May, a month of long weekends and long warm evenings; only partially true this year.
The low temperature throughout May has not been conducive to growth. The student plots are at least two weeks behind in growth compared to previous years. Fleece coverings have helped where seedlings and young plants have been transplanted. The exception is the rows of Broad Beans, especially the red flowered cultivar ‘Crimson Flowered’ which is attracting much attention from visitors.
It is the recently planted bedding Geraniums, or Zonal Pelargoniums as they are referred to, that have suffered from the unseasonably cool weather we experienced through the month of May.
As the attached image shows there is a visible purpling to the leaves in all the plants set out in the Palm House border. Compare this with the image of the Geraniums remaining in the cold glasshouse. It illustrates the importance of hardening off prior to planting out allowing the plants to acclimatise to an outdoor situation. These plants, although going through the hardening off process were not prepared for such prolonged low temperatures. June is not starting well with gales from the west.
The real star this week is Heuchera ‘Firebird’. An herbaceous plant that has produced a mass of flower spikes covered in bright red flowers. Planted as a drift to the north of the herbarium, they have lifted this dreary area with their colour.
Geranium Zonal Pelargonium
Geranium Zonal Pelargonium cold damage to foliage