How the nursery at the Palmengarten raises 20.000 pansies, forget-me-nots and daisies for the autumn flor
(ffm) Reach into the box with your left hand and gently pluck at the seedling so that it detaches from the soil without damaging its roots. Place three seedlings in each pot, and with a pricking stick in your right hand, gently press down the soil. This is how it has been done for days in the nursery of the Palmengarten. And it will continue for a few more days.
20,000 pansies, forget-me-nots and daisies are currently being raised by the gardeners in the warm house. The process is called pricking out, in which they separate a total of 60,000 seedlings, i.e. with tact and patience they place them from the seed box three at a time into a pot. Two to eight colleagues are busy with this procedure for a good two weeks, planting around 2,000 pots a day. They then place them tightly packed on the metre-long rolling tables of the greenhouse, where within four to five weeks the delicate seedlings become robust, hardy little plants.
Before they even start pricking out, the gardeners sow the seeds in seed trays and leave them to germinate in the cold store at 16 to 18 degrees. "The past few summers have been too warm to put the boxes in the greenhouse. High temperatures make the seeds germinate worse," explains Vanessa Pes López, a gardener in the warm house.
Sow the seeds, let them germinate, prick them out, set them up - and then? "Let's get the pots to final spacing," says Nicole Koehler, Pes López's colleague. Means: All 20,000 vessels are again taken in hand and repositioned on the tables. They will then no longer stand close together, but about ten centimetres apart. Köhler: "So that the plants don't take each other's space and grow in width instead of in height."
In the middle, end of October, when the summer is over and the summer flowers in the Palmengarten have faded, the 20,000 pansies, forget-me-nots and daisies come out into the open. Throughout the winter and into spring, they bloom in the beds along the Tropicarium and at the entrances on Siesmayerstrasse and Palmengartenstrasse.