As our house faces east south east and fronts directly onto the lane, these Tête-à-Tête and viola have borne the full brunt of the recent wind and snow. The Tête-à-Tête, having flowered earlier than those still emerging in the garden, were initially bowed down by the snow but were clearly champing at the bit to get up and fight again, drawing on every reserve the sunny periods could provide; not so the viola in the baskets, which were severely nipped by the direct impact of bitingly cold winds. A brighter and sunnier start to the day today suggests, however, that once the damaged flower heads are cut off there is plenty of life in them yet. The ‘Pencrebar’ daffodils, another miniature variety but with double yellow, multiheaded and fragrant flowers, are still only showing the first of their green spikes in the baskets, but apparently their flowering period is a little later than the more common Tête-à-Tête so they can be forgiven.
When I featured my delivery of Hayloft phlox yesterday I did not mention that the coincidental receipt of a new summer catalogue from them had triggered my ordering yet another of their special collections – 20 different hardy geranium for £20. As the collection included some of the white varieties I was planning to use to bulk up my species snowdrop border I was particularly pleased to see this offer as I love the versatility of geraniums and they will be useful to fill gaps in my other borders too. Despite the rock bottom price of their special offers I know I can rely on the quality of Hayloft’s plants – admittedly I wasn’t expecting such large roots of phlox, but the large plug plants they often come as are always healthy and I rarely lose any, unlike cheap collections from the more mainstream suppliers in the UK. How do they do it? Well I have actually ordered some full price plants from them as well this time, but I don’t usually, so perhaps this is one of the marketing reasons – but they do emphasise the personal service and with a proven history of quality and reliability they will get customers returning again and again.
Incidentally, for those wondering if I have bottomless pockets when it comes to buying plants, I just happen to have acquired a small lump sum when I finished work and have no desire for a new car or an expensive holiday and instead am investing in what does give me pleasure, my garden.