DIVIDE AND CONQUER PRIMROSESPrimroses and polyanthus that flowered last spring need to be split.

Though fully perennial, the plants will flower more freely if divided now. Dig out mature clumps and shake off the surplus soil. That will expose the bunched rhizomes — thick, part-­submerged horizontal stems.At the end of each rhizome, you’ll find a little rosette of young leaves with roots developing below.

Those are the bits that matter. Use a knife to cut through the rhizome to release that end rosette. Select the best of those, making sure each removed section has healthy leaves or leaf-buds and a few roots.  Primroses and polyanthus that flowered last spring need to be split.

Though fully perennial, the plants will flower more freely if divided now (stock image)Select as many as you want to save and replant them. They will settle quickly and mature over the coming weeks. Next spring, they’ll flower profusely.

For best results grow your primroses or slot online polyanthus in rich, deep soil which stays moist. If there’s a dry spell, keep newly planted primulas well watered. When dividing, don’t keep the aged centres of the plants. Those have no value.

Cowslips, oxlips and auriculas are good for autumn splitting, too.  RELATED ARTICLES Share this article Share If you grow wild cowslips, oxlips or the pale yellow wild primroses, those can also be divided and replanted. But they grow readily from seed as well, so look out for self-sown plants, often not far from the parents. SOW AHEAD FOR FRESH VEGWith increasingly mild winters, it’s worth gambling on peas and broad beans.

You can sow both for early summer crops. They could produce new-season veg ahead of everything else. Choose tough varieties and sow in a sunny position with free-draining soil. Good varieties include Super Aquadulce beans and Douce Provence peas.
Other autumn-sown crops include rocket and chard.   With increasingly mild winters, it’s worth gambling on peas and broad beans.

They could produce new-season veg ahead of everything else (stock image)Those will provide fresh, tasty young leaves when summer vegetables are scarce. If you haven’t yet planted spring cabbages, do that now. Those could be ready for cutting from May, helping to bridge the ‘hungry gap’. A READER’S QUESTION… Tired indoor cyclamen were left in my greenhouse last March.

They must have shed seed as three plants have appeared in the staging’s pea gravel. Are they worth keeping? Mr C. Burgess, via email. Absolutely.
Pot them in peat-free compost with sharp grit to help draining. They’ll have tubers, so handle them carefully and barely cover each one.Keep them frost-free in your greenhouse in full light with moist compost.

The first buds could appear after Christmas. Your plants’ forebears, wild Cyclamen persicum, are native to the MiddleEast, and the flowers can be fragrant.PLANT OF THE WEEK: STERNBERGIA LUTEA  Walking through our village last week, I thought I’d spotted a daffodil. But though it was the right yellow, the flower was crocus-shaped and surrounded by dark green leaves.

It was Sternbergia lutea, an autumn-flowering member of the daffodil family.  Sternbergia lutea (pictured) is an Afghanistan native autumn-flowering member of the daffodil family and prefers a warm climate with plenty of sunTo thrive, this Afghanistan native prefers a warm climate with plenty of sun. The one I saw was cosily tucked into the base of a south-facing hawthorn hedge. Well-drained soil is essential for the bulbs, which need a year or so to settle.

If they’re happy where they grow, they soon develop free-flowering clumps. Then, the daffodil yellow blooms really do provide a foretaste of spring.VALUABLE WINDFALLSWindfall apples and pears are a mixed blessing.

After heavy crops, your ground may be littered with fruits. Some will be suitable for eating and may last a short time. But windfalls are vital for wildlife as butterflies and bees value the juice.
Blackbirds will also tuck into the fruit, as will slugs and snails. If the birds miss them, hedgehogs will find them. So if you can’t bear seeing fruit on your lawn, kick it under shrubs so wildlife can feast on it. 

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