• Kay

Second flush


Today was another good gardening day. I am on a mission to get a bit more ‘ship-shape’ in the Kitchen garden because next week is August Bank Holiday, which would have been our NGS Open Day. We have been producing a video on Open Days, giving a virtual tour of the garden because at the moment, we are not opening to the public and I would like the garden to be tidier. Also, I have had a spell of not being outside so much because of the heat wave and then the periods of torrential rain, which has resulted in a weed explosion!

I start by weeding the next bed along from where I was working yesterday, in order to plant out the remaining dwarf French beans (41 plants). Aideen comes out to join me, I think she is feeling guilty about cutting so many flowers to press and dry. She says that if she does a lot of dead heading that will promote more flower production to replace the ones she is removing. She then decides to help me weed which is brilliant and by the end of the day, the onion/bean quarter and quite a lot of the brassica quarter are looking a lot more respectable.

One thing that I notice in particular today are perennial plants that are giving a second flush of flowers after being cut back. I probably noticed this because Aideen cut off all of the beautiful sky blue Flax flowers (with permission from me) because she knows the flowers only last for a day and there will be another lot opening tomorrow. The flax is an example of the second flush phenomenon, it first blooms in early summer and when it finished I cut it right back. Now we have plenty of fresh new growth and new beautiful flowers. Another plant that grows in the same beds as the flax and demonstrates the same properties, is the Fever Few with its attractive little white pompom flowers. These were cut back with the flax and are also flowering again.

This year was the first time I treated delphiniums in this manner and most of them have now produced mounds of fresh green foliage. I do not know if they will bloom again for a second time but even if they don’t, the fresh green leaves look much better than a clump of dead/brown leaves and stalks. I am very enthusiastic about this second flush syndrome as I am about self-seeding. In the early days, when I first started growing vegetables I would have been bothered when potatoes popped up in the wrong quarters of the vegetable garden interfering with my rotation system because of tubers being left in from the previous year. Now I am just grateful for the extra crops. The same happens with parsnips, chard, salsify and coriander. At the moment, I have a stray pumpkin plant that has appeared in the middle of a dahlia bed (probably from a seed in the compost) I haven’t had the heart to remove it and it is now snaking out of the bed and over the box hedge! I am just curious about what variety it will turn out to be.

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