Perky poppies

2016-06-15 06:00
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FOR those lucky enough to have water for gardening now is the perfect time to nurture two winter sun-loving plants that will brighten the garden. Poppies and stocks thrive in a cooler climate. Renowned as the Remembrance Day flower, commemorating the fallen from World War I, it's easy to see how poppies with blood-red tissue-like petals became such a symbol. The plants flourish in full winter sun and fertile soil with good drainage. They need protection from strong wind, and try to keep them away from heat reflecting walls and paving as they do not do well in the heat.

Seedlings have very sensitive roots, so try and minimise any disturbance by watering your seedling tray before transplanting to keep the tray soil intact. Once planted, water frequently until they're established and look firmly rooted in the soil.

When removing seedlings from the tray, don't pull their delicate stems or leaves, rather push them out from below. Don't bury the stems when planting, but plant to the depth of the seedling tray, spacing them about 15 cm apart in well composted soil. When buds start forming, boost flower development by applying small amounts of fertiliser and liquid manure to the soil.

Then there are Stocks - their single stems dense with multiple beautiful blooms and their lasting spicy scent has been likened to cloves. Also a full winter sun fiend, seedlings can be planted during autumn and winter, spaced about 30cm apart in well composted soil. Regular watering and feeding will ensure ample flowering rewards. - Bedding Plant Growers Association.

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