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Little Success With Flowers.

Last year I said that I was going to make more of an effort to grow cut flowers on my Allotment and I did, but had some failures. My Monarda, or Bergamot put on a lot of growth before suddenly succumbing to powdery Mildew. The flower heads developed nicely and then conditions became unsuitable for the plants and they sickened. I had added a lovely, named, deep red plant to the grouping, so was very disappointed. After reading a little about them I found that they like damp conditions and consequently I have added a thick mulch of well rotted compost all round them in an effort to make the free draining soil hold the moisture better. Maybe the plants will come clean next year, or perhaps I will need to use an application of a suitable spray as well. I suppose I should replant elsewhere with clean plants, but I am reluctant to throw away otherwise big, healthy plants.

Normally I grow annual Sweet Peas every year and do well with them, although I usually fail to cut them regularly enough resulting in them going to seed and stopping flower production far too early. This year I had some seedlings of the Perennial type that I was going to grow instead to save replanting each year. However, the seedlings were a little bit neglected in my cold frame at home and rotted off. In an attempt to replace them I bought an expensive pot full of more mature plants from a garden centre and put those at the edge of a Currant bed at home, but those didnít do very well either and are barely hanging on. I will dig them up at the start of the new season though, and see if they do any better on the Allotment.

Even my batch of bigger and older Chrysanthemum plants did not do so good this year either. One or two didnít get going after planting and just rotted off leaving spaces in the row. However, with the added planting of a similar sized row of new Chrysanthemum plants elsewhere on my plot, I managed to cut a lot of flowers as usual. The new row consisted of plants that had been grown on from small pots of ďPot Mums,Ē that had been bought last year as instant flowers for the house. It is quite possible that some were not really suitable for growing outside without protection, because of late flowering times, or whatever, but with the very late and mild Autumn I was lucky as they all flowered before the weather changed and damaged them. Some would probably have been better grown under cover in a Poly Tunnel, or the like, but for the price and the added colour variations, I was not disappointed with them. The whole row of young plants has now been weeded, cut back, tidied up and covered with Fleece ready for the Winter. I am hoping that they will come through it all right where they are without bringing them in as the soil where they are planted is free draining and it is the wet that kills them more than the cold. Last year I managed to keep some under Fleece outside and they were OK, so they should be alright again. The bigger Chrysanthemum stools will be dug up and stored in my new cold Frame over Winter, because they are going to be replanted in a different place next season anyway.

After seeing one of the T.V. gardeners growing bed after bed of cut flowers this season, I am going to redouble my efforts to grow a wider range of plants that are suitable for cutting. I still favour plants that are perennials and are therefore permanent plantings that will not need to be re-sown, pricked out and grown on every year. I had tried establishing a few bulbs of Alstromoeria, or Peruvian Lilies, that failed, but now have several pot grown clumps that I will find a little spot for. In addition I have a large Stokesia that I bought ready grown as well as some Gailardia that I grew from seed. These plants should all go in my plot where the row of large Chrysanthemums have been removed. It doesnít do to keep replanting the same spot each year with the same plants and the Chrysanthemums have been grown in the same spot for 3 years now, so it is time for a change. Of course this doesnít apply to perennials plants that are left in the ground all the time, although most people forget to feed such plants and they often gradually deteriorate.
With the addition of a few more suitably selected, flowering perennials, I should be able to keep mum well supplied with a bigger range of fresh flowers over a longer period next year.

 

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