One of the things I love most about summer is the endless opportunities that exist to buy new plants. I adore the randomness of walking into the supermarket and thinking ‘that would look fantastic in my garden’, or finding a stall in a park selling ‘that one flower I’ve always wanted’. It’s fantastic, and it just seems that random opportunities pop up everywhere you go – like flower heaven!
That being said though, random purchases are also my (and many other gardeners) biggest downfall. It’s fine if you want an eclectic looking garden, and if you don’t mind taking a risk on buying a plant which may not be particularly happy in your garden environment (think acid or alkaline soil, clay, silt or sandy), but if not then it’s time to start thinking a bit more strategically.
When I went to the Chelsea Flower Show recently I was tempted to buy everything in sight, but mum came up with a wise plan that my sister and I shouldn’t buy a thing until she’d bought us both a copy of ‘Gardening Plants for Scotland’ by Kenneth Cox and Raoul Curtis-Machin. I’ve got another of this pair’s books ‘Fruit and Vegetable Growing for Scotland’ and it is my allotment bible, so I took mum’s wise words on board and waited.
As soon as the book arrived I was hot on the case looking up all the flowers I’d seen at Chelsea, to quickly discover that many of them only had a hardiness rating of 2 or 3 – not ideal for growing here in Scotland.
However, I swiftly found a number of good matches, including Viola Milkmaid, Verbena Bonariensis and Leucanthemum. I even took a punt on one of the hardier (although still not very hardy) Agapanthus Umbellatus – after all, as all gardeners know, you’ve got to take a risk from time to time.. And incidentally, Agapathus tend to like being grown in pots, so they can come inside when the weather gets a bit chilly. The beautiful order arrived, courtesy of Macplants in Pencaitland, East Lothian, in mint condition, and I planted my new treats out this weekend.
On that note, my learning for this month has been to HOLD BACK on random purchases and to invest time and effort into researching and ordering the plants that are good for my garden. It’s like a tailoring service and is so much more rewarding!
Here’s some pics of the plants I ordered. Thanks Macplants – simply beautiful!