Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Glad All Over

Horizontal Glad
The recent much needed rain has caused the usual late summer havoc in my garden, runner beans have fallen over on to the courgettes who must be wondering who turned the lights out, but won't be prevented from growing at a rate of knots even in the dark under the beans. Tall perennials have lurched alarmingly to the side under the weight of both themselves and the additional water, so I will have to set aside some time to go out and resurect some staking and reinforcements as soon as I can. Of course if I had done the job properly in the first place none of this would have happened, - I knew all the time that the first heavy rain would topple those swaying runner bean plants! The wigwam style beans are fine, it's just the ones in a long, insufficiently supported line that are suffering the effects of Gardener's Procrastination Syndrome - or That'll Do For Now, I'll Be Back Later To Finish. Lucky for me that I have about ten times more beans than two normal human beings can be expected to consume, even with the help of willing friends and neighbours. Next year I'll do better, honest I will..

Vertical Glad

The up-side of all the falling over is the unexpected increase in the supply of cut flowers for the house. Fortunately for me most late summer perennials seem to be quite self supporting, things like Rudbeckias, and Heleniums and so on, are rarely affected by bad weather unless it's really extreme, but if you have and of the tall Gladioli they will keel over without support in rain and wind. There are three solutions to this, (four if you count not growing them at all James), you can either be a Proper Gardener like Toby and Alan,(and my son James) and put in support canes early in the season, but see above under Gardener's Procrastination Syndrome. Or you could grow the smaller, more fashionable varieties which require no staking, like Galadiolus nana. Or, like me, you can plant them where you think they will be reasonably protected, hope for the best and use the ones that blow over for the house. I have to point out here  of course, for those of you who have your image to think of, that Glads are deeply deeply unfashionable, and you can only grow them if you're still wearing the same clothes you wore twenty years ago in the hope that they will eventually come back into fashion, or maybe you could grow them ironically, perhaps with three flying ducks on the fence behind them. I'm thinking I could develop this into a whole new style - "The Ironic Gardener", book and TV series to follow.

I only have a few glads, and only white ones, I think the variety is White Prosperity, butI really like them and I think I will get some more for next year. People used to dig up glads after they had flowered, like dahlias, and replant the following spring, but mine have been in the same place for several years and have survived even the hard winter we had last year, so like Dame Edna, and old ladies everywhere they are clearly tougher than they look and will soldier on regardless of whether you like them or not.


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