Alstroemerias, or Peruvian lilies,are native to Peru and Chile, and our Tasmanian climateis well suited tothe cultivation of these beautifully marked flowers.
Alstroemerias form into large clumps of upright stems bearingflowers in colours of pink, red, orange, purple, green andwhite that can bestriped, blotched, streaked or flecked with darker colours.
PRINCESS LILY: The Alstroemeria is a stunning addition to any garden but can be quite difficult to propagate.
Although Alstroemerias were introduced into Britain several hundred years ago, they arestill notwidely grown in gardens despite thevast improvements inthe modern cultivars especially compact hybrid varieties that have shortsturdy stems, dense growth andan extremely long flowering period.
Over the years I have wondered why they areoverlooked, and finally found out that they are not the easiest perennial to propagate by division, and when treated this way they invariably die.
Sadly, they are just as difficult to grow from seed.
The bestresults areachieved by planting the seedlings as soon as they can be handled, the smaller the better, into 20cm pots filled with good compost and potting mix in equal parts.
Alstroemerias don’t mind havingtheir roots tangled, so plant six seedlings to a pot.
Once all danger of frosts is overtake the pots out into the garden and plant them up to their rimsin the soil.
The only attention they need is watering during dry weather.
After a few years the pots, especially if you use the thin, cheap versions, will breakup and then can be gently removed leaving behind the Alstroemerias.
The early summer flowersattract birds, andcan be used with great effect to disguise the untidy fading, foliage ofspring bulbs.
Once established they are very difficult to transplantbut despite this fault, no garden should be withoutaclump of these lovely, long lasting lilies.
The right bed preparation is essential for growing a successful crop of eggplants.
EggplantsManygardeners in our cooler areas have practically given up on growing eggplants because of poor yields, but with the right bed preparationits possible to achieve good results.
A member of the nightshade family, eggplants can vary incolours of white to yellow to green as well as the common reddish-purple and dark purple types.
Plant nurseriesstock varieties suited to their district.
This close relative of the tomato needs a warm start, and this means seedlings must be planted into warm soil.
If you have mulch covering the garden bed where the eggplants are to be planted, push itaside so the sun can heat the soil.Cultivate the soil to let the sunpenetrate it.
Adda good handful of blood and bone to each square metre and then dig in plenty of compost or animal manure.
Don’t over water, but give each seedling a pinch of sulphate of potash.As the days become hotter replace the mulch.
Eggplants, sometimes known as aubergines, are a favourite with vegetariansand add a rich smoky flavour to dishes.
DIARYJanuary 7 and 8:The North-West Tasmanian Lilium Society will hold aLilium Show at theBurnie Arts and Function Centrefrom1pmto4pmonSaturday and from10amto4pmonSunday.
January 7 and 8:The Northern Tasmanian Lilium Society will hold it’s annual Lilium Show at St Ailbe’s Hall, Margaret Street, Launceston from 1pm to 5pm onSaturday and from 9.30am to 4pm onSunday.
January 28 and 29:The North-West Lilium Societywill present a Lilium Showat the Latrobe Town Hall from1pmto4pmonSaturday and from10amto4pmonSunday.
Poinsettias are living, flowering Christmas decorations, perfect for the festive table.
The windflower earned its name by its delicate fluttering in the breeze.
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