News: Better Get On


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Better Get On

​With the official start of spring only two weeks away and hopefully better weather on the horizon, we need to start paying attention to our summer gardens. If you are adding lilies this year you need to try and make sure they are ordered this month. 

The end of March, and in to early April, is when we start planting many of the more tender summer flowering bulbs, either in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame. If you are planting straight into the garden, wait until the danger of frost has passed. 

After missing out for several years, last year I again planted begonias in some of my pots against a northwest facing wall. They proved a delight all the way through the summer and autumn until the first frosts. The Champagne begonia was a particular favourite of my father’s and always took pride of place on his patio for the summer. 

Garden begonias, with their longevity of flowering (June until mid-October) and tolerance of rain, must be one of our most valuable but underutilised flowers. These exotic plants provide a cascade of colour throughout the summer and will flourish in partial shade and cool, moist conditions. The flowering season is extended by a weekly inspection to remove all dead blooms and seed pods.

The tubers should be started from the end of March or early April. Do not be impatient for the first signs of growth, like bulbs it is important at this stage to encourage the tubers to form a heavy rooting system rather than excessive top growth. It can take up to six weeks before you see any signs of growth.

The begonia roots horizontally, and should not be moved to larger pots too early. The compost should be kept evenly moist. The heaviest rooting takes place in the upper part of the compost, saturated compost will cause the roots to decay.

By mid-May, the tubers should have made sufficient growth and be ready for hardening off. A step by step pictorial guide can be seen by clicking here.

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