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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton


Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


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Environmental Issues And Going Green.

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Alan J Hartley




Planting Flowers To Cut For The House.

Back in March I jumped the gun and decided to plant the biggest of my old Chrysanthemum stools in my allotment. They had been shooting very well, although many of the smaller, more exotic Chrysanthemums, hadnít come through the Winter. We had been trying to increase the number of varieties and colours by any means that we could and had bought some dwarfed ďPot Mums,Ē the previous year that we had tried to over Winter. You donít see much choice in Chrysanthemums offered for sale in garden centres as young plants, so another way that we tried to gain more types was to buy the occasional bunch of cut flowers and cut some of the stalks off the bottom of the flowers. These were then put into root with some success giving us a few more young plants to grow on. Anyway, back to the subject of the big Chrysanthemums, I had already cut the big stools down once and of course the cuttings had been put in to root, but I needed to make space in the greenhouse for my seed sowing that had started in earnest. 
Consequently 17 of them went up to the allotment and were planted just before we had several nights of hard frost. Fortunately I had the foresight to cover them with 2 layers of fleece which protected them and the fleece was carefully held down by many stones, but what I hadnít expected was the deep snow drifts that covered my plot with up to 2 feet of snow at the beginning of April!!! Amazingly, after the snow had all gone and I plucked up the courage to inspect them, I found they were all fine and none the worse for the bad weather.
Planting the large pots of Gladioli in the allotment also made some more room in my greenhouse. I didnít plant the bulbs directly in the soil, but plunged the pots into the ground, so that they should draw most of their water requirements from the surrounding soil. 

For Mothers day I bought mom a packet of mixed, Alstroemeria bulbs, or perhaps tubers is the right word as they look very like Dahlia tubers. They are also known as Peruvian Tree Lily, or Ligtu as they now seem to be called and will make nice cut flowers for the house. They were already shooting, so I took a chance and planted them in the allotment. The instructions said to avoid frost, so I covered the tender shoots with a layer of bark chippings to protect them.
My Monarda also seem to be none the worse for being buried under the snow and are shooting very well, but my Sweet peas are just sitting there. I thought the bad weather had finished by the time they were planted, but the strong winds and still very cold nights have stopped them from growing at all. On the subject of Sweet Peas, I have found out that there are such things as Perennial sweet peas. Some garden Centres sell them at extortionate prices, but they can be grown from seed. In fact there seems to be quite a range of types offered with some being short and some tall, some being single colours and some mixed. Naturally I went for seed and it germinated fairly easily. For the this year, I have up decided to grow them on in pots before they are planted out as mature plants next year. This will mean that I should never have the trouble of buying, dividing, growing on and planting out, young, Annual, Sweet Peas, ever again. They will be yet another perennial for my permanently planted allotment plot.

Another popular type of flowering plant that I havenít grown before is the Dahlia. Of course there are many types, but I bought a mixture to try them. As per the instructions, I started them off in the greenhouse, out of the frost, until I was reasonably sure that they could go out and then I planted them between the young fruit trees on my new plot. The trees will take a year or two before the roots start to really spread and drain the surrounding soil of goodness, so to make use of the space I am planting between them with things that will be removed at the end of the season, which will also help to keep the weeds down. Perhaps, I will add a few more plants to my plot that will produce cut flowers, as time goes by.

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