Diary - June 2006
It seems to be almost impossible to find time to provide enough water for the plants during this heatwave. Plants in small pots are bone dry again the day after watering. All the plants seem to benefit from overhead spraying to cool them down. I have always used green netting to shade the greenhouse during the hottest weather but neither of us are getting any younger and I am not as nimble as I was when it comes to climbing up and down ladders! At the beginning of the really hot weather I decided to paint white shading on the roof of the greenhouse. I don’t think this is ideal as it provides too much shade on cloudy days but it has been a lifesaver to many of my plants this year. A few Lithops that were not shaded have been absolutely roasted so that they finished up completely shrivelled and dead. This, despite the fact that all the doors and windows in the greenhouse were open and there was a fan running all day to keep the air circulating.
Despite all their tribulations the plants have continued to flower splendidly. I have a very old Mammillaria guelzowiana which has about ten offsets. I was told some years ago that this sometimes happens before it dies! However it has not died yet and this year it produced its huge flowers on most of its many heads. It was a real joy. My old Echinocereus pectinatus which has branched at the top to produce three heads had four flowers on each head – that also was pretty spectacular.
I wonder if all your cuttings of the black Aeonium have rooted well and are growing. Between Succulent enthusiasts and Gardening club members I must have given away about fifty or sixty cuttings this year and yet I seem to have more of these plants than ever. I suppose it is because every time I give away a cutting the stump that is left behind sends out lots of new shoots. At this rate of going I will soon have enough to supply garden centres and we will be seeing black Aeoniums gracing gardens all over Wiltshire. They do look great in a large pot with half a dozen Echevaria glauca around the edges. The pale Echevaria with their bright flowers really set off the shiny darkness of the Aeonium.
Must get back to doing more watering!!!
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