Saturday, 11 June 2016

bringing the bonkers back from chelsea

The point of garden shows (if there is one beyond PLANTS=AWESOME) is new ideas, inspiration, discovery. A variety or plant type you were completely unaware of. Something you were aware of, but which turned out to be a lot more exciting in real life. New ways of growing, treating or presenting.Ways or arranging or dividing your outdoor space to make things better.

Inspiration is a wobbly thing. Showgardens are not real gardens. They're somewhere between set designs and giant floral arrangements. The plantsellers all have their own agendas and rules, none of which may have any relevance to your own garden. But nevertheless, the mad gleam. The idea. The spark. I will do and this is such a brilliant idea that nothing could possibly go wrong.

So, let's get the post inspiration job-list started. It's time to get those ideas initiated. I'm bringing back the bonkers from Chelsea:

  1. I will replace all of my boring Aquilegia with exciting ones. I've had a few mysterious and pretty Aquilegia over the years, but all have reverted to good old Vulgaris with its vigorous leaves that outcompete everything, its spreading and self-seeding and its purple and pink flowers. I've bought Blue Star and Nora Barlow seeds to get me started, but I'm after some yellows,oranges and reds too. This will involve weeding out all my current plants, starting a bunch of new ones in trays, weeding out the seedlings that come in the beds as they turn up and eventually replacing with my favoured flowers. Plus the intriguing possibility that they'll all come up pink and purple anyway, because hey, reversion. 
  2. I will torture my fig tree. I have a leggy little (well, it clearly has ambitions - from the size of the leaves it would happily cover the side of a house) fig tree in a smart square pot. But what if I got it out of that pot and into a shallow trough, and exposed some roots for decorative reasons? What if I began to train the branches to a tighter space, and began making carefully considered pruning? Could I get it to a small, tight plant? Would its leaves shrink to match the dimensions its allowed? Because I saw a great Bonsai made of a similarly common and vigorous plant, and if you can do it to a Pieris, I bet you can do it to a fig.
  3. I will make my fern corner into a fern palace. Currently I have a couple of dry ferns and a Tree Fern in poor repair huddled gloomily around the water butt in the shadiest corner of the garden. And a self-seeded hazel because hey, squirrels. But it could be so much better! More moss, better rocks, more carefully chosen plants (maybe some smaller ferns as opposed to the ones that keep outgrowing their pots?) and maybe something over that bare concrete block wall, maybe some sort of fern mosaic, in cool greens, isn't it time you put that mosaicing (sp?) course to use?
Yes, yes yes I know. Steady on now. 

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