National Viola and Pansy Society Newsletter Spring 1997

Cultural Notes.

Spring appears to be set early this year, yesterday (7th March) I picked my first viola bloom - Mrs Chichester. Elizabeth and James Pilling were close contenders, while in the exhibition stock, Catherine Williams and Mina Walker were both budding. I harvested only the one bloom, removing all others to allow a good rootstock to develop.

On the subject of roots and feeding, I have found a useful source of food for pot and container plants. 6X concentrated manure is now available in pellet form. It is odourless and easy to handle and I have used it at the bottom of my pots this year, rather than the bagged variety. I am experimenting with a raised bed this year and, taking the advice of Mr Jackson of Kettleshume, I shall be putting a good layer of 'muck' into the bottom for roots to grow into. Living next to a farm, this is quite easy, I realise that a supply of animal manure outside rural areas is ever more difficult. I can only suggest Morgro 6X as a somewhat expensive, but concentrated alternative.

Pests and diseases, we are led to believe, are no great problem to the pansy or viola. During the hot summer of 1995, Red Spider mite was the biggest problem. Polysect provided the answer and regular use last year kept them at bay. I do not like to use chemicals any more than I have to. So, as a preventative measure, I have regular doses of Maxicrop Seaweed liquid feed to spray the foliage. The plants appear to enjoy the extra feed.

At one time, Roseclear kept mildew at bay, as well as the little brown aphids. Denied this weapon, [ experimented with Murphy's 'Tumblite' and 'Tumblebug' with satisfactory results.

Steve Thompson of Nottingham kindly sent me some 'Broadleaf P4', a water retaining gel, having had some success with it himself. I am going to experiment with it in a few pots. If it reduces the need for watering, it will be very welcome. Watering is not an exact science, but in order to maintain unchecked growth in pot plants, I do have to keep a constant watch. I have found that plants that are allowed to flag respond with a gap in bud production.

Finally, another discovery was made in the Autumn; cuttings can be sent through the post! Colin Andrews, down in Kent very kindly sent me a batch of unrooted cuttings of the bedding variety 'Alwyn'. they arrived fresh, turgid and well wrapped, and rooting was 95%. With this in mind, I could supply cuttings to members who would like to propagate their own plants rather that wait until Spring. If this interests you, then please let me know.


Spring 1997

Secretary's Notes Nursery News Cultural Notes Society News
Bits and Pieces Plant Profiles New Varieties Pansy, Viola and Violetta
My First Show! Thinking of Showing?

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