Monday, 15 March 2010

Welcome to my world. If home is where the heart is, then this must be my kitchen. This is the seedhouse, one of six heated houses where we grow the flowers for the county. ''We'' are the two Fi's, Ped, Ronnie, myself and Chocolate the cat. It takes just over 100,000 plants to fill our parks and streets with colour each spring, so the next few weeks are a race against time. About 95% are raised from seed,  some are cuttings from overwintered stock and the rest are bought in as tiny plugs when  it is more economical to do so. This is because tuberous begonias and geraniums need to be started in January, and the heating costs then would be prohibitive.
In the seedhouse I have the luxury of four thermostatically controlled mats so I can germinate several different varieties at one time. The sowing schedule needs to be carefully considered to allow for differing germination times, temperatures, seed to flower periods and to ensure a reasonably steady flow of seedlings ready to be pricked out into their sixpacks. It's more straightforward than it perhaps sounds, the tricky bit is keeping them in good condition until they're all planted out in June.
So begins another Spring. Antirrhinum first, next lobelia, cineraria, dianthus and aster; these have already germinated and we've pricked out the last two. To-morrow we'll do the antis, and I'll sow ageratum, dahlia and impatiens this week. To watch the houses fill is so satisfying, in a couple of weeks space will grow tight and we'll have to put the hardier specimens outside and keep a very close watch on the sky. Wish me luck!

3 comments:

Edith Hope said...

Dear Isobel, Wellington cannot have been as prepared for Waterloo, and certainly Napoleon was not, as you are for the coming season. Wish you luck? You will be in my thoughts and prayers daily with such a huge responsibility. Whatever you say, this is a totally scientific operation and one of which I am sure you are more than capable.

I have found it hugely interesting to see where you are working and to know of the colleagues who work alongside you. Although I never have pictures, could there in the future be a sneaky one of Chocolate? I love all cats and miss my own, put down before Christmas, very much.

Thank you for such a lovely comment on Fly The Flag to which I have replied. I do so value your continued support. It means a great deal.

The Idiot Gardener said...

That's a proper greenhouse. I'd go nuts in a place like that. In fact, I'd go nuts in anything approaching a glazed building at the moment. I have stuff germinating all over, and I haven't a clue what to do with most of it!

kilbournegrove said...

Wow, I totally forgot what hard work garden season is, now that I have the leisurely life of a floral designer. I do miss it a bit tho!