I have to admit that my dividing Agapanthus pics are none too visually thrilling, so I’m shamelessly throwing in an update of my gorgeous tulips at the same time.
A week later than my last tulip post and the very dark ‘Queen of the Night’ and the softer, more frilly ‘Curly Sue’ are adding a more sombre note to the bed. Very raspberry ripple, but the firey orange ‘Ballerina’ does add a zing and if I was planting this bed again, I’d probably add a few more of these. I’m pleased with the combination none-the-less though.
So here’s my large (16 inch) pot of Agapanthus.
To be honest, it does give me about 30 flowers every summer (with plenty of feeding), but it’s been in this pot for years and I thought it was time to divide it. I originally bought the plant as a large clump of an unnamed variety from Pine Cottage plants and it’s been delighting me for years. This is a glorious Agapanthus specialist nursery in Devon and well worth the visit should you be heading down that way. They also offer a fantastic mail order service with a wide and very tempting selection of cultivars and I’ve ordered many quality plants for clients that way too.
It wasn’t easy removing the plant from the pot, but once the first sliver was out, I was able to use a large sharp kitchen knife to slice through the roots and divide up the rest.
There was hardly any soil left in the pot, but now I’ve re-potted the large clump back into the pot with plenty of fresh rich compost, and the smaller pieces have been planted in a neighbour’s garden. I’m hoping that I should get some flowers from the larger clump this year and I’m curious to see if the smaller pieces will flower too in the soil this summer.
Meanwhile, back in the Tulip bed, I’m lapping up what these luscious spring bulbs have to offer.
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Posted in 'How to', Lettuces, Mustard leaves, tagged Cocarde, different lettuce varieties to grow, Freckles, How to grow lettuces, Succession=al planting for year round lettuces, Veg plotting, Where to buy lettuce seeds on April 18, 2013 |
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I love lettuces. Can never get enough of them. This year I was determined to get sowing nice and early and be eating my home-grown leaves by the end of May. Well, I found a mildish day at the beginning of March and optimistically sowed a number of small trays of lettuces. I popped them into my mini outdoor greenhouse (with no heat) and started to get excited. Six weeks on, and a lot later than I had planned, I’m pricking out these ‘All the year around’ lettuce seedlings above into modules. They’re rather on the leggy side due to the low light conditions and low temperatures that we’ve had in March.
However, these leggy stems can be twirled around into the soil when you’re pricking out your seedlings (I use a spindly crochet hook, although I can’t crochet) and hopefully, with much better light levels (hurrah!), should go on to be very healthy seedlings indeed. So far I’ve sown
- Ashbrook (a frilly loose leaved variety, but sadly they didn’t germinate-disappointing, but luckily a rare occurence these days!)
- Chatsworth (A chunky dark green Cos lettuce from Sea Spring Seeds, claiming to be virtually bitter free)
- Red Salad Bowl (another red frilly type from Sea Spring Seeds)
- All the year around (a soft butterhead, hopefully slow to bolt from Seed Parade)
but Michelle at Veg Plotting has sown an impressive 22 different varieties this year and is hoping to add a few more as part of her 52 Week Salad Challenge. Really looking forward to seeing how they all grow. I wish I had a bit more growing space! I’m just off to sow a few more varieties:
- Cocarde (a very tasty pointy upright reddish tinged oak leaf lettuce that I loved last year, available from Chilterns Seeds)
- Freckles (a fab lightish green Cos, spotted with reddy/brown markings, that gave me delicious salads all summer long last year. Originally from Sarah Raven, but grown this year from my own painstakingly collected seeds!)
- Navara (a deep red oak leaf from Sarah Raven, new to me this year)
- Forellenschluss (an heirloom Cos variety from Chilterns seeds, means ‘speckled like a trout’ and I wonder if this is very similar to/ the same as ‘Freckles’?)
Out of everything I grew last year, I think lettuces gave me the best return for the space and time they occupied. I loved experimenting with ‘no dig’ potatoes and rainbow carrots in pots-they were a true delight to unearth-but it was the lettuces that kept me in dinners all summer long, from June until August. I’m so looking forward to planting these seedlings out to create decorative displays (as well as supplying many meals) and I still have it firmly in my head to try and master successive planting of these leaves (sowing again in July and August), so that I can have salads all year round from my own garden.
p.s. I’ve also sown ‘Green in Snow’, ‘Red Knight Mizuna’ and ‘Broad leaved Mizuna’ to add a mustardy bite and extra texture to my salads.
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Last year I experienced Mara des Bois strawberries for the first time (having planted them the summer before) and was so delighted with these fruits that I’ve ordered more for me, my clients and our community veg growing project. They really are one of the most delicious fruits I’ve ever tasted, and being a perpetual type of strawberry, will crop from July until October-how impressive is that! Half cultivated variety and half wild strawberry, these berries don’t need full sun to perform well and still have the most succulent bite, whilst retaining some of the intense sweetness of their wilder relative.
So here’s what two dozen looks like! They arrived bare-rooted at the weekend (from Pomona fruits,
and I unwrapped them straight away and put them in a bowl of water for a good long soak.
I was hoping to give some of these away at the weekend at our spring Cake Sunday, but alas, it was snowing, so we’ve postponed the get-together for a few weeks and I’ve potted these up until next we meet. These strawberries will be great for lining a pathway, or in a mixed border with perennials and other fruit and veg and they’ll be ideal for generous window boxes and containers too.
So if you want to extend your berry picking season until October, you can order these now and Pomona Fruits will be sending bare-rooted Mara des Bois plants out until the end of June.
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