Shall I, Shan’t I…?

squarepots.JulyOne of the garden housekeeping tasks I had created for myself was to move some existing shrubs into the new Topsoil Border near the stream. Thus a small Malus ‘Hornet’ was moved for the second time, joined by recalcitrant paeony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. They were to be joined by a callicarpa and ornamental quince, Chaenomeles ‘Madame Butterfly, both currently in lead effect pots on the paved area in view of the kitchen. The latter two had remained in pots longer than may have been good for them as I just didn’t have anywhere else to put them. The jury was out, however, on the three cornus in similar but square pots (photo from earlier in the year) – partly because over winter I have the pleasure of seeing their lovely coloured stems, but also because…..

broken.potsThe first sign that these lead-effect pots, made out of ‘fibreclay’, was last year when a piece of the largest one (containing Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’) broke off in my hand as I pulled the pot a few inches across the slabs. It was initially patched up successfully with flashing tape, but this year I just needed to look at it and more pieces fell off so a new home for the rose was factored in and I was  ultra cautious when removing the callicarpa and quince from their pots. Clearly ultra caution was not enough as the smallest pot with the callicarpa went the same way and only very delicate excavation of the middling pot saved it from similar annihilation, although removing the remaining compost may finally see it off. So – do I risk moving the cornus from their pots…?

IMG_3230 I had almost decided to enjoy another winter of them in situ, but after the callicarpa and quince episode a removal attempt before they got any bigger seemed the better option, even at the risk of a complete pot disaster. Structurally, I guessed that rooting around in the square pots would put less pressure on the sides than the round pots anyway – and these pots were a little younger than the others as well. Thankfully, the pots were unscathed and the cornus look more than happy in the new border.

IMG_3235The shrub moving was carried out earlier in the week when the weather was changing quickly and without warning from heavy rain to sunny skies, but I had to wait for the dry day we were promised today to get on with one of my favourite occupations, bricklaying – now, subject to some additional soil and garden compost, the new bold border is ready for occupation, although unlike the shrub border will probably remain vacant till next year:



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19 Responses to Shall I, Shan’t I…?

  1. Christina says:

    What a shame the pots broke, obviously not fired to a high enough temperature. My husband bought me back some rather nice looking buccarro vases from Africa, I think they must have been ‘fired’ in the sun as when I poured water in for one of the Monday arrangements it completely collapsed spreading water everywhere.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh what a shame about your African vases, Christina 😦 The faux lead ones are not fired clay but an ‘eco friendly’ mix of ‘a composite of clay, fibreglass and magnesia which is much stronger than conventional terracotta/clay and much cheaper than polyresin or fibreglass’. Also lighter than clay pots. I think mine were guaranteed for 10 years and they have lasted at least that.

  2. Julie says:

    I haven’t tried bricklaying, it sounds very rewarding and independent. I find it massively frustrating waiting for help!

  3. AnnetteM says:

    Shame about your pots – they are so expensive these days. I guess you had good use out of them first. Good wall! How nice to have a totally new bed to plant up.

  4. There’s no end to your talents, Cathy! Bricklaying? I’m impressed. My “bricklaying” consists of laying bricks as path edging, and very dodgy! Shame about your pots, though. Still, they had a good run. Love the bed of Cornus, with their varying coloured stems.

  5. croftgarden says:

    It is always frustrating when a large pot breaks; however I’m sure it was a good idea to move the Cornus. You are like a perpetual motion machine in the garden, it is really quite exhausting and leaves me feeling slothful!

    • Cathy says:

      So you HAVE put your feet up after all…? 😉

      • croftgarden says:

        Absolutely. If we had Sunday papers, I’d be sitting in the sunshine with a pot of coffee with my feet up while Himself cooks the Sunday lunch. So instead I’ll take a leisurely walk to talk to the tomatoes in the polytunnel and have a quick chat with the bulbs in the greenhouse.

  6. Anna says:

    A great time to be moving shrubs Cathy whilst the soil is still warm and the rain is considerately doing the puddling in for you. Slightly confused although that doesn’t take much. Are there two bold borders now?

    • Cathy says:

      If you look at The Map, the current (but unsuccessful this year) bold borders are what were previously the 2 hot borders. I have just reclaimed the bottom end of the woodland edge border to make another one, deciding to keep it separate rather than merge it with the adjacent existing one. Not surprising that you are confused – I seem to have come up with so many changes recently that one of these days my right hand won’t know what my left one is doing!

  7. Your cornus look wonderful in their new home Cathy, a very promising border, and the new brick edging will finish your new bold border off wonderfully, how ever will you choose what to put in it?!

  8. sueturner31 says:

    I am trying to get more of my pots emptied …. they do take quite a battering in the winter ….and some have to come undercover and that gets more difficult… I’m with you this year as you seem to be having big clearouts like us.. we’ve been here 35 years so things could do with a revamp..and after a few weeks you wonder why you didn’t do it earlier, they look so much better.. 🙂

  9. Pots, I love them but always lose one or two each Winter either due to the cold or the wind. I too am trying to reduce the number to make the garden less labour intensive and I bet your Cornus will romp away in its new home. Good brick laying.

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