Sunday, April 17, 2011

April Heatwave

We're never satisfied really. A month ago I was moaning about how cold it had been. Although average minimum temperatures are around 6°C in March, they'd dropped to below freezing at night, and I'd had to put the fleece back on some of the tenderest plants. But then it changed and the temperature rose to more normal figures. And kept on rising.... Only a week or so ago, it rose to 32°C - unheard of in April, which usually has average temperatures of around 18°C as a daytime high. I was watering as if it was mid-August rather than spring, and these little daisies just fainted one lunchtime when I hadn't had time to water in the morning. I have to say I knew just how they felt - I was in much the same state as I wandered around town.

The daisies recovered, despite also falling prey to a nasty attack of powdery mildew. I suspect that some of the spring blooms came and went rather quicker than they might otherwise have done, though. A pity, but the heat has pushed on some of the seedlings. The aubergines are now through, and the tomatoes are begging to be transplanted.

The best show so far this month has come from the wallflowers though. I planted far too many last year, but was looking forward to seeeing them all in bloom together. I'd planted some yellow ones and some browny ones whose seeds I'd collected from last year's plants, and some red ones from a packet. I wanted them mixed in the containers so had mixed the seeds together too. How would they come out? Well, those in the first container were all yellow.

And so were those in the second container. And the second, and the third... I'll spare you the photos of all six containers. Out of about forty plants, every one that's bloomed so far has been yellow, except two which have shown a few browny streaks. Given that my sedum is also in flower, it's been a very yellow month so far....

There are some wallflower plants which haven't yet bloomed - nor even put out buds come to that. Are those the red ones and are they simply a later variety than the yellow ones, or have they just decided they can't be bothered? Time will tell...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oh, so that's what they were...

Last autumn I posted about some mystery plants which had suddenly started coming through in a large container on the front balcony. They were obviously some kind of bulb, but I couldn't for the life of me remember putting anything in there. What were they? Jan suggested "Those ones with the orange flowers, and I said, pseudo-knowledgeably, "Oh you mean Montbretia" - although I realised later that the picture I had in mind (and I suspect that Jan did too) was Crocosmia.

I love Crocosmia, so it was quite likely that I'd planted them. And the long sword-like leaves looked right. So crocosmia they were, I decided. And when the flower buds started to show, I was even more certain - long flower spikes with buds along the stem. They looked as if they were going to bloom around about the same time as the Honesty that was in the same container. Orange and violet - hmm, that would be noticeable.

They're now in bloom - and what have we got? Freesias.

Yellow white and purple ones - which go very nicely with the Honesty. So perhaps I planned it all along. Who knows? I still don't remember planting them. But they're very pretty...

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