Apples, alliums and tubers March 18 2015
A big job for today was to prune the apple tree. Lots of people were keen to learn about this and got stuck in, but had to show restraint as they were only allowed to prune one third of it. Overpruning an apple tree can make the tree think it is under attack and go into fight mode, sending out new shoots like crazy so the next pruning session will have to wait until next year. Who remembers the feature on Gardeners World a few years ago when Alys Fowler visited an apple tree that had all sorts of different varieties all grafted onto one tree? That would be so much fun to recreate, but we’ve got a mammoth amount to learn before we can undertake a project like that. Talking of grafting, I’m going to ask next term if we can learn how to graft a tomato onto a potato. You say Pomato, I say Tomtato. Not sure quite what they are called but I love the idea of mutant gardening.
Dahlias are very much a favourite of mine, and indeed a favourite for lots of people who enjoy spending time in the garden. Today, Camilla and I potted some dahlia tubers up, filling half a pot with soil, placing the tubers on top and then covering with soil to the top of the plant pot and covering with a layer of gravel. We potted Dahlia Karma Lagoon and Dahlia Babette, which amazingly sound like some sort of seedy nightclub and its cabaret headliner. I had a look at the dahlia catalogue after class and thoroughly enjoyed discovering that these kitsch sounding names were nothing out of the ordinary. You’ve got Painted Girl, Rip City(!), Rosella and Silver Years as a starter for 10, then newbies to the dahlia scene - Peach Brandy, Stranger and Sweet Love. Whoever is responsible for the naming of Dahlia, I applaud you. Perhaps we will use the dahlia catalogue as inspiration when we name the worms...
We also had to move some alliums from one bed to another. It’s not the ideal time of year to do this as they had already developed leaves, but they needed to be moved so we dug some big holes and carefully placed the alliums into them.
Some of us also did some pricking out, this week it was the turn of Cleome ‘Helen Campbell’, Nicotiana langsdorffii and Malva ‘Mont blanc’, all half hardy annuals which have required heat to germinate and which were sown earlier in the year.
An update… here is the hanging basket that me and Gabs planted up a few weeks ago, looking very vibrant and spring-like. The crocuses that were filling the garden are nearly over now, but hyacinths have popped up everywhere you look!
I won’t be here next week for the last of the Wednesday Gardening Group before the Easter holidays but if all goes according to plan, Gabriella will be doing the honours and posting in my absence!
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