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4 messages
06/06/2012 at 20:41

Can anyone advise me what to do with these plants?  I bought 4 small plants on offer  in 3" pots in March.  They were the last leftover in the shop and had flowered for quite some time when bought.  I knew they wouldn't be in flower for much longer but they were so pretty and offered cheaply at that time so I couldn't resist buying and planting them in a bare patch which I made into a tiny makeshift rock section.  I planted them in a mixture of loam, sharp sand and grit.  I then surrounded them with leftover grit and left them to it.  Flowering stopped end of April and each plant remained much as when bought - i.e. no new growth.  TThey are also in partial shade and it looks as if the soil doesn't ever dry.

Now, June 6th, the plants are still tiny, no new growth - but was assuming they are relatively dormant and are supposed to be as they are.  They don't look greatly healthy but I didn't know what to expect after their flowering time is over.

Today I noticed that these round black tubers(?) have pushed up through the grit to the surface and I'm wondering if this is normal.  I'm not sure I planted them in the right conditions and if I ought to be doing somethin!g to rescue them now - if it looks as if they are not going to make it to next year.  Can anyone tell me from these pictures what you think I ought to be doing with them?  The tubers feel solid enough but never having seen them before I'm not sure if I should be re-planting them or if they should even be black!

Advice would be much welcomed.  I hope I'm not going to lose them by having boobed with the planting conditions.  Thanks.

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/8449.jpg?width=340&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/8450.jpg?width=550&height=350&mode=max

 

 

06/06/2012 at 21:59

They are a spring flower and should die back to nothing soon, returning next spring. They will have been planted very shallowly in their pots, but the corms need to have two inches (5 cm) of soil on top of them, so you'll need to re-plant them deeper when the leaves have died back. The conditions that you've planted them in sound fine, although they don't need such sharp drainage.

So, nothing to worry about - you've done nothing wrong.

07/06/2012 at 10:13

Alina W - thanks for that.  Grateful for the advice and will replant at leaf die-back stage. 

Yes - I suppose I did go a bit overboard with the drainage effort!   Beginners knee-jerk reaction to sometimes tricky clay soil conditions and sometimes misinterpretation of the emphasis on 'drainage' in the ever-increasing second-hand gardening book collection.  Being still  lacking in natural 'garden sense', I'm sometimes a bit over-cautious and can end up causing as many problems as I attempt to correct in order not to lose precious plants.

Reading gardening literature with a sometimes over-serious or dilligent attitude can have it's hilarious consequences and that's another fun aspect of being new to something.  I know this is a completely different subject but it neatly illustrates a beginner's psyche.  I put off moving a medium sized shrub for a year thinking I'd kill it if I didn't get it right.  I was so concerned about losing it that I read a lot of seemingly complicated and cautious advice.. THEN - when reading an old Geoff Hamilton book purely for pleasure, I came across a couple of inspiring sentences on the subject of moving a shrub.  I can't remember which book it was so can't quote the exact wording, but he merely said throw a bucket of water over it before you move it and throw another bucket of water over it when you replant it.  Worked perfectly - beginner's angst over in that instance.

It's a great thing for new gardeners to get straightforward advice or hear of other's experiences - and dare I say very calming and confidence-building when little things can get blown out of proportion when we have a less than perfect gardening day.

Sorry for the thinking-aloud digression and drifting off topic.  I imagine new gardeners are as annoying to experienced gardeners in the same way that people who have just stopped smoking become an irritant to their continuing smoking friends.

 

 

 

07/06/2012 at 11:55

Not an irritant at all - it's nice to be reminded of others' uncertainties sometimes. As for the drainage - better over-do it than under-do it in clay soil.

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