What have I been up to? Well apart from fighting off the headcold which seems to be taking hold of almost every 2nd person in the district (possibly an exaggeration…) I have been busy sending cartons of plants off to customers all over the country. Most of them have gone to warmer areas of course, as spring still hasn’t sprung in many regions to the south….but this can change in the blink of an eye, as one of my customers brightly said the other day, “we’ve been removing layers of merino all day”. (After they had been suffering through a seemingly endless period of bitter cold and damp, while I swanned around in 18 deg and shorts and t-shirt).
Anyway, I’ve got plants taking off all over the place, so my list and website updates are happening almost weekly at the moment. They probably need to though to keep up with demand, as it seems as soon as I’ve listed some things they are snapped up by eager gardeners. It is really satisfying for me knowing that I’m supplying plants that people truly want to grow….of course it can also be quite disconcerting when I think I’ve grown plenty of something and they’re all sold out within a day. Leaves me wondering how many I should have grown instead!
This week I have potted up various new lines, which should be ready in a few weeks…punnets of Queen Anne’s Lace, Ammi majus; the infamous Red Orach aka Atriplex hortensis var. rubra which is used quite extensively overseas as a striking accent plant with deep beetroot-red foliage; some more of that exceptional Great Dixter Poppy with the amazing name Papaver dubium ssp. lecoqii var. albiflorum (and interesting to note that it’s pink, not white, even though the name suggests otherwise). I’ve put Helenium ‘Butterpat’ into individual pots, it really wowed me last summer as it had been severely neglected but put on an amazing show and was very tall but didn’t need staking at all. Also into pots this week went Aster ‘Hi-Jinx’ a must-have one for me that mixes happily with other perennials or equally as well with smaller native shrubs; Centaurea jacea, not one I’ve grown yet but I’ve become happily addicted to these plants, knapweeds as they are known. They’re not weedy at all of course but seem to produce endless amounts of cornflowers all summer which the bees and butterflies love. Echinacea purpurea ‘Mellow Yellows’ a new seed line which has all the vigour of the true species but in a beautiful range of soft to bright yellows. The seedlings have shown good strong growth so far so I’m excited to see how they perform in the garden. Lobelia x gerardii ‘Vedrariensis’ has just been potted up too. Great for those partly shaded areas where you still want some colour, I find this one is pretty tough and sends up multiple strong stems smothered with vibrant purple flowers.
I’m sure there’s others I’ve potted up….but here’s a sneak-peek of a few of the plants on next week’s update…
White honesty, Lunaria annua f. albiflorum I had a customer looking for this last year as it provides a good light colour for part shade and self-sows easily. The attractive seedpods are an added bonus. Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy) ‘Phyllis Smith’, big white and slightly unruly looking but such a good long-flowering plant. Rudbeckia laciniata a giant for the back of the border, I’m a sucker for big daisy flowers and this is a favourite. Salvia nemorosa ‘Rose Queen’ a reliable performer in sunny, free draining soils, great for smaller gardens or even pots. There are bound to be others on the list of course….
I’ve just been on RadioLive Home & Garden Show this morning chatting to Tony Murrell about perennials that are tough enough to cope with coastal conditions in New Zealand. Tony was in fine form this morning and we had a thoroughly enjoyable talk, if you missed my list then I will post it as a separate blog, in a more condensed form!
In the meantime, it is a glorious day here but I must stay away from the nursery and do some housework instead! Enjoy your weekend…