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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Alan J Hartley



Lots Of Flowers.

On my Allotment I had planted lots more flowery stuff over last winter/spring for mom so that she would have a better selection of cut flowers for the house. Mom is in a nursing home now, but I am still making use of the flowers. As with common allotment practice, I am “making friends,” by giving some of them away! So far, I have had a nice cutting from the Monarda, that have been in for a year, or two now, but I only just cut them in time before the powdery mildew struck them again. This seems to be a regular problem for them in the same way that Blight is for Potatoes. I have tried putting a lot of homemade compost round them to improve moisture retention and I don’t know if it is wishful thinking, but the problem seems a little less this year. With this in mind and the fact that my flower patch is getting established now with a few other permanent plantings, I am going to start mulching round the plants with bark chippings as I do with the fruit bushes.

The Alstroemerias that I planted early, at the start of the season, have given a few nice bright sprays and I have started cutting Gladiola spikes that I regularly grow and that grow easily. The Alstroemerias should be able to stay in the ground getting a bigger clump each year, but I always dig up the Gladiola and store them dry, over Winter in the Greenhouse at home. Added to the range of flowering plants on my Allotment for cutting are some Liatris and a Stokesia plant. Both are putting on quite a show and good for cutting. A few Nerines should follow on from them. At home I planted a few Asters in the garden that are also nice for cutting and that I grew from seed a little earlier in the year. They seen very quick to mature as they are supposed to be perennials and many perennials need two years to mature before they will flower.

Not strictly speaking flowers, are Teasels that I have grown from seed in the garden at home. Actually, I haven’t really grown them as they are self-sets from previous years. I suppose they are a type of thistle, or at least that is what they look like only much taller and more imposing. They will grow happily in a sheltered garden, but otherwise they do need a little support against the wind and to keep them growing straight up. Teasels, or Dipsacus Fullonem, are ideal for drying and using in dried flower arrangements for the winter when no fresh flowers are available. Sown in the new-year they only make small plants in the first year and as do other Biennials, they explode into growth the second year.
Honesty, or Lunaria Annua is another Biennial that is also lovely for dried flower arranging with its silvery inner seed case that is exposed when the outer layer is gently rubbed off. Like the Teasels they naturalises quite easily with self-sets if the weeding is not too thorough. An Autumn sowing though should give flowers for the next Spring and Summer. 

My Chrysanthemums “Stools,” were planted out very early in the Spring this year and that gave them a flying start which has meant that I have been cutting flowers for a week, or two, already, whereas Oak Tree’s, that were young rooted cuttings, are only just budding up. I did lose a few of the plants that had been under a fleece for the Winter and those that survived were slower to start into growth than those that had been in the Cold Frame.

This year I haven’t tried Dahlias again as I feel they really need to be watered, although some Allotment holders do grow them. I definitely had the wrong varieties for cutting the other year and the tubers always seem so expensive. Nor have I grown Sweet Peas again this year as I never mastered the art of getting long stems on the flowers and I never used to cut them enough to stop them from going to seed. I did not got anywhere with the perennial varieties that I bought either, but while looking out for cheap perennial seeds, I saw some packets of seed that had been reduced, so I am going to persevere and try to raise some of my own. Sweet Peas always seem to smell so nice when so many flowers have lost their scent.

It may sound odd coming from a man, but I do like fresh flowers in the house, so the flower patch on my Allotment will probably still get added to as the years go by.


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