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Getting there


I have had a very slow start to my gardening year in 2015, for several reasons.

Firstly, the weather has been far from encouraging and I hold my hands up to the fact that I am something of a fair weather gardener. And we’ve been away a few times, and unwell a few more! (Nothing serious, I’m glad to say). But the result has been that I just haven’t got down to gardening the way I usually do.

BUT – yesterday I had a lovely time buying plants with Mum and today the weather was ideal for planting, and more planting. I am shattered, but feeling quite smug that I have sorted most (only most!) of my containers. And now I am concocting a list for my return visit to the nursery next week!

Over the years, the containers on the patio have almost become substitutes for another border. Certainly, the patio is no longer the rectangular area that it was when it was first laid. What a boon it was – somewhere for tricycles to be ridden, chalks to be used, and a welcome transition for muddy boots before reaching the kitchen door. It is now a lovely place to sit, in the sunniest part of the garden, and we have since had a French window installed so that – on sunny days – it acts as an extension to the house.

I am hoping that there will be enough sun for the pelargoniums in these pots. If not, I shall find somewhere else for them. The glazed pots are new, frost-proof and only £2.99 each, which I thought was a good price.

I can’t remember the name of this plant, but it overwintered in this position. I just left the pot and forgot what had been in it. When it first reappeared, I thought it was the campanula which self seeds everywhere in my garden. Fortunately, I always leave that until it outstays its welcome, and this is the result.

This brachycome is 5 years old. It just stays in this (originally) strawberry pot, remains green throughout the winter, and produces slightly larger flowers each year. [Incidentally, has anyone else had problems with strawberry pots? I found that I had to put large stones sticking out of the holes to stop the soil falling out, especially when watering.]

This pelargonium has flowered continuously, winter and summer for four years, in this position. It is as lovely looking out from the kitchen as it is from the garden. It was just one of a tray of bedding plants.

I can’t take any credit for these beautiful fuchsias – I bought them yesterday – but I know they will provide a wonderful display right throughout the summer. One is Swingtime, one is Southgate.

The (sadly) dead Victoria plum tree is still giving great pleasure as a feeding station and support for a clematis montana and honeysuckle. The clematis will soon be over, but the honeysuckle is about to burst forth and will continue flowering for months.

The aquilegias – in their third year – are going from strength to strength. The containers at the back are top of the list for attention when I return to the nursery!

And finally, my Begonia Glowing Embers, which I have managed to nurture through to its third year. It is slow to start (I bought it – as one does – in full flower) but after its first year I have learned to wait for it to come round at its own pace. I fully expect it to perform beautifully!

I hope that, whether you sprinted off the blocks or had a slower start like I did, your gardening year will prove rewarding whatever the weather. Enjoy!

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Melchi...i'm growing Begonias from scratch this year and they are SO SLOW! Glad to see yours is even slower (being outdoors). I can now have faith that mine will get going eventually!

Have to agree re. Strawberry planters. They are almost impossible to keep moist. I wish I'd thought of shoving stones in the holes. Mine was so bad I was quite relieved when it broke and I could bin it!

I like the use you've made of the dead plum tree. I pruned my old one very hard last year because it was a neglected mess and the fruit never ripened. They rotted on the tree remaining hard. So I thought...nothing to lose really, and planted a yellow ivy to grow up it. I fully expected it to die. But its growing! So I wonder if perhaps next year there will be nice Victoria Plums on it.

I love the memories you have of the patio, and the use you've made of all your pots. I do try to keep the pots down in numbers here as they are hard work as you know. But i never succeed! Today I planted more Of my potted Heucheras in the ground. But you can bet those pots wont be empty for long!

30 May, 2015


Nice garden tour. The tipped pot with purple flowers look like asters. Mine usually bloom late summer though.

30 May, 2015


Growing from scratch is always a slow process, I think. We are now so used to seeing fully-grown plants that are not strong enough to go outside. Consequently, it is very difficult to realise that they are actually forced, and not performing at their natural time. I was talking to the man at the nursery about this. He was saying that the supermarkets are driving the demand for early-flowering plants, even though many will not survive. We were remembering how old-style nurserymen would not consider selling bedding plants before June 1. Having said that, it is reckoned that spring begins almost three weeks earlier than it did 20 years ago (not this year, it didn't!)

Glad you agree about the strawberry pots! I thought it was only me!

The memories are the greatest advantage of staying so long in one place...

I also tell myself I will use less containers, but I can't resist - I just love them.

I hope your plum tree picks up. I had many jars of jam and plum crumbles from mine before it succumbed to - I think - silver leaf disease. It has a good after-life, though!

30 May, 2015


Thanks, Bathgate. The Brachyscombe had smaller flowers when I first got it. It is sold as a trailing basket plant. I think it must be a type of aster. It always flowers early, and keeps going through to the first frosts.

30 May, 2015


Well I really had a good laugh Melchi - the picture of the pelargoniums was the only one that was upside down, and the comment was that it had flowered in this position for four years - remarkable don't you think?

Begonias certainly are dozy abut getting started but they make up time once they get going.

Southgate's a beautiful fuchsia. I trained one as a standard once but it wasn't really strong enough. I've got a couple in pots now on the patio just coming nicely into flower. You'll love it.

Your little glazed pots were certainly a good find - very nice.

30 May, 2015


I thought the 'Aster' was a Michaelmas Daisy.
Nice to see a sheltered garden. Lucky you.

31 May, 2015


Thanks everyone!

I laughed when I read your comment about the upside-down pelargonium, Stera (though I can never understand how or why some pictures load like that).

I have just googled brachycome, Diane (no "s" or "b" - my mistake) and it is indeed a member of the aster family. It is very sheltered in our back garden, and I really appreciate it.

It's interesting that strawberry planters seem to be unfit for purpose, Hb. Someone must have thought they were a good idea! I've bought those hanging basket fuchsias before. They give a wonderful display for ages. I've always managed to overwinter them in previous years, but it didn't work this year. The pelargoniums are a particular joy. I love them.

31 May, 2015


Wonderful blog Susanne . . . thank you for giving me a big smile on this chilly, wet morning. I think your garden looks delightful, and not neglected at all :)))

31 May, 2015


Thank you very much, Sheila! No, it's not really neglected, but I am very laid-back about self-seeders and plants that lots of people would consider to be weeds. Just occasionally, I fantasize about having a really good clear-out and sorting the beds once and for all. But I'm afraid it would end up looking much as it does now, because that's just my style. And truly, I love it just the way it is!

31 May, 2015


love the pots on the wall and all the other planters, bit like I have done with my pathway at the back door, only enough room now to walk down might have to move them once Lottie gets walking and trotting around the paths. lol :O)

31 May, 2015


No - of course, your garden is not neglected - I was just thinking about what you said about having a slower start than usual. "Laid back" and natural is a great style!

31 May, 2015


Oh Sheila, I didn't think anything else! It is entirely what I said - and actually celebrated in my "Messy Bits" blog! No probs!

31 May, 2015


You have nice garden, looks like a shelter from stressful life outside. Do you have to sit down on the bench, when you are in the garden?

31 May, 2015


Thank you, Katarina! Yes, I find it very peaceful in the garden. I can put all other concerns aside while I am gardening.

I often sit on the bench with a coffee. I am rather pleased that since I put it there, I have managed to construct a sort of bower around it - more by luck than management!

31 May, 2015


Enjoy your nest. I like mine, too. ;-)

1 Jun, 2015


The title of your blog suits me ... I am slow to catch up with GoY but I'm getting there ! lol

I know what you mean about a slow start. It's June now but the weather is more like March. I sewed some veg seeds last week but there's no sign of them coming
up :(

Your garden seems to be doing well in spite of the slow start. Things catch up ...

That plant you can't remember the name of is Mimulus. I don't know if anyone has already said it. I haven't got time to trawl through all the above comments.

Love your Pelargoniums on the wall :o) I hope they get the sun they need. Maybe things will improve soon.

Brachicome - I usually keep them for a few years. I haven't got any now though. I must get a few. They are good in containers aren't they.

I think my patio is like yours. So many pots, and 2 cold frames ... soon there won't be any room to sit there lol

2 Jun, 2015


Thank you for your kind comments, Hywel, and for reminding me about Mimulus. My granny always called it Monkey Face, and I am always forgetting the correct name! I agree about Brachycome - I think it's a great container plant.

Amazingly, after a horrid morning, the sun has come out and transformed everything. I am just tucking in the last of my container plants and enjoying a couple of hours outside. I've just popped in for a coffee so am catching up. Actually, I'm just going to post a couple of photos. I have been looking through my old photos and blogs recently - something I rarely do - and it has
inspired me to get things spruced up. It really is beginning to look more as I want it, so that's good. I always get a few nice surprises when things I'd forgotten about pop up!

2 Jun, 2015


Lol those upside down pelargoniums had me thinking you had emigrated to Oz. Everything is looking really good. I love those aquilegias they are so graceful.

5 Jun, 2015


Thank you, Scotsgran! I don't understand the upside-down picture. They were all taken and uploaded together. Oh well! I am happy with the state of the garden, especially now I have got the containers sorted. They are an important part of my summer. The aquilegias are improving year on year, which is very encouraging! Just hoping for some summer weather - it is improving here, but is still changeable hour by hour. I'm in the garden now, and it's mostly sunny, but breezy and quite cool.

5 Jun, 2015


We have had a wet and windy week but the forecasters say it will improve from tomorrow. It is very cold this evening but there was a red sky tonight so here's hoping.

8 Jun, 2015

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