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A guilty admission

Updated: Jun 17

It is brilliant to see the soil in the garden damp and dark in colour, rather than pale and dusty. As a result, I only have to water the polytunnel and the coldframes where lids are still propped open rather than removed.

I’m not sure what the weather is doing today, so I have removed a couple of trays of plants from the coldframes that can be used in hanging baskets, if the heavens open I will retreat to the polytunnel and replant the six hanging baskets. In the meantime, I carry on planting out the containers on the central path (four more) in the same style as the two I did yesterday.

I feel all this talk of container planting deserves a rather guilty confession from me. I am terrible at looking after containers, my ineptitude in this area is only surpassed by my inability to care for house plants! I am fine at planting containers up, this appeals to the artistic side of my nature, but rather like a squirrel forgetting where it has buried its nuts, I am very bad at remembering to water them. Growing plants in pots, tubs, sinks, urns and hanging baskets is much more labour intensive than growing them in the ground. I’m quite good at looking after my many trays of plants grown from seed, probably because they are grouped together but containers are dotted about all over the place. You might ask why have containers at all, but in the last few years, as the decorative side of the garden has come to the fore, containers have had an important part to play. I now have a lot, there are six hanging baskets, ten tubs, one trough and a barrel outside the front door, ten pairs of urns besides seats and doors, six containers under the arches in the central path, six tubs around the pond, four pots in stands around the fruit cage, four beautiful blue pots on the paradise garden, four sinks, c.sixteen pots/tubs in the herb garden, two troughs outside the polytunnel and at least a dozen pots and hanging baskets in the childrens garden, one pot on a plinth, one large decorative urn and a bucket and bread bin outside the back door and a couple more tubs in the cottage garden…I think this comes to 88, perhaps on reflection this might be why I’m having trouble! This doesn’t include the auriculas and the succulents that remain in pots – probably about another 100, I’m going to stop thinking about it now before I have a hot flush!

I will just keep plodding on, planting them up, luckily some have permanent planting. Maybe delegation is the answer…Aideen is very good at looking after her orchids, maybe she would like to take charge of containers, now she is finally reaching the end of her degree…maybe Meave might like to record them on one of her amazing spreadsheets…

After finishing planting up the latest group of containers, I return to the brassica quarter to continue weeding and planting marigolds. I actually really enjoy this job, especially when the soil is lovely and soft and damp. This is not heavy weeding, like clearing a bed for the first time in the year when everything is huge and often hard to remove. These are small annual weeds, which are easy to remove, and everything looks neat and tidy afterwards. I finish the green cabbage bed and get more than half of the Brussel sprout bed done which is good as they are big beds. I am concerned about the aphids, because it is the worst infestation that I can remember. However, I’m sure the plants will grow through it, they are remarkably resistant, but it will spoil some of their leaves.

Aideen came outside to help me today which was lovely. She did some dead heading of climbing roses and sweet peas, and then started removing dead tulip foliage from the mount. Tiggy on the other hand, spent the day asleep in a seed tray in the polytunnel!

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