Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: Warning

Echium Plantagineum White Bedder – Viper’s Bugloss

Echium or Viper’s Bugloss – This pretty flowering plant came here from the Mediterranean. Its flowers are a great food source for beneficial insects. Grown easily from seed they will give masses of pure white bell like flower clusters along stems covered with bristly grey hairs. Bees and butterflies love this bountiful white flowered bloomer. I have loosened the soil in the border and scattered a few of these seeds today.

It is recommended to sow Echium seeds directly outdoors once frost danger has passed. In a prepared seedbed with loosened soil that is free of weeds. Scatter the seeds on gravelly soil. Keep area moist until germination occurs. Deadhead regularly to encourage more flowers. At the end of the season allow seed heads to form and collect some for next year. Viper’s Bugloss will re-seed itself for next year. It is recommended to wear gloves when handling Echium plants as it can be a skin irritant.

This is a beautiful variety that produces clusters of bell shaped white flowers from June – Sept and reaches a height of Appx 12″

If indoor sowing is preferred:-

Sow seeds thinly onto the surface of a good quality moistened seed compost at min 18 deg C Mar – April

Lightly cover the seed with fine compost or vermiculite to just cover the seed.

Once large enough to handle the young plants can be transplanted into either 3″ pots or tray cells

A fortnightly feed with a potash based fertiliser, Tomato fertiliser, will encourage good growth and plenty of flowers.

Transplant to final position once all risk of frost has passed

 

Lobelia Cardinalis Queen Victoria

I bought this hardy perennial Lobelia plant as another candidate for around the pond. Brightly coloured spikes of scarlet flowers appear in late summer from deep purple foliage. This vibrant colour appears in the garden just as many perennials are fading. Divide large clumps every second year in spring. Protect the crown of the plant during winter with a thick, dry mulch. This moisture loving plant can also be grown at the edges of a pond if potted up it into a basket with aquatic compost. Harmful if eaten.

This plant was becoming pot bound so I have planted it into the border beside the Red Rose and think maybe I can divide it next spring and put some by the pond. Update – This plant has grown very well and as we now have the pond up and running it has been potted up and sunk on to a shelf at the side. I hope that it will survive the move and the coming Winter weather.

 

Foxglove Dalmation Mixed – Digitalis

Six out of six of the Foxglove seedlings made it through the Winter. I have potted them on into 7″ ceramic pots and the roots when I lifted them were huge.

Pot up digitalis plants and grow them on in frost free conditions for transplanting outdoors later on. When plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days, before planting them in borders and containers in sun or partial shade. Although foxgloves prefer a fertile, moist soil, they will happily tolerate almost any soil except those that are excessively dry or waterlogged.

297629_STANDARD___20131217_4.jpgFoxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea, is a common biennial garden plant that contains digitoxin, digoxin, and other cardiac glycosides.  These are chemicals that affect the heart.  Digitalis is poisonous; it can be fatal even in small doses. It was the original source of the drug called digitalis.

Digitalis ‘Dalmatian Mixed’ looks magnificent in cottage gardens and woodland borders but thanks to their uniform branching habit, these statuesque foxgloves make fabulous annual bedding too. These short lived perennials will happily seed about to create dramatic drifts and attract wildlife to their nectar rich flowers. Height 20″. Information from T&M.