seedlings etc but I think it will be another few weeks before I can risk the weather.
The new shelves on the back wall are proving to be a wonderful investment. They are freeing up some space and the agaves, aloes and pelargoniums on the top shelf seem to really like the heat. Other
occupants include Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus) which I have grown from seed and a bulbine frutescens also grown from seed.
Seedlings are beginning to appear but I haven’t really started my sowing yet so you can see why I need more space. The majority of seeds sown to date germinate well in the outside cold-frame but tomorrow I am planning to sow some tender annuals. The grassy seedlings are white/cream camassias grown from seed collected from the garden last year. I am quite pleased with them.
The lower shelves are crammed full of pelargoniums, dahlia tubers and chrysanthemums. They could all do with more light but with some regular moving around they will be fine until its warm enough for them to go outside.
The small floor space is rather crowded with the plants that are too heavy or tall to go on the racking. I think the Salvia involucrata boutin can be planted out on the slope soon. The Aeonium is in serious need of chopping so I might do that tomorrow.
So that’s my tiny greenhouse this month – I hope you enjoyed the tour.
Here we are in March and my greenhouse is at capacity and I haven’t really started. I have to start by showing you the two shelves my sons gave me for my birthday which are at the end of the greenhouse and are wonderful. I have to be careful what I put on the top one as it is so close to the top of the house but the aloes and pelargoniums seem to like basking in the sunshine. I have put gravel on the shelves which helps maintain the humidity. The second shelf is more shady benefitting from the one above. It is currently home to some Kangaroo Paw seedlings which have had a rough ride through the winter with the leaves going black – I’m not sure if they are meant to do that but new fresh leaves are appearing which is a relief. There are also some cyclamen, pelargonium and Fritillaria rubra seedlings and most satisfying of all some Camassia leichtlinii semi-plena seedlings grown from seed collected from the garden.
As you can see I have been busy sowing seeds. These are predominately seeds of perennial plants such as Aquilegia as well as some hardy annuals. It may be a little too early especially as the temperatures are meant to dip again this weekend but I think they will recover fairly quickly and I have to do these jobs when I have the time.
The succulent collection hasn’t changed much since last month but it continues to please me. I really must find some time to repot some of them.
Finally as you can see at the end of the day the greenhouse floor is full. This is because I have received a number of perennial start plants to review for Plant Me Now which I have potted up. Although they have spent the day on the patio they are residing in the greenhouse overnight for a while until they have bulked up a little. I will do a proper review next week. The heater is on a thermostat and is set to keep the greenhouse frost-free, I find it a fairly effective approach and the succulents seem to be happy.
Oh and the large pots are home to some Agapanthus which are just showing shoots and a bottle brush that I grew from seed a few years back and I haven’t had the courage to plant outside yet.
I suspect that by this time in April the greenhouse will be bursting at the seams and hopefully there will be more trays of seedlings to admire.
It has been a delightful weekend, with temperatures reaching 10C, mild for the time of year and the sun shining in a clear blue sky.
Sadly this idyllic gardening weather was tainted by one of my neighbours, who despite having a handkerchief of a garden, seems to possess and use every sort of petrol driven tool you can think of – this weekend it was the leafblower! I have incredibly sensitive hearing which hones on to distant noises rather than noises nearer and drives me mad so I retreated to the front garden and cut back the perennials. This was a long overdue job so I was quite pleased to have put the front garden to bed, so to speak, for the winter.
Next up was a tidy up of the greenhouse. I had put all the plants I want to overwinter in the greenhouse a few weeks, possibly even a month, ago but it was in chaos and needed a good sort out. I also wanted to put some new gravel in the gravel trays as I find this makes a huge difference to the watering needed. A half-hearted effort of cleaning the glass was made with me washing the panes from the waist up inside and out – sometimes I pull all the staging out and do it properly but the afternoon was already advancing.
I am rather pleased with the succulent collection I have accumulated over the last couple of years. There are more hiding out the winter in the garage but these are the most tender and live in the greenhouse for the winter which is kept frost-free.
Wandering up the garden I was thrilled to discover this Iris unguicularis ‘Water Butt’ flowering in the conifer border. It was only planted out a month or so ago and I have to admit that the rhizomes which arrived in the green from Avon Bulbs did sit for rather too long waiting to be planted. Such as wonderful iridescent blue although sadly no fragrance which apparently it should have.
This morning I cracked on as the sun was shining and it was nice and quiet. For a while I have been thinking about moving an Azalea and Rhododendron to the top slope where there is a gap crying out for some evergreen shrubs. Both plants have been struggling at the back of the large woodland border where I think it is rather too dry for them and they are in competition with other larger shrubs for the moisture. I added a whole bag of ericaceous compost although the soil in the garden is generally acidic enough for these plants. Fingers crossed the shrubs will establish and start to thrive but I think I will have to keep a close eye on them especially moisture wise.
I still had some energy so I started tidying up the Bog Garden. I said a while ago that the bog garden isn’t working since the old liner isn’t retaining enough moisture. I am going to remove the ligularia which has struggled for a few years and a few other moisture loving plants which also look a little sad. I am currently contemplating planting two camellias I have in this bed – one is in a pot on the patio and is doing well but is outgrowing its pot and is awkward to protect from low temperatures; the other is on the top slope but the fatsia that was planted near it at the same time is taking most of the moisture so the camellia is Ok but not flowering. I think that by moving them to the old bog garden they will do better but I need to do a little research first.
This afternoon saw the power mad neighbour back to his old tricks plus I had worn myself out earlier so I sowed some narcissus and allium seeds and put my feet up with a seed catalogue.
I mentioned in the End of Month View post that I wasn’t at all keen on the row of Deschampsia at the end of the front lawn. However, I discovered a view yesterday where I thought they looked great (above). It was early morning, the dew had not burned off and the sun was shining. The view was from the end of my driveway peering over the laurel hedge a view I rarely bother to consider but one that visitors may see. This hasn’t dissuaded me from moving the grasses but I think it has confirmed my feeling that they need to be amongst other plants rather in a straight line.
It already feels as though Autumn is about to be upon us and I have noticed the nights getting distinctly cooler. This has prompted me to sort out the greenhouse: removing the cucumbers, having a good tidy up and making space for the tender succulents to take up their winter accommodation. I hadn’t realised that I had acquired so many more over the last year and this year I have tried to display them attractively in the greenhouse rather than my usual putting them in higgeldy piggedly.
On the other side of the greenhouse are the pelargoniums, generally species at the moment as I am leaving the scented leaved ones out as long as possible. There are also some seedlings of various South Hemisphere plants I have taken to over the last year.
I need to make some decisions about the greenhouse and how I am going to use in the next year or so. My interests and focus have changed somewhat since I first got it. I am more interested in growing alpines and hardy perennials from seed and these don’t need greenhouse space. However, I have a new interest in bulbs, and especially miniature ones for showing, so I am toying with the idea of a bulb frame where I can plunge the pots of bulbs in sand. I will also have space shortly in our garage now that my eldest son has moved all his woodworking equipment out. Progress has started on converting the space into a sort of potting room for me and also somewhere to overwinter dahlia tubers, other succulents and tender perennials.
Outside I was dismayed to discover all the flowers, bar one, munched off the Colchicums. I have two small clumps and this one I only acquired last year in a raffle so I have been looking forward to the flowers appearing. I think the culprit must be slugs but there was little evidence. I have put slug pellets down in the hope of protecting the remaining flower and maybe any further ones which might appear and there is now a horrid slimy trail around the plant so either they are attracted to the pellets or the flowers!
I have also done some planting this week. We have had a good rainfall which has made the ground workable and the reduction in the temperatures mean this is good planting weather. At last I can start freeing up some space on the patio. I have planted out a Clematis bonstedtii, which is a herbaceous variety, and some Delphinium requienii. I think the blue flowers on the Clematis work well with the Melianthus and also the white/blue flowers of Geranium ‘Splish Splash’ just beyond it.
Finally today I emptied out the summer hanging baskets and window box and started planting up the Autumn/Winter displays. I have added some ornamental cabbages to the Cyclamen and Violas I reviewed for Plant Me Now.
Back to work tomorrow so my gardening exploits will be curtailed to weekends and a few more evenings before the nights completely close in.