Tens – possibly hundreds – of seedlings were feared lost in a tragic mudslide caused by the collapse of a stand holding a number of seed trays. The flower seedlings had previously suffered slug damage, and in an effort to prevent further losses to the slime menace, four trays of seedlings had been placed on top of the kneeler.
Tragically, overnight, the kneeler keeled over jettisoning its load, leaving a pile of potting compost and seed trays on the floor of the greenhouse. Dawn broke to reveal a scene from a disaster movie with seedlings strewn across the floor. Some were broken, some still rooted, but with unknown numbers buried beneath the damp soil.
Investigators quickly established the cause of the disaster: there was no need for black boxes or forensics here. Instead the rescue mission started immediately with seedlings being carefully picked from the surface and transplanted to waiting pots of compost. One tray of Rudbeckia (Marmalade) had remained mostly intact so most were saved. The big losses were in the Ammi Visnaga and Majus and the California Poppies. The germination for these had been slow, so any seedlings were very small and less likely to survive the major trauma of air crash followed by landslide.
Over the following days rescuers managed to pot on many of the survivors, and a fortnight later many are recovering well. One outcome of the seedlings being so mixed has led to mystery over what seedling is which. So planting plans for the season have been changed from swathes of individual Ammi, Poppies and Zinnias to what is more likely to be a small groups of mixed annuals.
A small service of remembrance was held as the remaining seed tray soil was placed on the compost heap to be recycled. Before the hen scratched the lot over looking for bugs.