I am in England at the moment tending to our English garden, but due to the wonders of technology I can regale you with my activities in Spain. Because I have been so busy with the garden and other things I just haven’t had time to post any material on this site. I know you will be disappointed and thousands of you are currently standing in your gardens holding your trowel with vacant looks on your faces and waiting for my next instruction, but fear not here we go.
1st November: Things I have been doing lately
😀 Planting bulbs. This is the time for planting bulbs in Spain. A lot of the heat will have gone from the soil and there will be a bit of rain around to help them on their way. I have decided to plant some flag irises that I saved from this year, and to place them in a bald corner of my lawn. The most natural way to plant bulbs is to scatter them and let them fall where they will. The temptation is to start to rearrange them because you don’t like where they have fallen, but this is a mistake and the plants when they grow will look too “staged”.
I did think I would make things easier for myself by using a bulb planter. But save your money, they just bend, especially if you are planting on hardish soil or in my case lawn. Just use your trowel, you don’t need to dig a hole, force your trowel into the soil then push hard one way to open up a gap in the soil and pop yourbulb in at the appropriate depth.
The photos below show my trug of bulbs that I cleaned and stored from last year, the bare corner of the lawn, and my scattered bulbs ready to be planted – but not by the useless bulb planter. Just click on each photo for a larger image.
🌿 Replanting seedlings. As we go into Autumn all of the plants in your border will have set seedlings by now. If you haven’t already taken cuttings or seeds, then this is your last chance to get plants for free. My favourite for this is Margeurites. This daisy which is ubiquitous in Spain has a long flowering season and loves full sun. Not only that you can cut them back after flowering and off they go again.
Now the problem with self set seedlings is that they are clustered around where the mother plant was, and not necessarily where you want them. This means you have to transplant them to where you wish them to be. To be successful in this endeavour there are a few rules:
– Prepare the soil where you intend to plant the seedlings by weeding, feeding and watering.
– Only transplant seedlings either early in the morning, late afternoon or on overcast days. Never attempt to do this in full sun as they will wither before their little roots start working.
– Wait till the seedlings are 7-10cm high before attempting to transplant. If they are too small there rootsystem will not be well enough developed.
The first photo below shows the seedlings where their mummy left them, and where I don’t want them. The second photo shows them transplanted where they will be happy. The canes crossed over the seedlings are to stop rampaging Labradors.
🕷 The answer to the Spiderwort Question. Keen followers of this blog will know that a while ago I engaged in cutting edge scientific experimentation, the results of which are being eagerly awaited by the scientific and gardening communities. The aim of the experiment was to decide what was the best process for propagating Trascedentia (Spiderwort). Was it by taking cuttings and planting them in pots? Was it by planting directly into the soil? Or was it by placing cuttings in a glass of water.
Well, (drum roll) the wait is over. My findings are as follows:
– the cuttings in pots grew the fastest and put on more leaf, but they were planted in compost.
– the cuttings in the soil all survived and are slowly growing.
– the cuttings in a glass of water quickly grew a profusion of spidery fine roots and where easily replanted in pots with just a quick dibber to make a hole.
In effect each method was successful. But my recommendation would be the method to be used should depend on where you intend to place the final plants. If you intend to plant in the soil and your soil is prepared then plant straight out directly. Again if you intend to plant directly in the soil, but you want to make sure of success, then plant first in pots before replanting in the soil. If however you just want to add some bulk to plants that are already in a pot, but which are getting a bit sparse, then you can’t beat the glass of water, it is quick and relatively easy. Make sure you use rainwater and change every week if possible.
I am exhausted after all that experimentation and my white coat needs laundering. My next experiment was going to be the “chicken and the egg”, but my wife won’t let me have a chicken.
The pictures below show the final outcomes of the experiment. Just click on each one for a larger image.