For future seasons

19 Sep

In my last post I pictured the raised beds towards the end of the season. This time i’ll look forward to next year with some images of shocking neglect, bad planning and half-baked ideas. Yes, somebody warn the RHS: I’ve been growing a few things on from seed germinated either this year or last, so I can’t blame anyone else but myself for what you are about to witness.

Good news: I must have at least fifty agaves; they germinate easily. Bad news: most of them have one tiny leaf each and i’ve no idea which species these babies belong to. I sowed the first batch of seed in Spring, using a heat mat. That sowing has yielded half a dozen miniature plants with a few leaves apiece. Then in midsummer I lost patience and sowed the entire packet in the greenhouse with no additional heat. The ones I potted on have done worse than the ones I left unmolested in the seed tray. Whatever I do, i’m in for the long haul with these. Maybe i’ll sandwich the lot between a heat mat and gro-lights for the winter. That might be the kick up the arse we need.
A summer sowing of solanum laciniatum has given me a dozen struggling plants which I am going to attempt to overwinter. The ones I sowed indoors in early spring are now nudging seven feet tall. That’s really something. Imagine what I might have next year with plants that have had a headstart? Mind you, I did leave the seedlings in the tray a bit too long before potting them on. That’s why they look so ragged. That and slugs.

Likewise echium pininana. I’m trying to cheat winter, even though I know from experience that echiums will not tolerate being kept in pots. So . . . bigger pots when the plants get that tell-tale red tinge to them? It’s a plan.

Cuttings corner. I’m looking to build up loads of blue senecio and black aeonium because they are both fabulous. Likewise the spider plants, which I want to combine with more dark leaved, red-flowered begonias next season. The euphorbia and lotus are proving a bit harder to root.

Moving swiftly on, here’s Pinnate Corner. All grown from seed supplied this year by the excellent Chiltern Seeds. Honey locust gleditsia triacanthos

The honey locust is a hardy tree that grows fast, has ornamental foliage and nasty-looking branched spines, and I never see other than occasionally sighted thornless (boring) cultivars at garden centres. The main thing I have against it is that it isn’t evergreen. I have this thing that if I buy a hardy plant, it ought to be evergreen as well because there’s no point buying hardy plants that I can only enjoy in summer.
Two Caesalpinia gilliesii, one of several plants to share the moniker ‘bird of paradise plant’. This has been a fast grower. Behind are two Clianthus puniceus

Then there are the innumerable hostas, sons of H. sieboldiana var. elegans that I sowed two years back, but still haven’t planted out. There’s the Washingtonia robusta I bought from a market stall which nearly died as soon as it was owned by me, but has since recovered. That one is nearly hardy here but I want to keep it out of hard frosts this winter, so as to keep it looking at its best. There are the tender eucalypts and acacias that grew at a snail’s pace and the silver trees that have grown in a U shape before I took care to stake them.

It all goes towards giving me lots more options for next year. And maybe the year after that.

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3 Responses to “For future seasons”

  1. Nat September 20, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    You’ve got it bad, I’m in a similar situation. 100 agave seedlings on their way, a field of echiums all needing to be repotted already from 2g pots, and so. so. so many tropical plants to migrate from my house to the greenhouse at the nursery. Aren’t plants fun!

    • thechthonianlife September 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      Good luck with yours, I need to get my winter arrangements in order, some forecasters are predicting frost tonight . .

  2. Di. October 15, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I long to hear an Arbutus rustling on the lawn.

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