At this time of year the greenhouse becomes an essential building in any garden, large or small.Despite having a relatively large garden the greenhouse is not very large. The location is not ideal either as it faces west and has a large wall to the south and east. You may well ask “why did you put it here?” I would say that the main reason was that we did not want to spoil the views down the garden and the only other sensible location was totally shaded by a large old apple tree. Actually the location does have the advantage that it does not get over hot in the middle of summer.
Nevertheless, at this time of year I am always wishing that it was a bit bigger.At the end are Osteospermum cutting that have been over wintered and a bay tree which I bring in to protect it from the winter frosts.
On the left you can see dahlia tubers that have been planted up in potting compost and about two weeks ago received their first watering. I tend to lift all our tubers as we used to get hard frosts which could be fatal for any left in the ground. After drying them off (in an upside down position so that any liquids can flow out) they are then potted up in dry potting compost and kept either in the garage or under the staging in the greenhouse. There is not enough staging so some are started off on the ground.On the right as you enter there are even more! The issue I have is that I always end up with more dahlia plants than I started with and I am always reluctant to throw away anything that could make a good plant. The greenhouse just get fuller!It is amazing how quickly the tubers burst into life. This one is Dahlia Arabian Night a beautiful dahlia with large, fully-double flower-heads of dark burgundy-red.
In a few weeks the dahlias will all have grown to maybe 30 cm high and I will cut out the growing tips to encourage more bushy plants. However they will need to be kept in the greenhouse until the frosts have finished in May. This immediately presents an issue as during this time there are many seed to plant and grow.This is already underway with trays of cosmos and poppies and in the incubator tomatoes and many more exotic flowers. This becomes a huge juggling act and eventually the whole floor will be covered with plants and the scent becomes overpowering. The aconites and Anemone Blanda White Splendour have already been moved out and I described these in Aconites and others spring delights.Two trays that will soon be ready to plant out are Anemone Nemerosa Robinsoniana which I treat in a similar way to the aconites.
There is a very critical timing when the tomatoes need their final potting up and need to be located in their final position in the greenhouse. To do this some of the staging is removed and I just have to hope that we can get the dahlias planted out at that time.
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