Blog Archives

Begonia cuttings, diascia cuttings, update

It’s taking a long, long time, but I’m seeing growth on my tuberous begonia cuttings:


I have, of course, taken the update photo (right) with the pot the wrong way round (!) but the cutting on the right (1st pic)/left (2nd pic) is developing a nice new leaf and is looking pretty good. The other cutting hasn’t shown much movement, but it is alive, so there’s hope!

My complete collection of diascia cuttings looks like this:all-diascia-cuttings-august-26th

Reading right to left (since I appear to be doing everything backwards today!) 1. the first batch of 3 cuttings (rose pink), 2. second batch of cuttings (orange),  3. second batch of cuttings (pale pink), 4. third batch of cuttings taken from the first batch (rose pink).

They all look good except the pale pink (number 3) which seem strangely washed-out in comparison to the others – no idea why, I’m afraid! They’ve all had pretty much the same treatment (feeding, watering, location), so perhaps that’s just how they are?

As it’s almost September, I don’t think any of them will be advanced enough to risk putting them into the ground over winter – I’m not even sure the parent plants will survive outdoors, to be honest – so I guess I’ll have some indoors on my windowsills and some out in the cold frame as an experiment to see if they’re hardy enough to stay alive.

Hopefully lots of plants to enjoy for next year, though!


Diascia cuttings – update

Time for another look at these.

Firstly a side-by-side of the original 3 cuttings after being pinched out and now:


It’s taken a while, but they’ve really bushed out. They’re now in a sunny spot at the end of the garden, where they’ll stay as long as they look okay (not wilting).

And this is my second batch of cuttings, first the orange:


…and the pale pink, which I haven’t potted on yet:


All doing very well – not one single failure, so they must take extremely easily!

I can’t say I’ve noticed much preference for rooting/growing on medium either, though possibly the growth has been best with a 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and John Innes #2.

The second batch of cuttings were still in the coldframe this morning, but I’ve now removed the potted on orange-flowered variety to a spot that gets afternoon sun as they should be well enough settled to cope with it now – if they show signs of wilting, I will of course move them.

My third batch of cuttings, which are cuttings off the first cuttings(!), are still in the covered tray in the coldframe. I think they’re rooting, but it seems slower now, possibly because the nights aren’t as warm as they were during the hot spell in July. I guess that tells me that if I want to propagate them without any aids, the earlier in the season I can do it, the better.

Daily ramblings

Things are a-changing in the borders.

The last Hemerocallis “Egyptian Ibis” flower came out today, so with Georgette Belden having finished a couple of days ago, that’s my large-flowered day lilies done for this season.

I still have a couple of buds left on Luxury Lace, and a scattering on Lemon Bells, but they will soon be gone too.

Stella de Oro will keep the hemerocallis flag flying for a while longer, though; it disdains to spend its effort in one glorious, three-week blaze preferring to eke out the display at a much more sedate pace throughout summer. I’ve spotted four or five more flower stalks on their way, so I’ll be enjoying those for a few weeks yet.

I’m also starting to say goodbye to my tree lilies (they are scent-sational while they last!), so it’s a good job that other players will soon be along to fill the stage, including Aster frikartii “Monch”, Aster “Little Pink Beauty” and several of my newly-purchased phloxes and pinks.

I potted on part of my second batch of diascia cuttings today, the unimaginatively named “orange”. I took 7 cuttings and all have rooted, so I’m going to be overrun with diascias before too long! If they grow quickly enough, I suppose there might be a sliver of a chance that they could be planted out in sheltered ground in late summer and left to overwinter, but probably not. I’m somewhat doubtful that even the parent plants will be hardy enough to withstand outdoor UK winter conditions, let alone new young plants with fledgling root systems. I expect I’ll keep some in the coldfame and some indoors – hedging my bets as usual!

My tuberous begonia cuttings, taken a week ago, still look healthy. It’s too early for them to have started rooting, but even knowing that, I still can’t help wanting to give them a gentle tweak in passing, just to be sure, ya know? Patience is not one of my virtues.

I’m continuing to harvest the odd french bean, but the plants are getting seriously devoured by slugs and snails now: if you step outside at night you’re almost deafened by the steady rasping of the little blighters in every corner of the garden. I’ve put some pellets down tonight, but they’ll probably get ignored in favour of my tasty beans. Grrrr…

Daily ramblings

First post for August!

Thought I should do an update on what’s in bloom now:

Geranium “Buxton’s Blue”

Lysimachia punctata (just! the clump in the shadiest, dampest spot seems to have lasted longest)

Lysimachia ephemerum

Knautia macedonica

Clematis jackmanii (still full of bloom and looking a picture)

Lilies, my 3 Oriental Tree varieties

Hemerocallis (Lemon Bells is on its last legs, as is Egyptian Ibis, Georgette Belden and Luxury Lace. Stella de Oro is still throwing up new flower stalks, though!)

Alstroemeria (Sirius is fully in flower, Uranus and Sedna have a couple of flower stalks, Spitfire just opened today, Cahors is still to come)

Ten week stocks

Sun diascias

Phlox (Prospero still in full flower, Giant Elite Purple just starting. Waiting for all the others…)

Nepeta (such a good doer – and the bees love it!)


New Guinea Impatiens

Tuberous begonias

Rose “Flower Carpet”

Rose “New Dawn”

Lots to enjoy, then, along with lots to ponder,  for instance, the difference in flowering periods when a plant is grown in several locations within the same garden.

My Lysimachia punctata grows in three places, and by far the most successful appears to be in an open but shaded spot where it’s been getting a fair bit of water whilst I’m watering other plants. In sunnier spots where the watering has been more infrequent, the plants looked a tad unhappy and stopped flowering a couple of weeks ago. Lesson learnt!

I continue to be impressed by my alstroemeria. They’ve been slow to flower – I guess that has a lot to do with the lateness of spring/summer – but once those blooms are out, they take so long to fade you almost wish they would! I’m not a huge fan of denuding the garden display  to provide flowers for the house, but I have to say that I’m tempted to pull a couple of stalks to see if the vase life is equally good.

My various cuttings all seem to be coming along fine. Probably time I moved on the second batch of diascias  from their shared pots into individual ones, but apart from that, there’s nothing much to do at the moment.

Indoors, my citrus cuttings are still looking good with one or two beginning to show signs of side-shooting from the leaf axils: getting them to root may well prove to have been the easy bit compared to the aftercare required to grow them on!  I’ll have to decide as I go along when to move them to individual pots, what medium to pot them into and when/if to move them to a lighter situation. Get those things wrong and it might still have been an awful lot of waiting for nothing (hope not!)

One last thing: my Phlox “Giant Purple Elite”, which has just started flowering, has turned out to be neither giant nor purple. Had they called it “Magenta Dwarf” they would have been much more on the money…

Daily ramblings

I’ve come to the conclusion that diascias must be the easiest cuttings to strike, certainly at this time of year. I say this because my second batch of cuttings are now side-shooting nicely and it looks like they’ve all taken:


I might have in excess of 20 plants if all of them survive…yikes! Without a greenhouse, overwintering might prove quite the challenge…

My lamium cuttings are coming on well too:


And a side by side comparison with two weeks ago:


They all have obvious new growth, so I decided to move them on into individual pots of a 60:40 mix of JI#2 and sand. The root systems were a bit on the small side, so I hope I haven’t shocked them too much. I watered them in well of course, and put them back into my shaded coldframe to settle, but I’ll have to keep an eye on them and see how they go. I can always cover them again for a while or remove some leaves if it looks like the roots aren’t coping.

I picked my first Castandel french beans today – all 9 of them! I think perhaps I should have grown at least another pot of them because we might be waiting a while for more than a doll-sized helping!

Still, I have to remember that I only grew them as an experiment because the seeds came free with my runner beans: I was never planning to rely on them for all our veg(!) It will be interesting to see how much one small container will yield, and it will be nice to have the occasional meal with home-grown beans…self-sufficiency will have to wait, I’m afraid!

Daily ramblings

Another day, another ramble.

Took some early(ish) photos this morning of my large flowered hemerocallis, Egyptian Ibis (top), and Georgette Belden:


Ibis on its own:


…and a view from the back gate:


Some very pretty flowers, though I’m a little disappointed scent-wise.

I know that when my Madame Alfred Carriere rose and my pot of lilies come into flower there will be perfume to spare, but in the meantime the only thing in the whole garden that has noticeable scent is the phlox. It just seems to have happened that most of what I grow is there because it looks good…and stays alive(!)

Mindful of the fragrance shortfall, I grew a couple of pots of ten week stocks, but they don’t seem to smell of much other than a faint spiciness of an evening. I also ordered some pinks in early June that are now planted out in the border, but they have no flowers, ergo no scent, quite yet. I should give it some thought for next year: nicotiana might be a good idea since that has yielded excellent, almost overpowering scent for me in the past.

Yesterday morning I potted on my diascia cuttings into 9cm pots of a 60:40 mix of JI#2 and sand. I don’t know how this medium will perform – been trying all sorts of different combinations this year – but I guess I’ll soon see! I’ll keep them in the coldframe until the middle of next week (this is Saturday) to let them get over the root disturbance, then move them out into progressively sunnier positions. They have nice little root systems and they look good, but I’ll probably have to pinch them out in a while to get them branching.

On the veg front, I stopped my Sungold tomatoes the other day. They’d reached the top of their 6 foot canes, so I reckoned it was time. Gardener’s Delight still has about a foot or so to go to catch up, so I won’t be stopping that for a while yet. My runner beans (Firestorm) are looking leafy and healthy and there are a few flowers dotted around, but they’re being well and truly beaten by my French beans (Castandel) which have not only flowers but baby beans!

I’m glad the Castandel are doing well now because they had an inauspicious start. I tried germinating them indoors during May (the cold, late spring meant I didn’t attempt to start them outside at that point) and had a terrible success rate in getting them to come up. I eventually managed to raise three seedlings, so in June I hardened them off and planted them in a 14″ pot of multipurpose compost. They didn’t look all that promising, however, so I decided to shove a few beans in with them, one alongside each plant, to see what would happen.

What happened was that they ALL germinated, and quite quickly too, so I shall know not to bother to try and cosset them indoors next year – I’ll just bung ’em straight outdoors! Me being me, I couldn’t bring myself to dump any of them, so I now have a very small pot with a LOT of beans in it – 6 to be precise! It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this rather intensive cultivation: I’ve been feeding once a week with Miracle Gro since they were planted out, and now I’m feeding once a week with Tomorite, so that should help things along.

That’s about it for today. It was a LOT cooler than lately, so I haven’t had to dash out and do a rescue-watering, which made a change! Tomorrow we’ll be out, so I’ll have to make sure I drown everything thoroughly first thing: this proper summer weather has its price!