Sunday, 1 April 2018

potting and tidying

I finished repotting the dahlias.  A few split into separate clumps of tubers as I was rubbing away the old compost, so I potted the spares into plastic pots.  If they grow we might be able to sell them at a garden club meeting in the late summer to supplement club funds, especially if they manage to flower in their first season so that people can see what they are getting.  When I worked out roughly how much per meeting we might have for speakers, given the expected membership and after we'd paid for the hall, it came to less than the cost of booking a good speaker, which rather brought home the continued necessity of plant sales and other means of boosting club income over and above the annual subscription.

I lined the pots up outside the greenhouse because I didn't have anywhere else to put them, and then began to worry that quite apart from the risk from frosts, which I could at least fleece against, they were going to get too wet.  It is going to pour with rain tomorrow and on Wednesday, but maybe on Tuesday I can reorganise the greenhouse and find a way of getting them back under cover.  It does not help that the lid of one of the cold frames has broken, and we don't have any odd pieces of any suitable plastic left to mend it.  I will have to buy some, but that isn't going to happen before Wednesday.

Most of the pots of plants that were left to take their chances on the concrete through the winter because I'd run out of space under cover have survived.  Verbascum chaixii, Kalimeris incisa, Aquilegia, Lychnis chalcedonica, seedling geraniums that are descendants of the variety 'Brookside', Hemerocallis, and even two out of four Verbena bonariensis.  I was impressed, and quite surprised.  It has been cold and wet, and I was resigned to taking most of the pots to the compost heap.  Some Kniphofia that I potted up when weeding because it seemed too wasteful to throw them away are looking pretty dire, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all of them anyway.  I managed to get rid of a few at plant stalls last year, but red hot pokers are not terribly fashionable at the moment, and many people are cautious about orange flowers.

The old compost from the dahlia pots can go on the long bed in the front garden as a mulch.  It doesn't look as crumbly and nourishing as the homemade compost off the heap, but it is organic material.  It is bagged up for now in old compost bags, tops tucked over to try and stop the rain from turning it into compost soup, and if I stir some 6X in before spreading it I am sure it will do some good.

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