Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Twin scaling Snowdrops - ensuring success!

The moment of truth... The bags of twin-scaled Snowdrops are opened and not a green / furry failure in sight! I never fail to admire how nature ordains this means of survival into the Amaryllidaceae. For this sequence, a healthy bulb of Galanthus plicatus 'John Long' had been chopped into pieces and placed into a bag of fungicide treated moist vermiculite last June....

Everyone's a winner :-)

Despite all the fiddling and care at the incubation stage, it can all still go wrong!  I've evolved a belt and braces method against fungal losses.

The twin scales are place into a ziplock bag.....

Green Sulphur (the belt)  is added and the bag shaken / stirred.....

They are then potted into clean 3" plastic pots. A mix of equal parts JI No 2 / perlite and grit is filled to within 1" of the top - figs 1&2.

The sulphur treated twin scales are then pressed into this open mix (leave the dried scales attached) - figs 3&4.

More of the potting mix is then added until the twin scales are covered fig 5

A top dressing of coarse grit is added fig 6. Oh and DONT forget to label the pot as you go along!

The first watering of these pots is done using a systemic fungicide! (Thats the braces!)

Once leaves are noted, the pots are then watered with 1/2 strength general fertiliser on a regular basis.  The bulbs should then reach flowering size after two growing seasons.

 In three years time you could be staring at a clump like this :-)

I'm giving several talks this Winter on the theme of 'Special Snowdrops' including:

Wolverhampton Hort Soc 14th November 2012
AGS Essex group 29th November 2012
Stone Chrysanthemum and Dahlia club 10th January 2013
The Ashwood Snowdrop Day lecture on 3rd February 2013
Hardy Plant Society Snowdrops Group (Leominster) 17th February 2013

Contact me for more details or if you would be interested in a talk on the theme of Snowdrops (I have several) suitable for garden clubs or conference audiences

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Glad you came up?

Isn't it nice when 'surprises' pop up in the garden? I'd discarded some 'dead' pots from the alpine house following the killer Winter of two years ago. Clearly not as lethal as I thought.....

This was the sight that caught my attention on the 10th September, gorgeous salmon coloured flowers over a fan of foliage merely 6" tall.....

The flowers lasted nearly a week before shrivelling up - only to be replaced by just as many new ones. The whole plant was less than 12" tall :-)

And pretty stunning they were too! Eat your heart Gladiolus flanaganii - I may have a new favourite?

I had suspected Gladiolus oppositifolius ssp salmoneus would be 'one for the garden' when sowing this amongst a dozen or so other species from Silverhill seeds several years ago. And of course I planted it there with that in mind ......

Now where's all the other surprises waiting to shoot up?