Quick update

My posts are like buses!  Nothing for ages, then they all come along at once lol.

Just had a couple of mins to add in some of the stuff I forgot yesterday.

The hydrangea at the side of the patio is looking wonderful this year – absolutely covered with pink blossom (again, there will be pics – please be patient dear reader). The blooms aren’t huge, but they are prolific.

The pierris is looking great. It’s in a pretty large pot and I don’t think there’s any way I could repot it – even if I could afford a larger one – but it seems to be doing fine. Looked a bit bedraggled with dead bits a couple of months ago but I’ve fed it an it’s covered in new shoots.

My largest hebe is just coming into bloom and is looking good. But the two new ones I bought that have a darker leaf with a hint of pink, somehow don’t look wonderful.  One I had from a winter basket but I only realised it was a hebe when I bought another one that was labelled. Shan’t bother again with those.

I have some trailing begonia that I bought from Homebase for £2 for a pack of 6. Gave away 2 and one filled a space vacated by a dead petunia in a hanging basket. The other 3 I planted in a planter. I think they’ll soon look lovely, even though I was very late planting them out.

My 2 clematis continue to struggle – I don’t think they really thrive in pots. Unfortunately the beautiful Jackmanii in the front hedge was cut down when the hedge was hacked back for the new fence. Of course it may reappear next year if it was cut off at ground level but in any case I’ll probably plant another one or two. I miss it’s beautiful purple blooms tumbling through the trees on to the verge.

I’ve bought a new tree surgery book. Looks really good and I’ll report back next time when I’ve managed to read some of it and evaluate its worth.

Ok this was a quick update – need to finish feeding my precious pots!

Back soon…

July in the flower pot garden

It’s July now – where has the time gone and why haven’t I updated the blog?

Well we’ve had some tree surgery done by some very professional guys, Checkatrade tree surgeons in Horsham, who cut back some dead branches and removed an old apple tree and three other misplaced trees. This has left more room for planting and even a space where I can put some large tubs!

Meanwhile all the flowers are coming along well, although they seem to be later this year. At last we have some nice sunny weather over the last couple of weeks so everything is starting to look better.

Remember that geranium I bought for £3?  It’s huge and has at least 12 clusters of buds. It’s going to be magnificent and I’m hoping it’ll look good for our annual barbecue next week.  I’ll post some photos soon – I’m just not very good at getting them from the phone to the computer so I can upload them on to the blog!

I’m determined to plant things that deer don’t like next year. Now that the apples are ripening they’re attracted into the garden even more. They’ve eaten petunias and begonias at the front of the house and I’m hoping they don’t come to the back patios because it’s like a luxury all-you-can-eat buffet at the moment.

They actually pull the petunias out by the roots in most cases. They haven’t touched the fuschias yet – but I know from experience that they’re waiting for the delicious flowers to open before they’re tempted.

We have a lot of deer around this year, including a mum and baby. They’re becoming so unafraid of humans that I can stand outside by the fence and yell at them only 20 feet away and they simply stare. Foxes are the same – why are the local wildlife changing so much?  They used to be terrified of humans.

My hanging basked of million bells, which was a birthday present, was absolutely beautiful, but it’s gone through a weird patch and now looks about 1/3 dead. Just all over looking less healthy, though I’ve kept it watered and fed. Shame because it was beautiful.

The agapanthus has 6 blooms this year which are just starting to open. It’s such a pretty plant. Last year I think it had 11 or 13, but maybe this is an off year. The blooms don’t look as large either.

Meanwhile the old apple tree is laden with fruit. Usually the birds, wasps, squirrels and deer polish off the lot before they’re even ripe. Luckily they’re not very nice so I don’t usually mind. I think it’s Beauty of Bath and they’re a bit mushy for my liking. However, I now have a juicer (in an attempt to lose weight!) so I thought I could make apple juice for the barbecue. It’ll probably be sour so I’ll have to add some sweeter fruit, but might make a change from all the manufactured, sugar-rich rubbish.

I’ll be reporting back after the bbq, or maybe even before if I get 10 minutes. I really need to discipline myself or the blog will be pointless 🙂

Easter 2017

Who would have thought spring 2017 would have come around so fast?

I’ve been remiss. All winter I’ve been working on my new business so I’ve had to spend a lot of time setting up everything.  And what a headache it has all been.

First was sorting out  all my bills. I started off with the gas and electricity and was fortunate to be introduced to a very nice lady from the Utility Warehouse.  I say lucky because she also took care of my new mobile phone and sorted out my broadband problems. So that was a load off my mind.

Next was insurances, including my life assurance which needed looking at. Then on to all the other things that clutter our lives. I sorted all my ISAs and other financial goings on so everything is ship-shape now.

I wanted to have everything cleared so I could concentrate on business. And since you ask, it’s going very well!  I’m enjoying working from home because it gives me more free time. No more commute, which was wasting over 2 hours a day, so now the lighter evenings are here I can spend more time on the garden and back to the original theme of my blog.

We’ve had a few sunny days so I’ve been able to clear out the patio, sweep all the autum leaves from under the tables and have a general clear out. I’m not too good at tidying up in the autumn, so it has to be done in the spring.

I’ve moved all the tender plants out from their protected spots near the house, so I’m hoping we don’t have a late frost. Everything has been watered as we’re not getting much rain and I’m hoping some stuff will have survived from last year.

So far the agapanthus is looking good, sprouting lots of healthy-looking leaves so I’m hoping it will grow well. There’s another shrub that seems to be thriving. Only trouble is that I have no idea what it is. I think it’s a cutting I took from a bush in the village, but unfortunately I don’t know what it is. However, I plan to plant it on the bank and hopefully it’ll grow well.

The hydrangeas are in leaf bud and looking healthy and the clematis are looking very good, as are the camelias, which are in full bloom. They’re not in pots though.

I have a lot of pots and hanging baskets that contained geraniums. They were all wrapped in bubble wrap and placed against the house, but they aren’t looking very happy 🙁  Nothing sprouting as yet but I’ll keep them watered and hope for the best.

The rose I have in a lovely blue pot is doing very well with lots of new growth and it looks very healthy indeed. Result – because I’m hopeless with roses for some reason.

Everything else has been watered and we’ll just have to wait to see what happens. It’s still very early of course so I’ll wait with bated breath to see whether any of the fuscias survive.


Getting some bargains

Plants can be pretty expensive so I’m always on the lookout for some bargains to supplement my planting.

I’ve found that if you regularly visit some of the DIY stores, they frequently have plants reduced. I think it’s because they don’t have the expertise and resources to look after them as well as garden centres. You’ll get to know when your local stores have the best bargains and can sneak in before everyone else.

Just this morning I popped into a store to see whether they had anything on sale. It was 8.30 and raining, so I was the only one there on the hunt!

And it paid off because there were lots of plants that weren’t at their best but with a little love and care could be resuscitated. Of course you have to be pretty choosy because some of them aren’t worth having, but if you hunt through you’ll probably find some bargains.

This morning I found a lovely large pot of geraniums (perargoniums) for just £3 – I think they were originally £8. I brought them home, repotted in a large patio container and watered well. Tomorrow I’ll feed them. They make a lovely pot that will be full of colour in a couple of weeks.

I also found a pack of 6 trailing begonias. You need to be choosy because some of these packs have only 2 or 3 plants still alive. I think what happens is that they water plants on shelves and the ones at the back don’t get any water. So sift through until you find packs that have 5 or 6 healthy plants. They may be a bit pot-bound but that won’t matter if they’re healthy. I only paid £1 for those 6 plants, which will fill 2 hanging baskets with colour for the entire summer.

I found a lovely small hebe, not the common type but one that looks a bit more interesting. I’ve repotted it into a large container and I’m sure it’ll make a lovely shrub over the summer. It cost £2.

Alongside those already mentioned, I found a hanging basket that just needs a feed and some TLC to turn it into a ball of colour. It contains purple trailing petunias that should look lovely in 2 or 3 weeks. It’s not huge but a bargain at only £2 instead of the original £7.50.

There were a couple of other items and in total I spent £16.  I reckon they would have come to at least £50 if I’d paid the full price.

And somehow there’s an additional satisfaction in getting something really cheap and bringing it on. I have a beautiful camelia which has just finished blooming. It’s a lovely pink and was covered with blooms this year. It’s in a pot and a good size.  I bought it 2 years ago when it had finished blooming for just £5, so it’s lovely to see how it has blossomed.

So pop into your local DIY stores and supermarkets and see what bargains you can pick up to enhance your garden.


Welcome to my blog about patio pots and baskets

As I write this, it’s D-Day, 6th June 2016. I’ve spent 2 weekends repotting and sprucing up around 50 pots and baskets. They don’t look very spectactular at the moment but in a month or so they should be looking pretty good.

pots just filled

I’ve bought plants from three different sources – Ferring Nurseries, Homebase and Newbridge.  Specimens include double petunias – both regular and trailing, trailing fuscias, double begonias, both regular and trailing, pink antirhinums and geraniums.

Of course there are quite a few other plants in there too.

There are some that survived from last year, including quite a few of the geraniums (pelargoniums). There’s also a trailing plant with yellow flowers that hangs in a cone-shaped basket on the front of the garage. It came through last year and is still thriving. It doesn’t look anywhere near as good as it did but given that it’s a dark corner without much sunlight, it brightens up the area. I’ve trimmed back all the dead branches and watered it profusely. It doesn’t bear close inspection but from a distance it gives some good colour.  I’d like to add a couple more plants into the basked, but unfortunately there are so many roots that it’s impossible to plant anything more.

I bought 8 New Guinea impatiens from Newbridge, 2 packs for £10, which is pretty good since I’m sure they’ll grow into big plants in a few weeks. They had more expensive specimens which were bigger, but since they grow so fast there didn’t seem much point in paying more. I’ve planted each one in its own container to give plenty of room to spread and I’m hoping for lots of blooms in varying colours.

One of last year’s disappointments was a ball crysanthemum I think I got at the old Water Gardens. In fact I bought one for myself and one for my daughter and they were fantastic. I can’t remember the price but they were certainly very reasonable.

The disappointment came this year when both of them were completely dead. I can only presume that they aren’t bred to survive more than one year. I shall definitely look out for more this year though.

Oh and I just remembered that I bought 2 packs of 6 double petunias at the village shop this morning, just to fill up those remaining pots.

Of course I’ve still got the odd spot to fill, but that always seems to be the case. I’ve bought a couple of new shrubs and will report back when I’ve found out their names. The idea is to build up a nice collection of shrubs that go from year to year and save me buying quite so many bedding plants.

As well as the freestanding pots, I’ve refilled the heavy ones that sit at the front of the house. Of course the deer will probably eat half the plants but the beauty of this blog is that I’ll get a reminder which ones they like and which ones they leave alone!  At the moment the only ones I can remember that they don’t touch are hydrangea and antirrhinum.

Back soon with a little more detail.