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Great Haseley and District Horticultural Society - March 2018

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I overwinter many plants in my greenhouse, particularly tender perennials, both as mature plants and as cuttings.

I visited a garden a couple of years ago where the owner said she always took cuttings in September as she went away for August.  My experience this year has been that rooting of the cuttings was good and they survived well over the winter within an unheated propagator.  At the end of January, I potted up all the well-rooted cuttings into individual pots and covered them in fleece.  Sadly, there has been a higher rate of loss than I anticipated.  I think this is probably due to the low temperature in the greenhouse; I aim to keep the temperature just above zero which, combined with keeping the plants very dry, works well at keeping most tender perennials alive and well.  Clearly this approach does not apply to cuttings as, on potting up, I had to water them in so they were wetter than I would have liked; I should have taken them indoors!  I will try again this year.  Last month I wrote that I had made efforts to label cuttings, but, unfortunately, I did not label the only one I can’t remember the name of!  This plant was a new acquisition late last summer and I didn’t know if the cuttings would work, but they did and I have two unknown small plants as well as the original (in the garden and unlabeled too!).  Some internet research is required, I think.

The curse of the spring gardener hit me this year when I woke up one morning with a bad back; the result has been no gardening for the last two weeks.  I am just starting to gently garden, but fear I am be well behind, particularly with weeding.  I am fortunate that my other half has battled on alone with the clearing and rose pruning.  He is very good at pruning (rather better than I am) so I am happy with that.  Do keep up with the weeding as much as possible; I am in total agreement with the old adage that “one year’s seeds are seven years’ weeds”, although some of the weed problems are blown in with the wind or come in with introduced plants.

The lack of gardening activity has meant more time available to walk around and simply enjoy the garden and see what needs doing.  I have been able to enjoy the early spring flowers and the lovely scent from various plants, especially on mild sunny days; I do think that, despite the weather often being very bad in February, that this month definitely signals the start of spring; by the time you are reading this, it will be March and the days will be getting rapidly longer and brighter.  Do take the time to go outside and simply look at the plants you have and look at their new growth.  The spring garden is so full of promise.

I have also been looking at the various plants I have received as gifts over the years from various gardening friends past and present.  I have developed a habit of calling plants by the name of the donor so I always think about that person when I look at the plant.  Unfortunately, this also increases the guilt if one of those plants dies.

Our biggest garden problem at the moment, is a persistent mole which is quite literally destroying our lawn.  It (or its friend) just keeps returning after supposed treatment and over the last week it has dug bigger and bigger hills; I fear one of them is a birthing chamber which will multiply the problem.  Oh, no!

It was brought to my attention, that I failed to sign my article last month.  I also apologise for the grammar last month which was a result of writing the article on my iPad; Pages is not a patch on Word!


Liz Moyses

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