Last year I sent for some free carnations from Thompson & Morgan. I potted them up and gradually placed them in the borders. I only put one in the front garden but I'm wishing I had found space for a couple more as this one has really thrived. Carol Klein recommends us to 'treat them mean' and she appears to be right. This one is in relatively poor soil and it's the furthest away from the hosepipe. It has produced over forty tall red flowers and there are still masses of buds ready to open. Some people would have picked the blooms to enjoy them inside but I'm always reluctant to do that as it would 'spoil' the garden! Next year I will have an allotment cutting garden (hopefully!) so it shouldn't be an issue. In the meantime I buy cut flowers. This week I decided on carnations: the florist was charging £4; the supermarket wanted £3.50 and the market trader was asking £2 so he got the sale.
It was a bunch of long stemmed, pure white carnations that needed to be cut to fit into the vase. In the past the trimmings have always gone into the composter ... what a waste! As a child my mother taught me to snip the bottom of each stem just below one of the stem nodes then cut off the bottom 4 inches aiming for just above another stem node if possible. She would dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting powder and stick it in a pot of moist compost up to the bottom of the second node. (She did this immediately so she was sure they weren't planted upside down!) Some people recommend covering the pot in a plastic bag but Mum just left it on the kitchen windowsill which was light but out of the direct glare of the sun. She kept the soil damp and the roots developed within a few weeks. She never had to buy her bunches of carnations!
Am I turning into my Mum???!!!