April 2020

Diary index

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April 4

More digging up and dividing yesterday; it was the turn of some large clumps of giant scabious (Cephalaria gigantea). These have thick, long roots radiating from a woody centre. It is possible to chop up clumps using a sharp spade but I like to dig up the clump, ignoring broken roots, and break off small outer sections and then explore the clump to see where to break it up into bigger pieces. Large clumps can be replanted but I prefer to pot up smaller bits. Rooting can be slow, but they have plenty of food stored in those large roots to tide them over. Whilst digging a clump scout around for seedlings as well - these will need potting up if you want to move them.

We grow 3 species of Cephalaria: as well as the well known gigantea we have the smaller version C.alpina - this doesn't seem to produce any seed at all. C.dipsacoides is very different - more wild looking and dividing clumps is possible but not so successful. Luckily, they seed profusely and the seed germinates well as they fall or in a gritty seed compost.

All are loved by bees and butterflies and are very tough and hardy and withstand drought conditions. Well worth a large space in a sunny garden with reasonable drainage.

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