April’s weather seems to have finally caught up with us – the last few days have brought some much needed rain to the garden. As if to make up for being a bit late, we’ve had great deluges sometimes even accompanied by thunder and lightning. I’ve had to keep the greenhouses shut to keep out the driving rain and wind and there’s not much can be planted into the now-sodden ground but, in a gap between downpours, I nipped outside to fill some of the hanging baskets and decorative pots I had.
What amazed me was how fast the paving slabs dried after the first downpour – it wasn’t the heaviest we’ve had but it was chucking it down only an hour or so before the above picture was taken – the bag I took out to sit on, to protect against a wet rump, was totally unnecessary.
Knowing how badly my baskets suffered last year (I never got around to hanging them up, for one, whoops) I thought I’d add a little water channel – a bottomless yoghurt pot with stones in it which I can use later in the season to water directly into the roots with. I think I remember seeing a tip about something similar on Gardeners World at some point. Once the baskets were filled up I added some decorative wood chips on top to cover everything up and which can be lifted aside whilst watering. If this summer is as sweltering as the last then having a way to get past a parched surface will be a boon.
Unfortunately the rain came on before I could take photos of the results and I had to run back inside. I bravely ventured back out to get some for this post, though, and ended up grabbing some pictures of the other containers which I had already planted up a week or two back.
A little sparse, as yet, but most of these plants should grow a fair bit and I didn’t want to overcrowd them.
I’ve got high hopes for my hanging planters – they’ve allowed me to ‘take charge’ of the big wall o’ sunshine that is the left hand side garden fence. It’s not easy to grow things in the small edge of soil that’s below it as the grass and weeds from next door try to take it over. It had seemed a shame not to grow anything up onto the fence, though. When Andy got me these hanging bags for my birthday I knew they’d be the answer. Each one has a different mix of plants and I’m trying out both beans and sweetpeas to see if they’ll take to being grown in this way. At a guess I’d say the peas will do ok, but the beans might be fussy since they won’t have much soil and they prefer to grow straight up rather than sideways but assumptions get us nowhere and as these are ‘unknown’ beans from the big greenhouse accident I’m not losing much by using them here since I’ve replanted another batch to replace that whole lot. At worse, they won’t thrive, as best I might find a nice way to up my veggie growing space!
Plants in Baskets:
Silver ragwort, red & white pelargoniums, nasturtiums, dianthus (white dove)
Plants in Hanging Bags:
Nasturtiums, sweet peas (Bijou mixed), beans (who knows what type), trailing ivy geranium (Mexican girl), pelargonium (Vancouver Centennial), petunias (Fanfare Dark Blue, Black Velvet), more silver ragwort, really red deer’s tongue lettuce.
The nasturtiums and red pelargoniums are seeds / cuttings from last year – I’m quite proud of both and was surprised that the nasturtium seed actually had a good germination rate. It was a ‘Tutti Frutti’ mix packet that I grew last year, but since they were open pollinated who knows what they are now. The white pelargoniums were something I was searching for – I’d tried a few places but most only had red or pink as single-colour boxes – the rest are all mixed shade boxes. I wanted some nice, bright white colours to contrast with the deep red fence and ruddy paving we have. It was only in, of all places, Morrisons that I found my pack of plain white pelargoniums!