THE STORY SO FAR
It is a very long time since I put finger to key pad, and let those who are interested know just how we are coping. Well obliviously we are doing as well as expected, in the circumstances. Now that's a good ol' English, or is it British saying, and I suppose I am getting used to being several people in the same day, and it know longer bothers me, and I could be female as well as male, that is the nature of dementia. My beloved Irene is as sweet now as she ever was, but confusion rules, and you just have to go along with it. On reflection I would say this is the hardest job I've had to tackle, and obviously made that much harder because it is someone I have known and loved for over sixty years. So I find myself unable to carry on in the same old way that this peach of a girl has allowed me to for so many years, and so because the conservatory was perfect for the onslaught of the whole process that propagation entails that was used. Of course I needed to protect everything in the conservatory, but lugging compost and pots of cuttings to accomplish the job was not appreciated these days. So although I was thinking of growing my entire collection under the new covered area there has to be a different way to tackle this. Then an idea lit the whole of my brain, why not use the method the Yanks, sorry Americans, have been using for years, grow everything from split tubers? Mind you there will have to be an eye to every single tuber used. This was still mulling around in my brain a week later, and it would certainly be possible for the reproducing the breeding pool, because only one plant of each was going to be needed, and to make things even easier to manage, I would only have the best five varieties in each group plus the possibility of producing most seed by hand pollination.
I was beginning to think this was going to be a doddle, (means as easy as pie) when Irene calls out, could we go for another ride after dinner. (evening meal) Gritting my teeth I eventually said we could, knowing that half way round she'd have fallen a sleep. The form of dementia Irene has won't allow her to concentrate on all the things she enjoyed doing all her life, such as knitting, dress making, and cooking, but the only thing she had left was ironing. Fortunately she has always loved ironing, and so as soon as the bi-weekly wash is dry I know there's are a few half hours that I can relax in a job in the garden while Irene's busy. Last week she even ask our eldest daughter Pam if she could do some of theirs, and fortunately Pam agreed knowing that this was good therapy.
Getting back to my hobby, and how to still enjoy it's delights without rocking the boat, I knew I would have to cut out producing hundreds of cuttings, and concentrate on just my own stock. Because even increasing the second year seedlings had been to much, even though Nick Gilbert had been more than generous in paying for the cuttings I produced, but this would be more and more impossible the older I become, given the circumstances. So with all this in mind I changed my mind (not only a woman's privilege) and would use the newly built cover area for the largest flowers I grow whether my new seedlings or those from the breeding groups. Let's face it if the smaller groups aren't up to standing the worse weather can produce, they are hardly worth growing.
The breeding groups will be split on lifting, and kept just above freezing point in large polythene boxes filled with Cedar sawdust if I can secure some, failing that ordinary Pine sawdust will have to do. The new seedlings will be split in two, and also place in a suitable medium, and environment. Come the Spring, and that means in the South of England, any time between early March to late April, I'll commence to pot up the breeding groups, and any surplus to my requirements will be given away, or placed in the capable hands of my distributor. Talking of Nick Gilbert do please try and visit his nursery in Romsey if you live in the South, or anywhere else come to that, because you will be rewarded with a grand display at flowering time. I'll keep you posted on any thing else to do with new varieties as and when is convenient.