I sit here waiting for the rain which is soon to deluge us. According to the forecast the north of England could have 200mm over the weekend which seems a bit extreme but I think here in the SE of Ireland we won’t have quite so much. But we have had our share of wind and Friday saw a big drop in temperature. Even so, the insanely warm autumn has been confusing the plants. Until the past two days of wind shredded anything with leaves larger than a moss flowers were holding up well. But there is a strange combination of flowers around. The hellebores, both H. niger and H. hybridus are almost in bloom, joining all the usual autumn and late summer flowers but the oddest is to see apple blossom.
What is rather alarming is that lots of buds on the cordons have sprouted and made growth. It isn’t good that the flower buds, needed for next year’s fruit, are opening but new growth is going to be killed by frost. We will see what happens.
Lots of the bedding has been cleared away but the cannas have been left for now because of the mild temperatures. But they need lifting next week. I will dig them up and keep a lot of soil around the roots and pop them in old compost bags. Stems that have flowered will die so they will be cut off and because they will be kept in a greenhouse with a minimum temperature of 5c any stems with flower buds will also die so those will also be cut back to the base. I will give them a tidy up, removing all dead leaves but I will avoid making any extra cuts, that could lead to rot, and also avoid any damage to new shoots that are still to emerge from the soil surface because these will give me the first shoots next year. I will then keep the plants almost dry but never actually let them dry out. I want to avoid them becoming fully dormant but I do not want to encourage any growth either because, with poor light levels, the new stems will be thin and weak. In late February I will knock of the soil, split the clumps, repot them and put them in the propagator to start them into growth again.