In my office today…

14 February 2020

Howling winds and rain splashed windows greeted me this morning as I dragged back the bedroom curtains. More rain! And according to the weather forecaster droning monotonously on the radio, another storm brewing for the weekend. Another storm, another name; ‘Ciara’ (the last storm just a few days ago) sounded a little too exotic; especially for a dull, dank February. Perhaps we should have plumped for ‘Pat’. ‘Pat’ seems more in keeping with a wet, winter weekend.

By midday, however, clear blue skies had lit up both me and the garden. Time for a spot of gardening.

On the agenda this afternoon:
  • Pruning back Cotinus coggygria
  • Sort the greenhouse
  • Pot on pinks propagated last summer
  • Cotinus coggygria:

    My Cotinus plays host to the stunning climbing rose ‘Zepherine Drouhin’. The sugary pink of her heavily scented blooms contrasting perfectly with the dull, wine red foliage of the Cotinus coggygria. Cotinus and rose are due a cut-back having both got a little excitable last summer.

    Cotinus can tolerate hard pruning, which will result in exuberant, lush growth in the growing season; foliage will also be noticeably larger when hard pruned.

    Cotinus coggygria – Before
    Cotinus coggygria – After


    The greenhouse, which is heated to keep temperatures in the black is packed to capacity during winter. Twenty or so overwintering dahlias, zantedeschia, Abyssinian bananas, Lobelia tupa and much more.

    In February, however, things start stirring or need to be jump-started into stirring. Space is desperately needed to accommodate two medium-sized heated propagators which will be crammed full of germinating seeds in a few weeks time.

    Hands black, the greenhouse is cleared of its contents and cleaned from finial to doorstep. A couple of casualties are consigned to the compost bin and the remaining pots re-ordered. Much needed space created, the propagators are placed expectantly on the shelves.

    Let the sowing of seeds commence!

    Brownie points for getting the greenhouse sorted

    Pinks potted on:

    I was bought a stunning cerise pink Dianthus a couple of years ago. It flowers it’s little pop socks off. I wanted more so I took half a dozen or so pipings (Dianthus cuttings). I’m tickled pink because all of them have already filled out quite nicely. Roll on summer.

    Author: Mike the Gardener

    Freelance gardening writer, consultant and designer. Mike Palmer is a passionate and professional plantsman, offering services in garden writing, consultancy and garden design. Mike is also available for garden and plant related talks and presentations. Mike has been a professional horticulturalist for over fifteen years.

    7 thoughts on “In my office today…”

        1. I loved your article on attracting bees. Pity I haven’t seen any labelling in nurseries here. Mind you I haven’t been buying plants dur to the hot dry summer. Thankfully no bushfires near here


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