Monday the 23rd September was the first day of autumn. Most of the plants in my greenhouse are showing early signs of decomposition. With falling temperatures and reduced daylight their leaves are starting to show signs of reduced function. My grafted tomatoes are still growing strong, some of them are 10 feet tall. However, some of the non-grafted plants are well on their way out. Genetics of plants also influences when plants lose their leaves.

The Autumn colour of the leaf (yellow, orange, brown) are chemical pigments in the leaf all year round. When the plant is growing well with good spring summer daylight and warm temperatures, the leaves produce chlorophyll, a green substance which covers the existing pigments making the leaf green. Shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures stop chlorophyll production in the leaf exposing the existing carotenoid and anthocyanin pigments.

As you have probably seen (thanks to Carole and Lee in our marketing team) we have demolished the 2 greenhouses I put up in 1994. These houses played a massive part in our evolution here at Bell Plantation. They were at one point our main shop. They always leaked like sieves, but I suppose if you were a plant that didn’t matter. Our dry goods usually got wet. Our team used to cook – working in them when the temperatures rose to 35 degrees C!! They are being replaced with a steel framed building, built in our usual style. They will house a bigger kitchen for our Café plus extra seats and tables, a soft play area and a new building for Hot Tubs @ Home.

Great to have a bit of rain this week, to lay the dust and soften the ground. Now is the time for bulb planting for colour next February, March.

Have a great weekend

Ashley

Ashley Warren

Ashley Warren has lived and loved horticulture and agriculture all his life; he had his first greenhouse at the age of 10 and his first cow when he was 16. He started landscaping in 1984 mainly in Milton Keynes and then all over the country. He moved to Daventry Road Farmhouse in 1987 and has developed Bell Plantation Garden Centre in Towcester, Northants over the last 30 years.

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