The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Monthly Archive: October 2016

Oriental Lilies – Lilieaceae

Oriental lilies prefer a moist, free draining, neutral to acid soil that is rich in organic matter. Prior to planting, add plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost to the soil to give your lilies the best start. When growing lilies in containers, use a loam based compost such as John Innes No.2. Lily bulbs should be planted at a depth of approximately 3 times their own height and 15cm (6″) apart. Planting deeply helps to protect the bulb during particularly hot periods. Choose a sheltered, sunny position where lilies will grow with their heads in the sun and their roots in the shade. Information and photograph from T&M where I bought the bulbs.

I am ready and waiting for them to arrive which I’m told will be late November. I shall put them into two large black, square planters. Well the Lilies arrived this morning November 7th. Unfortunately I have run out of compost. I have ordered some more so another wait now until it arrives. The Lilies are sitting in the fridge for now. Friday 11th November. All the lilies are in now. I divided them up between two large pots, keeping one back to put directly into the garden in the white border.

Oriental Lilies range from 2′ – 6′  and their very large flowers emit a strong fragrance when they bloom in the later part of summer. Their flowers, often freckled or lined, tend to lift outwards or to the sky, as though soaking up the sun they enjoy so much. Blooms are usually wide open, with recurved petals. Not always the easiest lilies to grow, their large fragrant flowers make it worth the effort. Oriental Lilies grow best in full sun in rich, slightly acidic, and well-drained soil; like lots of water during the growth period and some mulch to keep their roots cool. Smaller varieties of the Oriental Lily do well in containers, and all make superb cut flowers. 13th March – The lilies are a foot high already and I plan to mulch with ericaceous compost tomorrow and move them out away from the wall and into a sunnier part of the garden. I am looking forward to finding out what colours I have.

 

Growing Acer from Seed

Sow seeds at any time of year in trays or pots about quarter of an inch deep in good seed compost. Place in a propagator or warm place. Seal the container inside a polythene bag to ensure a humid atmosphere and leave for 6 weeks. Place outdoors for eight weeks to chill. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 3″ pots. Grow on in a cold frame and plant out the following spring or autumn in a sheltered part of the garden. It may be up to three years before you can plant into it’s final position. Choose a slightly shady, sheltered spot in moist, free draining, lime-free soil. Sounds easy doesn’t it. I understand you can also use prunings to grow from a cutting. Ah well, the seeds cost nothing so I shall give it a go.

Update Sunday 30th October – the seeds are in a tray of damp compost which is inside a polythene bag. They have to stay like that until the middle of December. Tray put outside middle of December. Update 17th January. Tiny green shoots showing.

Calocephalus Challenge

I bought this plant today on impulse and after reading up on it I think it may be aptly named. It caught my eye initially because of its structure and colour, then the cephalus  element of it’s name intrigued me too.

Calosephalus Leucophyta brownii is endemic to the southern coast of Australia, occurring amongst sand dunes and in rock crevices in exposed coastal cliffs. It forms a small compact bush with striking silver foliage in a mass of tangled wiry branchlets. The leaves have been reduced to scale-like hairs that are aligned flat against the stems giving the plant a strange skeletal and ghost-like presence. In late spring and summer has a mass of silver button-like buds that open to small spherical yellow flowers. It prefers an alkaline and well-drained soil. It is a familiar   plant in New Zealand, Australia and California where it tolerates salt, severe winds, drought and mild frosts but its sensitivity to hard frosts has restricted its use somewhat in the UK . It is not completely hardy.

Definitely a challenge.

 

Growing Clematis from Cuttings

I have been taking stock of the Clematis in the garden and reading up about how to prune or propagate them. Softwood cuttings are best taken between April and June from the mid-sections of strongly growing vines. The tips will be too soft and the lower parts may be too woody.  Prepare the selected section of vine by cutting through it immediately above a leaf joint and again about 3-4 cm below the same node. Remove the excess foliage to reduce moisture loss. Insert the cutting into compost up to the leaf joint. Label the pot and water it gently. Cover the surface of the compost with grit to deter slugs and retain moisture. Place in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight and maintain a humid atmosphere by covering with polythene or a propagator. Bottom heat will aid rooting but is not essential. Rooting should occur in four weeks. Pot up separately when rooted but if they are not ready by late summer delay the job until next spring and grow the cuttings on for another year before planting out.

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