Posted in gardener's jottings

Packing up the Garden in a Pot

“If the first of July be rainy weather, It will rain, more of less, for four weeks together.” English Proverb 

The proverb has come true here so far and these rainy summer days have spurred the plants to grow like Billy-O. Wonderful to see but a headache in terms of moving them without incurring too much damage. Some like the giant hostas and exuberant erisymum ‘Bowles Mauve’ have now gone ahead with my daughter whilst at the other end of the extreme, I have several young seedlings of Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka) which will accompany me on departure next Saturday.

transplanted Manuka seedlings

A bit of a side-track now for the seedlings have their own story…I sowed them as memento of my (pre-lockdown) 2020 New Zealand trip but also because I rather rashly had left behind my potted Manuka shrub in London. (Moving ‘the garden in a pot’ from place to place has always meant choosing which shall stay and which must go). Anyway I did the stratification thing of seeds on damp paper and plastic bagged up for 6 weeks or more in the fridge then planted them, paper and all back in March. And just as the impatient gardener was about to give up, seedlings began to sprout in May. They’ve just been transferred to individual pots and so far all 15 have made the move. It almost makes me feel green-fingered!

Those of you who know my future plans for a Japanese style garden might wonder what place Manuka will have there. The answer is there will be part of the garden that transitions between the Orient and the Occident and besides that, it will be more Japanesque than purist but more of that another time.

Meanwhile, this last post on this garden is perforce, a kind of eulogy, taking stock of where I’ve gardened for the past 18 months.

In truth it was love at first sight – a back garden only, bare, gravelled and walled, with an old pantiled outhouse as pottering shed. There was space enough to fit all the potted plants, grow more and still be able to sit amongst them.

a self-seeded poppy sits alongside!

This proximity gave a more intimate relationship with the plants which in turn has enhanced my appreciation of them as living entities rather than garden decor. I’ve spent time documenting each one (‘meet the plants‘) and enjoyed moving them on and off centre-stage as the seasons dictate, rather like successive vaudeville acts.

the magic act of composting worms

But the last word must go to the silent gardeners who throughout have made rich toppings of soil and some liquid manure from shreds of paper and vegetable waste. Just what potted plants need since they cannot forage for their own needs!

Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches” ~anon

I’m feeling both. Au revoir! See you on the other side.


Take a scrolling last stroll through the Garden in a Pot in July

Posted in gardener's jottings

A lot of Maybes this May

In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.
~Robert Brault

The Covid-19 lockdown has continued into this busy growing month of May. Since the outlook for getting to garden centres at the peak of this season already seemed bleak, as well as the likelihood that many plants will have struggled to survive in the weeks of closed businesses, I opted to send off for plug plants.

Firstly, six Oxalis vulcanicola and Nemesia ‘Berries & Cream and last week, forty baby plugs of geranium and equal amounts of verbena (from fuchsiaplugplants; mentioned gratis as I was happy with both products and service).Virtually all survived the transplant into their nursery pots.

On the subject of annuals, here’s an update on the few easy seeds I planted this year from my rather paltry stock. The ‘Tall Mix‘ of Nasturtiums hardly germinated and so I’ve only 3 of these, though together they should make quite an impact in the ‘Odds& Ends‘ square planter. More successful are the blowsy ‘Salmon Baby’ nasturtiums, grouped in a pot of their own. Sadly once again the seedlings of the Dactylicapnos macrocapnos – the Bleeding Heart vine dampened off (as they did last year). And of the 8 ‘Love in a Puff’ seeds I’d collected, three germinated into strong little plants, still being cosseted in the ‘Gro-Zone’ tiered greenhouse.

These annuals are for the trough wall planters which were already here in the garden. I dislike seeing the coconut matting liners and hope these plants will help to hide some of it. Alas I could not get hold of hanging ivy-leafed geraniums which would have done a much better job here.

And to rub in how much I regret not hanging on to plant labels, this succulent brought from my London garden, I’ve still not been able to identify (despite numerous searches). Residing in the hot spot of the ‘Stone Wall’ garden, it is flowering its socks off. Can anyone ID?