Lift Off
05 July 2014 - by Lizzy Browne

After a slight frost this week which knocked back the coleus and a couple of  Colocasias, we began lifting the Exotic Garden on Friday with the help of the  design students from Easton College.

Although its always sad to dismantle a garden in full bloom its also very  exciting to bring in the harvest. The students began lifting the Cannas. They  had bulked up enormously, (the cannas, not the students) so well have lots of  the more unusual ones available next year like Musifolia and Ehamanii. We simply  put them into pots with very little soil, reduced the height by about 50% and  placed in a frost free greenhouse until early spring when theyll be divided and  re-potted. Thank you Easton College Design Students!

Next were the Ensetes and Colocasias. Again, we left very little soil on  these but placed them in pots, in our newly bubble-wrapped greenhouse where they  were joined later in the day by the Cyperus papyrus and Brugmansias. This  greenhouse will be maintained at between 8 and 10 degrees centigrade but its so  well insulated it hopefully wont cost too much to heat. Weve bought a couple  of thermostatically controlled fan heaters. The fans run continuously, even when  theyve reached the desired temperature. Its very important in the winter to  keep the air moving to prevent mildew rotting the plants.

Because of these heaters, we havent felt it necessary to dry out the Ensetes  by leaving them lying on the floor as weve done in previous years a method  thats always worked for us in the past, apart from last year when it was  exceptionally cold and gloomy and most of them turned to mush.

Despite taking out all these large plants the garden still looks pretty good  with plenty of foliage colour and flowers. Well dig up the Gingers, Dahlias and  Iresene next week and by then it will look pretty sparse.
The newly bubbled  area looks super-tropical and cosy the plants should be happy and Ill  probably spend quite a bit of the winter months keeping them company.

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