Hot chilli peppers and water beds

08 September 2017

The new plantings on the top terrace, the parterre and the daisy border are getting well established and colourful. The weather has done us a few favours here as it was quite warm and dry when we planted, but soon afterwards the weather turned wet and mainly warm so growth has been quite prolific. In the parterre, the colour-themed beds drew a lot of attention on the garden open days, as usual the fire or hot bed proved to be the most popular with its very bright colours, my favourite is the water bed. By planting low-carpeting plants like Pratia pedunculata and Isotoma with their blue flowers it does give the look of a body of water.

A few of the plants in the parterre are termed as half-hardy perennials – this means that they are capable of growing on for more than one season, but they may not if they are killed off by harsh winter weather. In truth, a lot of them are best replaced annually as they can get quite straggly. The best way to get these plants ready to use again for the following year is to start taking cuttings now. This would apply to Arctotis, Argyranthemums and Osteospermum. Take 2–3-inch long terminal cuttings now, having first removed any flower buds, put them in a propagator or cover the pot with a translucent bag and place on a shady window sill. These will root fairly quickly and would either give you strong plants to put out for next year or could be used as mother stock plants for you to take more cuttings from early next year.

The new polytunnel: This has worked very hard this year providing lots of young plants to go out into the tubs hanging baskets and borders here and at Bowhouse and the Kinnuechar Inn. Now we have installed an automatic vent it saves me from worrying about how hot or cold it is over the weekend! It is now being used for cropping tomatoes, cucumbers and chilli peppers – the latter are being very prolific. If anyone would like to try some as I think there are far too many for Toby to handle as they are very hot. It is a variety that I brought here with me called Ricoto, and is also called a tree pepper. Also performing very well are the sweet potatoes, which have grown very rapidly recently and tubers can be seen developing near the soil surface. The vines are now over 2m high and could well be out through the roof soon. The taller they are the better, as when we plant them outside the vine house they have a long way to grow into the house and then up the wires. We have three varieties to plant this time – Madresfield Court, Black Hamburg and Chasseles Rose. With Muscat of Alexandra to follow in a year’s time as I have only just rooted the cuttings taken from Edward Baxter’s vine.

Hopefully the weather will settle down a bit soon and maybe we will now get a bit of an Indian summer, which we deserve. We can then get on with our lawn treatments taking our cuttings and all the other jobs we must fit in. Enjoy your gardening.

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