It really does feel like spring has well and truly sprung. With the sunshine and the double digit temperatures I have found myself somewhere where I am not normally to be found… in the garden!
Well, I say garden… to be more precise, it is a patio/terrace outside my new little flat I just moved into. It’s about 12 feet x 6 feet, right in the middle of the city, and it’s not much – but it’s mine. When I moved in last year it was at the end of the summer, so this is my first spring and summer in my new flat but also in my new ‘garden’.
If there is one thing I have learned from all those gardening shows I have done with Richard Jackson it is that there are all types of gardens and all types of gardeners.
When I looked at my patch of paving stones the very first day I moved in, they were a bit sad looking and uncared for, with a surprising amount of weeds growing between them too. So I got stuck into pulling up as many of the weeds as possible and brushing up all the debris that had blown in from the street. I decided there and then that I was going to spruce it up and have it looking nice. Now that the good weather is here I have made a start.
I’ve put bay trees on either side of the doorway to create a bit more of a welcoming approach, and as they are spherical in shape I got some nice square glazed pots to put them in to set them off nicely. Richard has advised me to either put some pebbles around the soil on top or to plant in some low growing mosses to improve the overall aesthetic, so that I shall do and will let you know how I get on when I do an update in a month or two.
I actually got the bay trees at Christmas and draped some Bethlehem Lights outdoor fairy lights around them. They looked marvelous, and so festive.
I also got some red Cyclamen then as well and they are still blooming, with lots of new shoots coming through, and that is from late November! I’m very impressed, but cannot claim any of the credit myself as apart from giving them a little water every now and then, they appear to be doing it all by themselves!
The first major plant I got from QVC was my Horizon Monarch Rhododendron from Plants 2 Gardens, pictured above in the slideshow. I got that home and with the help of some ericaceous soil and a large pot, I’ve got it planted up and looking great. Green-fingered visitors to my house have all been asking me about it as the buds on it are so juicy and plentiful it is going to be bursting full of gorgeous blooms this season! Which is not what can be said for another rhododendron I bought from a garden centre to pair up with my Horizon Monarch.
Not really knowing what I am doing yet, I sought advice for another Rhodendron at said garden centre and they apparently have sold me a duff that will not flower this year, as my uncle who visited recently and loves the garden explained that the flowers had all been allowed to go to seed, and the plant will have used up all its energy making those and won’t have anything left for flowers this year! You live you learn, as they say. But I am enjoying learning. I have also bought the most stunning double flowering creamy white Camilia and she is so beautiful and already in flower, I just pray I can keep it that way!
Just a few days ago I received my box (buxus) topiary spheres from QVC. I bought two sets, and as there are two plants in each – which all come with their own containers – so I now have four gorgeous structural pieces that I have lined along the railing at the side of my terrace. I have yet to plant them up properly but for now I have just popped the plants, still in their pots, into the architectural planters they come with and already they look really effective!!
It is still early days but I am enjoying the effect the plants are having on the appearance of the terrace outside my flat and it makes me smile as I approach after I have been out for the day. That alone is enough to keep me interested.
Finally, I think I am starting to get what all you gardeners having been talking about all these years. And although I live in the middle of the city I am already thinking about those quiet, reflective moments I can have sitting in my little oasis this summer. I can’t wait!
Until next time,
P.S… all hints and tips for a beginner gardener, especially for container gardening, are all welcome!