Ten Tatton Top Tips
Ten gardening tips from Gold Medal winners at RHS Show Tatton Park 2011
There was a bumper crop of gold medals at RHS Show Tatton Park 2011, so Horticultural Researcher Clare Savage sought out the best advice from the top! Award winning growers and designers passed on their tips for cut-flowers, cacti, sweet peas, double-potting and more.
One - Rest your cut flowers.
Leader of the Gold medal winning NAFAS team, Pam Fleming-Williams recommends giving cut flowers a good drink overnight before arranging them. Re-cut the stems and place in a bucket of water in a cool place “they like a good sit down and drink, just like we do!”
Two - Double pot container-grown plants
Cath from Cath’s Garden Plants, advises double potting to protect container-grown plants from freezing. Rather than potting up directly into decorative containers, put plants in a slightly smaller plastic pot first. Drop the plastic pot into the container and fill the gap (try for about an inch all round) between the two pots with polystyrene or bubble wrap. Dress with a decorative mulch like bark to hide the gap and your plants should be better protected over winter.
Three - Treat your sweet peas mean
Derek Heathcote, gold medal stand, Eagle Sweet Peas; “The earlier you sow sweet peas the stronger the plants will be and the longer they will last.” October is the best time for germinating seed. To prevent plants getting leggy, grow them in a bright cold frame, they are hardier than you think!
Four - How to remove lily pollen
A great tip from Lorraine Hart, Hart’s Nursery; use sticky tape to remove any lily pollen which has found its way on to you, your clothes, pets or furniture. If you try and wipe it away with your hand, the moisture from your skin will work with the pollen making it incredibly difficult to remove. Simply get a piece of sticky tape and press on the pollen a few times and it should all lift off.
Five - Watering streptocarpus
Rex Dibley, streptocarpus expert, says that the most common mistake with streptocarpus is people over-watering; the roots can’t get the oxygen they need and the plants wilt. Let the plants become almost dry before watering but never completely dry or sitting in water. Also keep the plants in bright light but not exposed to direct sun, they are South African woodland plants which enjoy dappled shade.
Six - Know your bonsai
North of England Bonsai’s Richard Reah recommends that people make sure they know the hardiness of their bonsai tree. Many bonsais are hardy plants and prefer to be outdoors all year round, if treated as houseplants they will die! Vine weevil can also be devastating to bonsais, so treat with a chemical or biological control once a year.
Seven - Get your cacti flowering
Get your cacti flowering with this crucial growing information from Craig House Cacti; Water once a week from March to October and feed every three weeks with a cactus feed. From October to March completely ignore your cacti, even a drop of water during this time will prevent them from flowering.
Eight - How to rejuvenate your Alstromerias
Chris and Linda Tivey from Philip Tivey and Son say, if your alstromerias aren’t flowering then remove the non-flowering stems, just be ruthless and pull them out! Feed with tomato feed throughout the summer and they should flower again.
Nine - Water in the winter
Churchtown Nurseries' Chris Osborne has won Gold for the last 5 years at Tatton and knows a thing or two about restios. “Don't forget to water container grown restios which have been brought in for winter.” They may be put inside or in a glasshouse but they are still growing, so continue with your normal watering regime.
Ten - Know your water, help your orchid
Malcolm White and George Barnes are long serving members of the North of England Orchid Society and won Best Exhibit in National Plant Society Marquee for their orchid display. They pointed out that water quality changes all over the country, so to be on the safe side and give your orchids what they want, only water with rain water. In times of drought use spring water (from the bottle) or mix down any rainwater you may have with a little tap water to make it go further.