Wednesday, 24 September 2008

What happens next?

Last year we experimented with some of the collection and moved plants into the polytunnel before the frosts hit, planting them directly into well fertilized soil. This gave them time to recover from the move and start developing roots, and they ticked over quite healthily over the winter, emerging from the soil when the temperatures warmed up sufficiently and we had some splendid foliage growing by the time we planted them outside at the end of May.

A lot of it was tender foliage, which was promptly rubbished by high winds, but if it had been a normal year, whatever that is, it would have hardened of quite nicely.

We are minded to do this to the whole of the collection this year, and to that end we have built a third polytunnel to give us the space necessary to plant 200+ Canna specimens in the ground. The construction of the polytunnel has been a battle of epic proportions, taking 2 months to complete, as so much time was spent dodging heavy rain.

The tunnel is 30' long by 14' wide, and it has net doors, windows and sides, specifically to stop the aphids carrying Canna virus to get access to the treasures contained within.

The new polytunnel waiting for its first winter

I will long remember the feeling of fear as my polythene sheet took of up into the air when a freak gust of wind appeared out of nowhere on a quiet day, and I hung on to it as it thrashed the air fourty feet above me. Luckily my physical build makes me a good anchor, and I was not lifted into the air, but I confess that I was expecting a free flight!

Those little gremlins hide everywhere, and when they see us getting self-congratulatory, they step in and bring us back down to earth, or into the air as the case may be!

However, the effort involved in contructing the tunnel has proven worthwhile and we now are up to date with our jobs at last!

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