Setting up our own ‘Noah’s Ark’

The perpetual spinach is regenerating. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
The perpetual spinach is regenerating. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Refusing to let a brief spell of warmth turn our heads, we’re still in autumn mode.

Staging in the unheated greenhouse holds a selection of potted plants and the border is filled with late flowering chrysanthemums. Vines are beginning to shed their leaves, but not all at once, thus the untidy appearance and need to sort things out.

The potted plant collection is far from hardy so only watering when necessary is the first step in preserving it.

Geraniums, fuchsias, begonias, streptocarpus and plectranthus only stand a chance of surviving winter if protective fleece is used overnight. Streptocarpus have all blooms removed and large leaves reduced. Fuchsia and geraniums are severely pruned so they can be packed together.

To ensure that one of each collection survives, the conservatory is a Noah’s Ark. Selecting the healthiest specimen is important.

A cell tray of 350 polyanthus plugs, bought in September with spring displays in mind, was transferred to pots to advance their development. Now we are running out of bench space. Just as well planting-out time has arrived.

• Alnwick Garden Club meets at Alnwick Garden Pavilion on Tuesday, at 7.30pm. Heather Russell, from Garden Cottage Bolam, is the speaker.