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Great Haseley and District Horticultural Society - June 2018

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The last winter was warm and wet followed by a cold spring.

This has continued to show its effects.  I have had two clumps of chives for around 20 years; all that is left are two shallow hollows; they have simply vanished.  I left in the ground, in a sheltered place, a pineapple sage which flowers bright red in October/November; its flowers amazingly survived the two heavy snowfalls, but the plant has clearly succumbed to the spring heavy rains.  Well, it was worth a try.

My biggest disappointments were some of the Tulips which I needed for colour during our recent garden visit and open day.  I have bought my Tulips every year from the same company for a long time so I gave them a call to find out what I might have done wrong.  An interesting conversation followed; the lady I spoke to knew exactly which varieties I was asking about as it has been a general problem even with the growers who will be struggling with supplies this year.  It seems that Tulips need at least 10 weeks of winter cold, but the warm wet winter did not provide that so flowering has failed in about 4/5th of the bulbs of some varieties and often stems have not been able to hold up the heads (this was a problem for my parrot Tulips). Some varieties were unaffected and I had a mix of both.  Ballerina Tulip was the worst offender producing only 19 flowers from 100 bulbs.  I was advised to plant out the bulbs as this variety will continue to flower for a few years in the garden and next year should be fine.  Apparently flowering failure was also a big problem with the dwarf winter Irises and it seems some varieties of these have vanished from commercial growers.

On the flip side, I was not hopeful about Dahlia Roxy which I had left in the ground, but it is happily shooting away now so is clearly a winner.  Virtually all the Salvias I left in the ground are also unaffected, but in the garden death of a plant means space for another!

I was puzzled by some seedlings and young plants I did not recognize and nor did my group of RHS course gardening friends.  Had I asked Sally, she would have known as she gave me the seed!  Smyrnium perfoliatum is a woodland plant which produces bright green seedling one year followed by young plants the next spring and, finally, in the third year the plant grows bigger and send up a beautiful acid yellow/green flowering stem.  It has given much pleasure this spring and now I have all three stages around the garden.  One gardening friend commented that one of the big nationally important gardens had asked for volunteers to weed out the plant as it had become invasive.  I will bear this in mind, but at the moment I am happy with the situation and at least I now can recognize it early.  Despite preferring shade, it is growing very happily in full sun here so I don’t think it is particularly fussy and I would thoroughly recommend it.

I notice that everything is growing fast in the current beautiful weather and that includes the weeds, so keep up with the weeding and make sure you keep newly planted plants well-watered; a good watering every few days is better than a daily sprinkling.  Don’t forget to go out in your garden frequently simply to notice and enjoy the changes which seem to be happening on a daily basis just now; I love this time of year – there is so much promise!

Liz Moyses

For membership details (cost only £5 per family per year), please contact Carys Lyndsay who is the membership secretary.
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