Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Fighting the elements

It is a good job that I like watering plants, because although it is only the beginning of June, the start of the Canna growing season in temperate climates, we have already experienced a full seasons weather cycle.

In April, we had a full month of sun shine. The ground was still cold and so it did not bring the Cannas as forward as we would have thought, however, we knew that frosts could still arrive and so we had to hold everything back until we knew that we could take them outside to grow safely. Sure enough, the late frosts arrived. Our precautions were proven sound.

Then May arrived and we suffered a whole month of cold rain, leaving the early growers in a state of confusion. Then, last week we had hail stones pouring down on our newly awoken young plants for 10 minutes, tearing the young foliage like a paper shredder.

There are those that say nothing is happening to our weather, but I don't recall the weather being this unpredictable and changeable half a century ago.

The collection is now planted, except for a few dawdlers who are still under glass trying to hurry them along. The beds of our own named cultivars are planted and starting to fill out with new foliage, but most exciting are the new seedlings for this year. We planted seed later this year, and the results have never been healthier.

I don't think that we will go back again to early seed planting, as we then have to fight the environment with temperature and humidity. We always had some damping off, and suffered up to 10% losses in the seedlings. Starting the planting in April meant that we have had about 10 losses only, about 2%. I believe that within a few weeks we will not be able to detect any difference in size or advancement of these seedlings bursting with vigour, against those germinated in January.

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