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Messages - Steve Garvie

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General Meconopsis Forum / Re: Chinese Alpines formerly
« on: December 03, 2017, 11:12:32 PM »
I’ve ordered seed from Bjørnar for the last 3 years. Always been very happy with the quality of his seed. I bought Frit bulbs from August Wu earlier this year through the Chinesealpines online shop - the bulbs were in great condition, the delivery was prompt and my credit card account was not cleaned out!   ;)

Species / Re: Meconopsis integrifolia
« on: June 03, 2017, 09:34:06 PM »
Superb-looking plants!
I have my plants shaded -perhaps I should try full sun. Where do you garden?

Species / Meconopsis delavayi
« on: May 24, 2017, 11:57:57 PM »
Meconopsis delavayi -grown in a plunged deep clay pot in a shaded frame using a free-draining soil mix of peat/composted bark/perlite/baked moler clay granules (cat litter).

Species / Meconopsis pseudointegrifolia
« on: May 22, 2017, 03:00:54 PM »
Meconopsis pseudointegrifolia -The plants I grow under this name are second generation from wild collected seed (from one of the Czech seed collectors). My plants are taller than M.integrifolia but are more gracile and less hairy. The flowers are smaller, open and rather flat-faced coming from short stalks which arise from the leaf axils of a fairly long stem. These plants, though monocarpic do superficially look like a yellow-flowered version of M.baileyi. The winter resting bud is small and lies just below the soil surface. These plants seem to be somewhat more tolerant of winter wet than true M.integrifolia. I'm not sure of the differences between M.pseudointegrifolia and M.sulphurea and it may be that my plants are the latter. Any advice is most welcome. I grow these in a bed distant from my integriolia, with the house and garage separating them.

Species / Meconopsis integrifolia
« on: May 22, 2017, 02:43:37 PM »
Meconopsis integrifolia: A monocarpic species with large almost globular yellow flowers on long stalks arising from a short stem on what is a fairly compact plant. Youngs leaves very hairy. Overwintering crown is large, sits above the soil level and is also quite hairy. Prone to rotting with winter wet and best covered from late autumn (whilst still in green leaf).  The image below is a plant grown from Bjørnar Olsen seed collected in 2014 (germinated Spring 2015).

Species / Meconopsis punicea
« on: May 22, 2017, 10:54:34 AM »
Meconopsis punicea -first flower of the season unfurls.

Does anyone have advice on the best time to cross pollinate this species (I ask this as after flower opening I struggle to obtain good pollen and don't find the stigmas to be particularly receptive)?

Cultivars / Re: Flowering now
« on: May 15, 2017, 04:06:59 PM »
Meconopsis pseudointegrifolia -clearly very different from the integrifolia I grow which is about 2 weeks away from flowering.

Meconopsis racemosa -from Bjørnar Olsen seed.

Finally the drought of this last 4 weeks has come to an end here in West Fife.
This blue umbrella is a self-sown seedling, the probable parent plants (Mec. Lingholm) are still about a week off flowering.

General Meconopsis Forum / Re: Growing in Pots
« on: December 15, 2016, 10:29:41 AM »
Firstly I have to say I am no expert but I think that pot growth is the only way to go in cultivating the smaller and more difficult Meconopsis such as venusta, lancifolia, henricii, delavayi, etc. Except for delavayi these plants tend to be biennial (or flower in their third year) and need to produce a good-sized taproot to survive the first Winter. Once germinated they need to be pricked out carefully and grown on with minimal disruption to growth. I find using a loose mineral mix with plenty of perlite and vermiculite in the seed compost makes transplanting easier and less traumatic. Plastic long tom pots are best for growing on but as these are almost invariably black they heat up quickly in direct sun (leading to cooked roots) so if possible they should be plunged in damp sand. An open-sided shade frame allows plenty of ventilation whilst allowing control of overhead water.

In the past I have found that the main cause of death with these high altitude small monocarpic Mecs is fungal infection and root rot. In nature they live in an environment that is not conducive to good fungal growth and so have little natural resistance to such infections. In a mild, damp lowland garden with rich organic substrates it is fungal/mould heaven and so these wee Mecs barely stand a chance. For this reason I have over the last few years started to use only very mineral-rich mixes when growing these plants in pots. I grow Cypripedium and in the early days the standard advice was to grow these plants in very organic-rich composts with leafmould, composted bark, etc. Losses through rot were common as a result. Nowadays Cyps are grown in pure well-drained mineral mixes and as a result cope much better with the conditions in our gardens. Treating small Mecs the same way seems to be working -I am no longer getting crown/root rot or extensive botrytis on the leaves and have now managed to flower delavayi and henricii whilst lancifolia looks to be on track for flowering in 2017.

The exact content of the substrates is not too important but I use a mix of pumice, silica sand (naturally acidic), perlite and baked moler clay (Tesco low dust lightweight cat litter or the pink bags of Sanicat bought at "Pets at home"). I add a small amount of sphagnum peat or partly decomposed pine needles to "dirty" the mix. This also acts to reduce pH. Some species naturally grow over limestone bedrock and seem to benefit from the additional of some dolomitic lime (rich in magnesium). Using such lean mixes results in very free drainage so the plants tolerate a lot of water. The cat litter holds water well yet results in a high air-filled porosity which reduces the risk of anaerobic conditions and root rot. The downside is that frequent dilute liquid feeds are required with periodic flushing of the substrate to prevent build-up of salts.

I am planning to extend the above "regime" to some other Sino-himalayan plants such as Cremanthodium, Nivalid primulas and Omphalogrammas but only time will tell how successful this might be.

Meconopsis henricii

Seeds and germination issues / Re: Meconopsis delavayi
« on: December 14, 2016, 03:22:42 PM »
I have a plant that produced a single flower this year. It had a good growing season and is now multi-nosed. I also have a couple of "yearlings" which again have had a good growing season.
I've probably now signed their death warrant by stating that!  ;)

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