Salvage op before arrival of winter

Bedding to lift and save
Bedding to lift and save

Autumn salvage operations are well under way in our garden as we wade through the spent growth in search of plants and propagating materials, items that still have lots to give in terms of future blooming pleasure.

Typical of this are the bedding geraniums which have flowered all summer long. They are dug with as much root-ball as possible, cleaned and moved into pots with fresh compost.

The cleaning amounts to removing old leaves and faded blooms, leaving a few stems with buds that will open so readily in the conservatory.

With careful watering and attention to dead-heading, something that could so easily have been discarded will hold our attention until spring arrives.

The fibrous-rooted begonia semperflorens will respond in similar fashion to this treatment but do check the roots first for cream-coloured vine weevil larvae.

Also prune away most of the existing top growth to stimulate vigorous new shoots that will go straight into flowering mode.

Plants rescued in this way need plenty of light and although water is still required, the frequency depends on the environmental temperature.

As a general guide, the mature, potted geraniums in our cold greenhouse can easily go two winter months without water and need a fleece covering to see them through frosts.

In the conservatory, with an overnight temperature minimum of 12 Celsius, watering at two to three-week intervals keeps them in flower.

However, if they’re enjoying a sunlit spot in your living room at 20 Celsius, keep the watering can handy!