This week, I have been trying to prick out seedlings of begonia semperflorens and plant them into plastic cells in the greenhouse.
This morning, I had time to do 72 cells.
The plastic cells are quite important because when it comes to planting them out in the garden in mid-May, every seedling will have a perfect root and they will all be the same size.
If planted in trays without cells, the plants around the edges of the trays are normally fine. But the ones in the middle of the tray are fragile and take a while to become established.
This week’s column is about the great lily of the valley – a white flower with the latin name convallaria majalis.
Have you noticed them? Have you got any lily of the valley plants in your garden?
And would you love to see them come into bloom in the comfort of your home and fill the room with their unique perfume?
Choose a pleasant day and try to dodge the April showers.
Find where the lily of the valley plants are growing, take a digging fork and dig out a clump.
The soil will be very wet but you should see loads of roots with white shoots, which look a bit like white medical caplets with a pointed top.
Shake off as much soil as you can and then rinse the roots in water to get rid of the soil.
Next, put the roots and buds into five-inch diameter pots that are filled with potting compost.
It’s easy to do.
Simply half fill the pot with universal potting compost and then plant the roots with the tips of the buds just at the top.
Cover the roots and shoots with the compost and, lastly, give the compost a good drink of water so it can start to grow.
Results will appear quite quickly. They will take roughly five weeks in a cold greenhouse! You will know they’re blooming properly when the shoots appear and the leaves unfold.
But if they are grown indoors in a warm room – on a windowsill is a perfect spot – the leaves will appear in about four weeks and the flowers will appear a couple of weeks later.
However, you must keep the plants cool.
Make sure to water the pot only when the compost feels dry and they will provide flowers for about three weeks.
Trust me – the perfume will be just amazing!
But what do we do once the flowers fade?
Simply cut off the dead flowers with scissors. Retain the beautiful heart-shaped leaves and keep them intact.
Then, replant them into the garden and they will provide great flowers and perfume again in the spring of 2020.
That’s already something to look forward to for next year!
This week’s top tip
A very handy sprayer containing ready-made Roundup weed killer is useful for spraying weeds that are in cracks in pathways at this time of year. Roundup kills all plants so take care it doesn’t drift on to your other plants.