When I have a new gardening project, I spend a lot of time planning prior to doing anything else. Once I have drawn up a draft plan, I research to find the most appropriate plant/ variety, then ensure that I locate it at a reasonable price before purchasing.
No, hang on, that's what I do in my fantasy life. In my REAL life, I see a plant, I fall instantly in love, a green mist descends, and the little voice in my head urges "Buy it now, quickly, before someone else does". Occasionally there is a (very quiet) little voice, saying, reasonably "Don't buy that plant because you:
a. Don't have room for it
b. Can't give it the conditions it needs
c. Already have a trolley full of plants you don't need"
(Delete as appropriate).
So which voice do I listen to ? The voice of reason, or the voice of the Plantaholic ? No contest !
So, today saw me being uncharacteristically sensible and planting some little workhorses, which don't make my heart go zing, make my mouth water, or my pulse race a little faster. Today, I was planting the right plants for the right places. It was a case of mind over heart. Not that the plants I've acquired aren't good, they are all proven to be reliable. They're just boring!
The bottom section of the garden, where we have our 'orchard' (half a dozen teeny fruit trees!) and wildlife pond, has boundaries which are mainly English natives, like hazel and elder. I don't recall them being planted, they just exist. Although there is very seldom another living soul anywhere near, I do value privacy, particularly when we are sitting down there with a bottle, erm, glass of wine, so, I decided to plant shrubs along the inside of the boundaries, to give privacy, structure and interest in the summer. Who cares about the winter ?
I had been musing on which shrubs to buy for a while, when, I got an email from a company offering bare root shrubs, 10 for £10.00. Come on, a pound each ! What can you buy for a pound ? Not even a loaf of bread. I thought about it with my head, not my heart. All these shrubs are tough, reliable, hardy, reliable, disease resistant, reliable and tolerant of conditions which may be less than perfect.
For the record, I have planted :
Berberis Thunbergii Atropurpurea
I know, I know ... sterling shrubs which will do the job admirably. It's maybe unfair of me to brand them as boring, as I know that when the Philadelphus is filling the air with perfume, or I glimpse the rose pink flowers of the Ribes against the bare branches, it will give me great pleasure. But they don't make my heart beat faster!
I planted them over about two hours, through an afternoon which went from sunny and Spring-like, to horizontal heavy rain from a leaden sky. Like a true gardener, I ignored the rain and carried on planting until I had finished. They all got a good start in what can be a dry, partially shady area. I dug a big hole for each, loosening surrounding soil, to make root growth easier. Bonemeal and lots of compost was added, as was a huge marker cane, so that they do not get cut down in their prime by the mower, later in the year.
Then, muddy, wet and cold, I went to the greenhouse to plant things that DO make the heart beat faster. Bulbs ... exciting bulbs.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have bought 2 Hemerocallis 'Sammy Russell' (red with a yellow centre); various Dahlia tubers including 'Arabian Night' and 'Purple Gem'; 2 Crinum Powellii and 2 Ornithogalums Thyrsoides. I wanted to pot up the hardier bulbs, then keep them in the greenhouse to give them a good start before planting out, later in the year. The dahlia tubers are staying in a dry, frost free place for a good while yet.
I already have a pale pink Crinum which has been in the garden for many years, flowering profusely and reliably every time. It looks very exotic, yet has pulled through our hardest winters unscathed. I have looked for more, over the years, without success. Until now !
A new kid on the block is 'Ornithogalum' - a bulb which gives white flowers from June to October. Anything with a flowering period like that deserves a place in the garden, I think. It looks fantastic on the photo, so I hope it lives up to expectations.
The main problem I have with Ornithogalum is ... the name ! I am determined to memorise it, and have to use the cue of 'Ornithology' to kick start those grey cells !
But the heartbeat escalates every time I look at my Rosa 'garden Party' seedlings ( more about these on So sow ? ). Despite having worries about poor germination after reading a review online, I already have a germination rate of over 75%, and this is only 'Month 1' of a 3 month germination period. Some of the seedlings are already developing their first true leaves.
Exciting ? I need a lie down in a darkened room now !