After the flood we can tend the flowers again

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Our garden was flooded due to an obstruction downstream and the water was over three feet deep in the centre of the garden and was just starting to creep into the summerhouse.

Pam and I rescued all the furniture from the summerhouse and plonked it into the conservatory.

This may seem to be insignificant, but it brought home to us how dreadful it is when your home is invaded with water.

Our wonderful neighbour Paul came to the rescue by hiring a pump and in just two days the stream in our garden went down to the normal level. I think he calculated 85,000 gallons of water were pumped out!

At the allotment it is interesting to see water is lying on large areas of ground which has not been dug, but there is only a foot of water on the edges of the areas which were dug. I feel sorry for newcomers – huge lakes of water everywhere.

Best advice? Keep off! When the stream started to become a slowly creeping menace, we were going to plant the begonia corms in Pam’s greenhouse. But this job was abandoned as we were trying to put on welly boots to get leaves and twigs out of the torrent and yes, it was hissing down with rain.

As you know I love all kinds of begonias and last autumn the Begonia ‘Non Stop’ were allowed to die down. Naturally, as predicted, they produced a swelling at the base of the stem called a tuber.

Now is the time to start them off again. Half fill a seed tray with peat or the contents of a growing bag and place the tubers on to the top of the compost.

Cover the tops of the tubers with about a quarter-of-an-inch of the medium and water afterwards.

They need to be the right way up. Rounded side down, bowl shape up. If in doubt, look for shrivelled dead stems. These are kept upright.

If you didn’t save your begonia tubers you will see them in boxes or cellophane packs at your garden centre shortly.

Start them off in a warm place in plenty of light and if the temperature is around 60F, shoots will appear in about three weeks.

Once there are a good cluster of leaves, each one can be planted in a three- inch diameter pot into Universal potting compost or John Innes number three compost.

Once the pots are filled with roots, plants into the open garden after mid-May as long as there’s no frost.