In Out, In Out, Shake it All About

Over the year, the contents of the greenhouses ebb and flow as the seasons change, sometimes at peak capacity but never empty. At the moment, the Coop is emptying rapidly as pots of early flowering bulbs are cleared, some replanted around the garden and some, like the prepared narcissi, chucked on the compost heap. Still remaining are sarracenia and echiveria:

Some very late-flowering hippeastrum:

Scented leaved pelargonium:

Several eucomis, some poking their noses through (hurrah!):

Resting nerine and ‘proper’ amaryllis and amaryllis crosses:

Pretty primula:

Some other oddments not pictured, and a very pretty and long-flowering hardenbergia:

At the other end of the garden and at the other extreme is the working greenhouse, currently very much full to capacity:

…filled with the early flowering sweet peas which you can see in the right foreground above, and dahlia tubers from last year:

…some of the many potted-on bedding plant plugs, and some chrysanthemum and dahlia plugs too:

…whilst at the bottom end are the last three trays of seedlings, and (having done a quick addition) over 50 trays and pots of pricked out seedlings. I spent 3 hours on Saturday watering everything from the bottom – a big effort but it was worth it as it gives them a huge boost and makes top-up watering more effective.

Where possible, when things are potted on they are moved outside to harden off, with some confidence now the medium-term forecast suggests no foreseeable frosts:

Let me assure you though that it’s not all sweetness and light amidst the productivity, as some seedlings have struggled with aphids this year, like the zinnias below – and this weekend we are warned of a big increase in aphid infestations due to the mild winter…something NOT to look forward to. I have made some additional sowings with the limited seed there was left – and hope these do not suffer the same fate as I was just on the cusp of success with zinnias last year!

Once the dahlias, bedding plants and seedlings are all grown on enough to be planted outside, this greenhouse will see leaner times, with tomatoes replacing the sweet peas and the staging left largely empty until seasonal cuttings are taken and some perennials (and next year’s sweet peas!) are sown – it may feel like the Hokey Cokey at times, all this in out, in out, shaking it all about business, but hey ho, it’s a lot of fun!

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17 Responses to In Out, In Out, Shake it All About

  1. Do you put the scented pelargoniums into larger pots or not? Asking for me as I’ve just bought some from Fibrex. Best wishes, Julie

    • Cathy says:

      Mine all came from Fibrex too, Julie, and most are in 23cm pots although I have realised that they have not been repotted since the end of their first season which was three years ago and at least need fresh compost if nothing else! As I want to keep them in the Coop I don’t especially want them to grow any bigger so won’t use bigger pots. I think the first year I had them outside, three to a small trough, then potted into these. I follow Fibrex’s care instructions about overwintering so cut them back and defoliate them. Enjoy yours and thanks for ptompting me to repot!

      • Thanks. I’ve put them in that size pot and I’ll see how they do this summer.

        • Cathy says:

          And thank YOU for prompting me to repot all mine, which I have done today – fortunately I had a bag of John Innes 2. A good job done as the soil in the pots was dry and powdery, so I am expecting good things from the plants later this year!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Is that hardenbergia blue, or just purple? Does it normally bloom now rather than in winter? I do not know all the species or cultivars. I can only remember the original purple, a similar white, and the fluffier pink.

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    It is a real juggling exercise at this time of year, let’s hope we don’t have a late frost. I have found that white fly are particularly attracted to scented leaved pelargoniums.

    • Cathy says:

      I am fairly confident there will be no more frosts in April… Hmm, I shall have to watch out for whitefly in the Coop then – its greenfly in the working g/h but last year there was a late infestation of a hmm…brownish aphid in the Coop that put an end to my fancy chrysanthemum for the year

      • Brian Skeys says:

        Hi Cathy, do you know about SB Plant Invigorator? Used by organic and professional growers. Available on well know online sites.

        • Cathy says:

          No, I hadn’t, Brian but it sounds a most useful product to have, especially for the greenhouses, and I shall make a point of getting some

  4. Heyjude says:

    It’s all go right now! My scented pellies are outside now, in fact several have spent the entire winter outside, but I have had to cut them back as they were getting a bit big! The ones I kept inside don’t look as healthy as yours, maybe because of the white fly as Brian mentioned, which was really bad this year.

    • Cathy says:

      I know mine would be OK outside in the summer but I like seeing a shelf of them in the Coop. I don’t really want mine to get any bigger than they are, but I have just repotted them in fresh compost today. I might look into nematodes for the aphids but I guess you would have to keep the doors and vents closed which would make the working g/h an oven!

  5. I am envious of your greenhouses. They certainly extend the growing season. Are sweet peas easy to grow? I tried a couple of years ago but had no luck

    • Cathy says:

      Once you have a greenhouse it will never be big enough!! The sweet peas are easy to grow in the UK. These ones are bred to grow under lower light levels which is why they are very early, but they need to be grown in the g/h so they can be making good growth in the early months of the year. The usual outdoor ones are very hardy and seed sown in the autumn can be overwintered in a cold frame but even these would not start flowering till about June. I sowed my outdoor ones at the end of January. I know Christina our blogging friend in Italy said it was too hot for them to grow there although she wondered about trying the early ones so they would have finished flowering before the searing summer heats. I haven’t forgotten about hellebore seeds and will email you when I have finished answering this batch of comments. Hope you are coping with lockdown and staying safe

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