It’s Showtime! With the coming of warmer weather in May the traffic in the walled garden begins to build. Our Hot! border is a showcase for the Greenhouses and needs to be complete by the end of May. There is still a lot to do.

The bulk of the work is planting those tender things that have spent the winter in the greenhouse or cold frame. Cannas, Bananas and Brugmansias are all now well advanced in the greenhouse. The Gingers are very late this year and I want them in the greenhouse for another two weeks. It’s still too early in May to plant Brugs and bananas. Although it’s a bit early for Cannas the weather runes look good. I worry most about the wind. So we’ll be planting Cannas.

You’ll remember that we left several of the Cannas and Gingers in the ground over the winter and these seem to have survived well. (Well mostly, the C. ‘Assaut’ have only a few shoots at present but they are always late breaking dormancy and cause me worry every year!). But we lifted other Cannas to be replaced.

Now we need to plant around 9 ‘Panache’, 12 ‘Graham Wallace’ and threes and fours of ‘Assaut’, Ermine’, ‘Ambassadour’ and C. patens and there is weeding to do first in some of the locations. As there are existing plants shooting all over the bed we are going to need to be very delicate. But Cannas need a relatively large hole. We are potting from 3l containers and the hole should be double or more. Usually, we use a border spade to create a ‘square’ one spit deep then remove the soil with a trowel into a trug. There is plenty of compost to backfill and some organic supplements. We’ll be planting in small formed ‘pits’ to retain moisture and later, mulch. We”ll need to be really tidy and accurate to be able to give the Cannas the best start whilst not damaging surrounding planting.

Planting specimens is a really useful skill for maintaining your border. When planting you’re trying to create a soil environment that the species will love and with room to grow into it. That means providing suitable nourishment, drainage and space. When planting out in a show space we often crowd the plants a little during the first year and then thin out in the second.So, for example, we’ll be thinning the Kniphophia in the autumn. It’ll probably feature in the first month of next year’s course.

Depending on numbers there are also some Lillies to plant out and various patching in current populations as well as laying some bark chips on the rear paths. I’m hoping for a good turnout.It’s going to be a gorgeous day so a hat and some sun screen might be useful.




all need to go out,