I’ve had a busy few days across three garden, what with potting on dozens of flower seedlings on Sunday, the shrub clearance on Monday and hours of watering in our garden, watering and picking vegetables in the school garden and watering a friends patch whilst she was away. I also popped over to the garden centre on Sunday, to pick up some plant food and whilst I was there I had a mooch about which is always easier to do and a much more relaxed experience, when I haven’t got Mud and the Mudlets with me, either wanting to get done asap (Mud) or wanting to see ALL the fish and ALL the dinosaurs AGAIN (the Mudlets). Yes, you really can find moving and noisy dinosaurs in our local garden centre ……. well why wouldn’t you?
Walking round the plant section I spotted the plant sale room and so decided to go try my luck and see what was on offer. The plant sale area does make me shake my head in despair. The sale room reminds me quite strongly of a supermarkets approach to fruit and vegetables and how they should look, in so much as the reason the plants are in the room in the first place, is generally because they aren’t perfect specimens, having grown crooked, fallen over or simply wilted due to lack of water.
Sundays’ browse through the sale offerings was a case in point. Dozens of Lobelia “Queen Victoria“, whose only fault was that the flower spikes which should have been tall and straight with glorious red flowers on top, were in every single case, bent over or trailing along the ground. I get so frustrated when I see sights like this because it is obvious to me that these plants had been left in the storage shelving for far too long, meaning that when the plants had thrown out their spikes, once they had reached the top of their space (bottom of the next shelf), they had nowhere else to go. As a result, the spike had grown sideways reaching for both light and space. The plants were only £1 each and so I chose one with a spike which has curved around one side of the plant and doesn’t look like it has flowered yet. There is also straight new growth on the plant and so for a pound I have found, I believe, a beautiful new addition for the garden which is now sharing a wooden planter, supported by a cane, with my Aubrecia “Purple Cascade” which was grown from seed several years ago.
Next I came across a Campanula “Catharina Compact” whose only imperfection was a wilt and drooping flowers due, as far as I could see, to lack of watering. Again for the princely sum of just £1, I have bought a plant that with a bit of TLC and some watering, will bring colour to our garden for years to come. I have several Campanulas in my garden, mostly grown from seed and indeed, in retrospect I think the unidentified flower from my post last Friday is actually from one of these and so this new one will look quite at home in the garden and is now residing in one of my small blue planters with my final purchase from the sale room.
For 50p, I also bought an Osteospermum “Sunny”. Other than the usual watering and the need for some dead heading, I’m a little perplexed as to why this plant was in the sale room at all. A closer inspection revealed more flower heads forming and so it joined the other plants in my trolley and is now cohabiting with the Campanula, has been watered and dead headed and I look forward to seeing a new show of flowers in due course.
For those of you wondering why it is that the new plants have been planted with glass jars beside them, these are my beer traps which are a wildlife friendly way to deal with slugs and have proved incredibly successful, with each trap containing only an inch deep of beer/lager and yet catching a goodly number of slugs. I’ve been using the dregs from Muds’ larger cans but I’m tempted to buy some really cheap ‘value’ lager from Tesco, for the sole purposes of protecting my plants from the unwanted attentions of these slimy critters.
Happy with my bargain plant purchases, I went into town on Monday with gardening the last thing on my mind. I was on the hunt for a plastic sieve to fish out the grass, leaves, insects and other such detritus from the water in the paddling pool and a new large, plastic jug. My hunt took me to Wilkinsons and as I passed the gardening aisle, I spotted a large notice on the seed display, proclaiming ‘All seeds on this display 10p’. Oooo, that sounded good and so I made a detour and had a nosey. To be honest I thought that for that price, the expiry date would be 2014 which meant buying the seeds for next year would be risky, as previous experience of old seed has been mixed. To my surprise, I found that most of the seed packets were not only in date but had long dates (2015 – 2017) on them!
Vegetables – Parnsip “Palace F1“; Watercress “Aqua“; Cucumber “Marketmore 76“; Sweet Corn “Minipop F1“; Sweetcorn “Bodaciuos rm F1“; Tomato Cherry “Garden Pearl“; and Pepper Sweet “Corno di toro Mixed“.
Flowers – Wild Flowers “Cornfield Mixture“; Cosmos “Ladybird Mixed“; Black Eyed Susan “Sunset Shades“; Calendula “Sunset Buff“; and a box of blue flower seeds for Little Gardeners which was 20p.
Herbs – Dill; and Tarragon “Russian“.
The Calendula, Dill, Watercress and Cucumber will all be sown in the next day or so. I know it’s a bit late for the cucumber but as my current plants are refusing to produce the males needed to set fruit, I am going to risk starting some cucumbers off now and keeping them in the greenhouse to see if they produce anything for me. The cucumber seeds were the only ones with a short date on them and at only 10p per packet of seeds, it’s worth trying to get some fruit, even if it will be late in the year.
So there you have it, a very busy but productive stint in the garden and a load of lovely bargains to enjoy and appreciate …… albeit next year.