The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Geum Mrs Bradshaw

Geum Mrs J. Bradshaw is a clump forming herbaceous perennial with fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems supporting double flowers. The rich scarlet blooms set against emerald green foliage are a bonus in the border. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September. An excellent Geum variety awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit for its reliable performance, stability of colour and form and good resistance to pests and diseases. Cut back the foliage after flowering to encourage new growth.

 

 

 

 

Only two of the seedlings made it through the Winter and they have been potted on again into five inch modules.

Snake in the Grass

Fritillaria meleagris

Fritillaria meleagris –  Add plenty of well rotted manure or garden compost to the soil prior to planting to improve soil.  Plant snakes head fritillary bulbs at a depth of 4″ and 4″ apart. The bulbs are fragile so always handle them with care. Planting them on their sides will help to avoid water collecting in their hollow crowns and prevent the bulbs from rotting. Divide from August to September. Information and picture from thompson-morgan.com

I have tried to grow these lovely things before without any success. I now have fifty bulbs and have to decide where to plant them. Some plants men say that the flower is deadly poisonous. It has many common names as well as snakehead it is called lepers lily.

Grigson, in his Englishman’s Flora, calls the Fritillaria  meleagris snaky, deadly beauties, but there is little written evidence of harm.

On sunless days in winter, we shall know
By whom the silver gossamer is spun,
Who paints the diapered fritillaries,
On what wide wings from shivering pine to pine the eagle flies.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

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.

 

Perennials – Thompson & Morgan Bargain

I had just about decided to stop gardening today and have a rest when the postman delivered 72 tiny perennial plants I had ordered from T&M. On opening them I could see that they were good healthy seedlings and well worth the £2.99 that I had paid for them. They were, however, in need of potting on. They are now all in new pots. The plants were sold as “lucky dip” so discovering what was in there was exciting. There were six each of Cone Flower, Sea Holly, Dianthus, Thrift, Geum, Foxglove, Aquilegia, Delphinium, and more.

Update on Saturday 22nd October. I have lost one of these seedlings and feel quite concerned about getting them through the winter safely. I wondered whether to plant a few out but on doing a search online I think I will keep them protected until the spring. I don’t have a greenhouse or a cold frame so they will have to live on the window ledge until then.

Cauliflower Skywalker F1

 

I have received the cauliflower plants ordered from T&M and they look brilliant. Healthy and ready to be planted out as soon as the beds are ready. They are an F1 variety called Skywalker and should be ready to harvest in October. Update – we planted these yesterday, 2nd June, under a covered tunnel along with nine cabbages given to us by a friend. Update 12th September – we have harvested several of these already and they have been outstanding in size and quality. Maturing in October this outstanding hybrid gives fine, deep white curds of excellent eating quality

Garden Pea – Hurst Green Shaft

I have never grown these peas before but have read such good reports about them I decided to give them a go. They are a second early so I shall put them in during March. They should be ready to harvest in 13-14 weeks.

Pod length is about 4″ with 9-11 peas in a pod. Pea Hurst Green Shaft is a super heavy-yielding variety. Only 28″-30″ tall, with all the pods close to the top. A second early, wrinkle seeded variety, which matures in 100 days from sowing. Pea Hurst Green Shaft resists downy mildew and fusarium wilt. And the taste! Has to be eaten to be believed. info and picture from Thompson &Morgan from whom I bought the seeds.