Thursday, 27 October 2016

packing the greenhouse

It seems to take an age putting the pots of tender things in the greenhouse for the winter.  I suppose it is not just a question of moving the pots.  There are dead leaves to be picked off, root balls to be checked for root aphid, growth to be cut back, dry pots to be given one good soak before being stacked away as close as they'll fit.

I have made some welcome discoveries.  Some of the softwood cuttings I took from a pink Gaura have struck, not all of them, but probably enough to give as many extra plants as I want, if they make it through the winter.  It had never occurred to me that you could propagate Gaura by chopping a stem into bits and putting them in compost, but it was one of the species brought along to my garden club's propagation evening.  I have a rather nice pink flowered form, not too short and dumpy, which has made it through a couple of winters in the open ground, and I wanted some more.  I am not entirely one hundred per cent sure which variety it is, since I bought it originally to go in a pot by the front door and it seemed such a waste to throw it away when I dismantled the pot that I planted it in the gravel to take its chances, but by then I'd lost the label.  It might be 'Siskyou Pink' but it might not be.  I don't think I'll risk separating my cuttings until spring, but so far, so good.  Of course there is many a slip between cup and lip, and they may yet fall prey to botrytis or simply mysteriously die before then.

I heard back from the RHS about root aphid and the good news, if you are not an organic gardener, is that there are still vine weevil drenches approved that should work on them, one being Scott's Bug Clear Ultra Vine Weevil Killer.  I could also, the RHS entomologist suggested, scrape off the infected compost.  Indeed I could, and I have, also thrown away some infected Pelargonium where I had more than one plant of that variety, but as I am not a fully organic gardener I am glad there is still something available to treat my dwarf pomegranates when required.  Better still, it is available from Tesco Direct, so I won't need to trawl around the local garden centres looking for somewhere that sells it.

The dahlias have pretty much finished, and I have started carting the pots back up the steps by the conservatory to the front garden.  The Systems Administrator offered the use of the new garden trolley, but the steps are so much more direct than going right round the house, and save dragging the trolley up the steep slope to the drive.  I will borrow it for the last bit to trundle the pots across the gravel to the concrete by the greenhouse.  Then I suppose I had better wait for frost to blacken the foliage before cutting them down, now I know the reason for this is to give the tubers time to seal themselves naturally at the end of the growing season and avoid introducing rot and disease through the cut stems.  It's a nuisance in some ways, since I'd love to be able to put them in the greenhouse and have done with it, plus then I'd see how much space was left for other things, if any.  Frost is not forecast in the next week.

The big excitement is going to come when I tackle the pot bound Agapanthus.  I could wimp out and leave it until spring, but a couple have risen so far in their pots it has become impossible to water them properly.  That is going to be an issue come the spring, even if I want to keep them dryish over the winter.  I have a feeling I ought to do something about them now.  The last time I had to get a mature Agapanthus out of its pot it took absolutely ages, and the bread knife was never the same again.

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