Tag Archive: Warning

Rhubarb Victoria – Planting and Plant Care

I have just been reading back on the blog after doing a search for Rhubarb. When we had the allotment one of the resounding successes was the Rhubarb bed. It was not hard work and gave us a bountiful harvest year after year. I have bought a root of Rhubarb Victoria which was the best variety in my opinion being hardy, productive and very tasty. I bought it from McIntyres again as, based on experience, I trust them to provide good healthy plants.

Victoria is a long established main crop variety and I am sure it is the variety that we had in my family garden when I was growing up in the prefab. We had a large wrap around garden which my mother put to good use growing produce for the table plus flowers. Happy days!!!

Rhubarb Victoria fruits during the summer months and can grow to 3′ so I shall need to prepare a good space for it. I have an initial spot in mind but I don’t intend to put it into the ground until the soil warms up a bit and I have dug in some good rotted compost. I intend to give the roots a dusting of mycorrhizal fungi powder to encourage the root to establish well.

Planting

  • The roots of Rhubarb need to go deep so an depth of two spades needs to be worked and plenty of rotted manure added if available.
  • Plant as soon as the weather permits and in a position that gets the sun.
  • Dig the hole large enough to avoid disturbing the crown and the root ball and with space all around to allow for root growth. The crown is at or just below the soil level. Firm in gently and water in well.

Follow Up Care

  • Pruning: Remove all flower spikes as they appear as you don’t want your plant to go to seed.
  • Mulch: Mulch annually with well rotted compost or manure and cover with straw avoiding the crown.
  • Water: Water regularly during the fruiting season and especially in very dry periods.
  • Feeding: Apply a high potash feed in February and for best results a liquid feed every couple of weeks during the fruiting season.

Warning: The leaves of Rhubarb are extremely toxic

Alstroemeria Flaming Star

My current stock of Alstroemeria were inherited from the previous plot holder of our allotment. They were growing like weeds, prolifically, every year getting more and more, so much so that Rob began to pull them up and destroy them. I have saved a few rooted plants and lots of seeds. The flower is available in various colours. The variety I have is the bright orange Flaming Star pictured at the top of the post and I am determined to get hold of the white variety for the garden at home too. They are very sturdy plants and can be invasive so I shall grow them in large containers.

Tip – These flowers are best obtained by buying a well rooted plant as they are difficult to germinate from seeds. Plant Alstroemeria plants in a sheltered site, in part shade or full sun, any time between May and August in good soil. All Alstroemeria like good living, so give them plenty of organic matter in the planting hole. If you have a greenhouse plant some inside too. Pot them up into generous 5 litre pots and keep them frost free. Once they start to shoot in spring, feed and water well and they’ll give you an almost continual flower harvest. Pull from the root and they will continue to flower for months.

Alstroemeria, commonly called the Peruvian lily or lily of the Incas is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are all native to South America although some have become naturalised in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Almost all of the species are restricted to one of two distinct centres of diversity, one in central Chile, the other in eastern Brazil. Species of Alstroemeria from Chile are winter-growing plants while those of Brazil are summer-growing. All are long-lived perennials except graminea, a diminutive annual from the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Alstroemeria are very versatile plants and will grow in different situations. All varieties will flower from May through to the first frosts of Autumn and will benefit from the use of a free draining soil. Shorter varieties such as Princess, Inticancha and Little Miss are ideal for the front of the border or for growing in containers. Tall Alstroemeria are good for the back of the border and will provide a continuous supply of cut flowers throughout the summer months. Inca are slightly shorter but will also give long enough stems for cut flowers are good for borders and will also thrive in large containers. Some companies sell loose Alstroemeria rhizomes which is another method of propagation..

May cause skin allergy or irritant – Having skin or eye contact with these plants could result in an allergic reaction, burning or rash.

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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

 

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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.