Posts Tagged ‘wet weather’

Cymbidium update

November 22, 2009

A second flower spike has appeared at the base of my cymbidium. Although the plant should be resting, I’ve been putting it outside on mild – and not so mild – wet days, and this seems to be doing it no harm at all. Those flower spikes should start lengthening rapidly come the new year.

I’m careful to look out for slugs, though. I often see small ones on the leaves or the pot when I come to bring it in. I just flick these off before they can do any serious harm.

Cymbidium flowers are firm and waxy in texture

I mentioned last time that I’ll need to start feeding, but haven’t decided what with yet. Watering in orchid feed is all well and good, but because of the swift drainage that the plants need, a great deal is always wasted. Besides, orchids have a low nutrient requirement anyway. I might try a foliar feed (in the wild, orchids are ‘fed’ by the detritus that washes down over them from above, not by what they absorb through their roots) – or possibly one of those fertiliser sticks that you insert at the edge of the pot.

Cymbidium update

November 1, 2009

I took advantage of the mild damp (actually, wet) weather today and stood my cymbidium outdoors. While I have been known to bang on about ‘inducing dormancy’ in houseplants, in practice I think a rest period is best kept as brief as possible – in their country of origin, these things would be more or less permanently in growth.

So, take advantage of any opportunity to keep them ticking over. It’s always good to keep handling your plants anyway (unless you know them to be poisonous), and I noted in picking up the cymbidium that a new growth bud has appeared at the base.

This is not a fledgling pseudobulb but an emerging flower stem, always an exciting discovery. This suggests I should start feeding – but not just yet. Growth won’t (indeed can’t) be rapid until we have passed the shortest day. So come the new year, I can start watering and feeding regularly to build up the developing flowers. I’ll report back on this in January.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

August 6, 2009

I mentioned Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ in my August newsletter, happily flowering in my garden despite the wet weather.

The late Alan Bloom, who introduced the plant into the UK, rated it as the best – and who could argue with that? Certainly, it’s a superb plant, with arching stems that produce tapering clusters of orange-red flowers among sheaves of pleated leaves. The flowers at the base open first, as you can see in the picture – I’m not sure that the ones at the tip ever do.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - the flowers are much larger than those of any other variety

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' - the flowers are much larger than those of any other variety

Apparently, they are recommended for cutting, though I think the flowers wouldn’t last long in water – the point is to wait for the seed heads (which are attractive) to form, then use these. Incidentally, the plant can’t be grown from seed, so unless you are planning to do some flower arranging – something I never do – cut the stems back after flowering.

While bold clumps are the ideal, the underground corms quickly become congested and can fail to flower (as with daffodils). They need dividing regularly – I’ll post details of how to do this in the autumn.

Wet weather – again

July 29, 2009

So – the Met Office is now saying that, contrary to previous predictions of a “barbecue summer”, the wet weather is set to continue into August.

While that brings pluses and minuses for gardeners, it is seriously bad news for anyone who opens their garden to the public and makes their living this way. Not many people will willingly traipse round gardens in the pouring rain. (This applies less to those public gardens that are attached to stately homes, of course – visitors can always run for the shelter of the café and gift shop, if not the house itself.)

But please don’t abandon garden visiting entirely – merely delay it. Maybe September and October will be better, but you should also consider getting out and about in November. Contrary to expectaction, November is often blessed with mild, settled weather, and good gardens offer plenty to enjoy at any season of the year.

Blackberries seem to do well in cool, damp conditions

Blackberries seem to do well in cool, damp conditions

In case you are wondering what I think the pluses of all this wet are – well, blackberries (and the hybrid Tayberries and Loganberries) should produce copious succulent fruit, and any new plants (especially trees and shrubs) you put in in spring should now be ripping away. There should be plenty of good material for taking cuttings later on.