Posts Tagged ‘hardy’

Bikes in the greenhouse? No, thanks…

November 22nd, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Chrysanth Pennine Series (left) and Mayford Perfection Series

Things in the garden tend to look a bit bleak at the end of November, especially this year. The rain, yes the rain, not only blighted some people’s lives but kept us out of the garden and off the soil. And there are so few plants that flower naturally at this time of year that – but there are some, my Pennine Series chrysanths (left, above) are still hanging on.

Many of us grow tomatoes in a cold greenhouse, and this last summer proved that outdoor toms don’t always do as well as we’d like, so growing them in an unheated greenhouse is a very good idea. But, when the last toms are picked, do we leave the greenhouse empty till it’s seed sowing time in spring? Do we use it to store the fair weather bicycle? Or do we use it for December flowering chrysanths?

The thing about the Mayford Perfection Series (above) is that they flower late, from about now onwards when we really need some colour, but they don’t need to be under cover until just before the first frost. So we can grow them in pots outside all summer – remembering, of course, to keep them well watered and fed – and when the tomatoes are over we can remove the plants to the compost heap, clean up the greenhouse and move the pots of chrysanths in.

You don’t need a heater, just open everything up on sunny days to let plenty of air through and close things down when it’s cold. Your rooted cuttings will arrive in May, pot them into 7cm or 9cm pots, keep them in the greenhouse for a few weeks and they’ll grow strongly. In June move them into 20cm pots and stand them outside in a sunny place, keep them watered and fed and provide some support. Bring them in when the first frost threatens. Each plant will give you four or five well branched stems of beautiful flowers – and they’ll still be going at Christmas.

Gentler geums

April 13th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Geum 'Totally Tangerine'

There are two geums that we seem to have been growing for ever: ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ (bright scarlet) and ‘Lady Stratheden’ (bright yellow). They’re prolific, tough as old boots and flower for months in most soils. But don’t you sometimes wish that there were varieties that were just as long flowering and prolific but that were, well, less bright?

Plant breeders around the world have got the message and have been crossing different species together to create varieties that are prolific, adaptable, long flowering and colourful – but in slightly softer shades.

From Holland comes ‘Flames of Passion’, developed by the renowned plantsman and garden designer Piet Oudolf, is red, but a richer and softer shade than ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’. ‘Mai Tai’, created by Illinois nurseryman Brent Horvath, is apricot with richer pink tints while, from British nurseryman Tim Crowther, ‘Totally Tangerine’ (above) is peachy pink with a rich dusting of gold that adds subtlety to its brightness.

All are sun lovers, all are tolerant of a wide variety of soils but are best in fertile conditions with good drainage, especially in winter. If you’re looking for a geum for wetter conditions, try the demure British native Geum rivale.

Regular dead-heading helps prolong their season and keeps the plants looking fresh and if you’d like to cut some for the house, they’ll last well. I recommend them.