With a Bank Holiday weekend ahead of us and some sunny weather forecast (we’ve been so lucky) I’m sure many of you, like me, are planning time in the garden.
This week resident SE Fitness gardener Kate is looking at:
These stalwarts of the cottage border have seen a surge in popularity following the introduction of the new West Country range (the variety Masterpiece is just gorgeous and I need to buy some!) and their inclusion at Chelsea. Mine are just getting started and are now hopefully big enough to avoid slug and snail damage.
Fairly easy to grow, Lupins prefer a light, neutral to slightly acid soil in sun or dappled shade. They don’t like heavy clay, and don’t add manure to the soil as the roots may rot. Once flowers start to fade, cut them back to the next bud and you should get a second flush of flowers. Seeds won’t come true (ie match their parent) but it can be interesting to give it a go and see what you get. Simply collect the seeds in autumn and sow in early spring, or carefully lift self seedlings from the ground and pot on.
The main problem is slugs and snails, especially when young plants first emerge. Luckily this spring has been so dry there hasn’t been a big issue, but usually I use a variety of measures including nematodes (Nemasys) which you water in, physical barriers such as wool pellets and stones or gravel, and a spray product called Grazers (but you have to be diligent in spraying the whole plant regularly). I have yet to find the ultimate deterrent but this year I’m trying garlic spray. Try this recipe from Bowden Hostas which I got at a show last year. Even if it doesn’t work, you get to have your kitchen smelling like a Mediterranean restaurant for a while, bringing back memories of those lovely summer holidays we are all desperate for!