Spring juggling and molly coddling
Its been a rather unpredictable week but today it has felt a little bit like spring. Time to think about creating space in the greenhouses in order to get some serious seed sowing done.
greenhouses have been choc a block with tender plants over the winter and so decisions have been made as to what can go out into temporary storage in the apple grading barn (left over from when Ulting Wick was a fruit farm). The barn has double doors that we can open so light can flood in plus a couple of windows. Out came the sack barrow and into the barn have gone about 15 Ensete maurelii (known as “Henrys” here – the reason why would be a whole blog on its own), 5 Musa basjoo and about 12 Nicotiana glauca. All are very tall and the huge paddle shaped leaves of the ensetes were shading quite a few other plants in the small greenhouse so by removing them we have let in precious light.
We have been experimenting with the nicotiana. New to us a couple of years ago after a visit to Graham at Plantbase near Wadhurst (www.plantbase.co.uk), we fell in love with them and marveled at their typical nicotiana exuberant growth but wonderfully subtle yellow flowers and glaucous foliage.
A native of Crete where they are invasive, they have been somewhat molly coddled here. They can take some frost but we didn’t want to risk loosing them. Some were left in the ground in a very sheltered spot in front of one of the black Essex barns and then cut down. Time will tell if they are OK. Others were planted in pots last summer and left up against the garden shed wall. They are very happy.
Others were lifted from the Old Farmyard beds last year and then potted up and put in the greenhouse. We have saved them as we plan to plant them in a group in the middle of one of the beds. A forest of nicotiana would be rather special. I hope later in the year to share a picture of the forest. Meanwhile now that we have some spare space in the greenhouse we will be sowing some seed gathered from them as an insurance policy.