Six on Saturday: Seeking Wisdom

Gardeners are likely to find their wisdom in many places – their successes, their failures and their also-rans. So am I going to plant out my recent order from Claire Austin directly in the borders? No, because I have learned to my cost that planting into an already stuffed border is likely to result in plants that do not thrive and often just fade away, disappearing eventually to the cramped plant world in the big blue yonder, leaving just plant labels to taunt me.

I was going to pot them on but, having planted out that late sowing of sweet peas last week, I looked at the latter today and faced with increasing evidence of the gradual onset of autumn decided that there was no chance of them ever reaching ing anywhere near flowering stage – so out they came, and the new plants were planted out into the vacated beds instead,  to stretch their legs for a month or two, or perhaps until spring. Learning outcome – don’t bother with a late sweet pea sowing!

Whilst planting them out, most very rootbound and desperately needing space to breathe, I cast a number of glances at the pots in the ‘nursery’ and spent a little time emptying out those whose contents have gone for a burton, mostly failed cuttings or ones that hadn’t been watered enough. With not opening the garden in June, there is a surplus of plants that were grown for sale; most will survive till next year and just be more mature, so nothing really lost there. Less easy to deal with are the plants taken out of the revamped borders – is there anywhere else for them to go? Are they duplicates generated just to fill a space – and are they garden-worthy anyway? I have learned greater discernment through revamping borders and, although the number of these pots is gradually diminishing as decisions are made, I could of course consign them to the plant sales stand for next year – and certainly don’t need to squeeze them back into a border.

As well as my order from Claire Austin I have also placed an order with her father, David Austin, for more roses. Over the years, I have learned that roses are not just about colour, and that fragrance and length of flowering are important considerations too, as is eventual height. I have no qualms, therefore, about remedying poor rose choice decisions, made as a result of my previous relative ignorance, and taking roses out. Thus, two ‘Snow Goose’ are due to be removed from the blue & white border, where they climbed above and beyond the wall behind them, and will go to a friend; they will not be replaced and instead the Trachelospermum, already happy in its location, will be given free and undisputed reign of the wall.

The picture below shows the wall after the roses were cut back to a manageable size, ready for removal, instantly improving the area and making it look more self-contained. The second picture shows the adjacent rose garden where four ‘Blush Noisette’ roses, planted against the fence, have been similarly cut back for the same reason, ready for removal and replacement with roses that grow no taller than the fence itself.

It was back in 2012 that this version of the rose garden took shape, and a year later when the wall bordering the blue & white border was built, so these ill-advised rose choices date back 7 or 8 years and I have certainly learned a lot about roses since then – and indeed have bought a lot of roses since then too, but I shan’t bore you with numbers…!

The wise owl in today’s opening picture just looks and says nothing, keeping his wisdom to himself. He was a recent acquisition from Etsy, a good source of quirky items for the garden, bought to add interest to the path less travelled, and was accompanied by a woodpecker and a squirrel.

Lumping some pictures together as one theme, that comes to about Six on Saturday; please visit our host Jon the Propagator for more sixes this Saturday.

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28 Responses to Six on Saturday: Seeking Wisdom

  1. Jasmine in favor of roses? interesting and I love it..

    • Cathy says:

      Sadly the trachelosperum is actually T asiaticum and not my preferred T jasminoides, but it was a gift and it was bought in good faith – it still looks lovely although the flowers are pale yellow and not the white I would have liked. And the foliage is very handsome

  2. rusty duck says:

    I have lost so many of those 9cm plants ordered online. Potting them on or planting them in a ‘holding’ bed for a while certainly works for me, especially at this time of year when it’s getting colder and plants aren’t growing as vigorously.
    Love your rusty menagerie, I shall be following that link!

    • Cathy says:

      Not sure how long to put them in a holding bed (which I wouldn’t have had during summer) for – probably longer than I would choose to do so! There are several sellers of these rusty metal artefacts – mine were from Rusty Rooster I think

  3. Paddy Tobin says:

    A good insight into your garden and your gardening.

  4. A lovely post about growing and discerning in one’s gardening choices. Having a smaller garden also forces me to do similar. I don’t have the option of creating a new bed. I still let my more vigorous plants crowd each other though. Easier than weeding! Happy Sunday, Cathy.

    • Cathy says:

      I am sure the more vigorous plants will still crowd the others here, but I am now determined to give my newer plants a fighting chance to get established first! Even in a small garden, don’t write off the option of creating a new bed – I have gained varying amounts of space here by thinking creatively, and it’s always an exciting prospect to acquire extra planting space – it won’t continue indefinitely of course, but do try viewing your garden with that objective in mind…where I can tweak things to gain an extra square metre?

  5. Heyjude says:

    I too have lost many of those 9 cm pots. In fact I just received some from Ballyroberts nursery which are tiny! I must pot them on and place them somewhere sheltered over the winter. Thankfully they guarantee them for a year so if they fail I get a replacement, which I did this summer for three plants. And the ones I received were much bigger! I don’t think I have lost any Claire Austin ones, though it was close. I moved a couple a few times before finding the right place!

    • Cathy says:

      I have had some plants from Ballyroberts before but I don’t think I realised about their guarantee – good to know that they honour it too. The CA plants, although mostly pot bound, were all fairly sturdy except for a couple of helenium and there are some I will definitely plant out in their allotted places sooner in a month or so

  6. Anna says:

    I’m guilty of impulse buying and then thinking where am I going to plant it afterwards Cathy. Hence there have been many departures to that compost heap in the sky over the years. Shame about the sweet peas but every cloud and and all that. Looking forward to hearing more about your new purchases and rose choices. That owl looks as if it has always been perched in that spot.

    • Cathy says:

      At least they disappear on the compost heap, Anna – it is the labels that are the most accusing!! I am pleased with the owl’s perch, not so much the other two, which probably need better spots

  7. Cathy says:

    Many lonely labels in my old garden haunted me too, so I know the feeling. I hate to think how many plants just disappeared (probably due to snails). I have some Lunaria rediviva seeds for you Cathy! But will wait and see if I can collect more pink Linaria seed before posting them. 😃
    Oh, and I love that woodpecker!

    • Cathy says:

      I am pleased to hear so many others admitting to plant loss – well, not pleased for ther loss of course, but because it is a problem we all share. Exciting to know you have some seed for me – I believe there is a cultivated version of the pink linaria (Canon Went?) but I haven’t tracked it down yet, so seeds would be very welcome in due course

  8. tonytomeo says:

    It is amazing how much can fit into small gardens. There are many acres here, but I can not find homes for some of our perennials. The space is available. Appropriateness is not.

  9. Lisa says:

    I spent my time staring at your photos, not for the plants, but for your fabulous paths and raised beds! And that square terra-cotta pot is wonderful! Yours is the kind of garden I could just come back to time and again to look at for inspiration.

    • Cathy says:

      That is so kind of you to say Lisa, although the still shots are literally just snapshots – you do see my monthly videos sometimes though? Interestingly, the pot is the one that was partially iserted into the ground and had the fig in it, which survived intact when we removed the fig. I haven’t found a suitable location for it to go yet, whch is why it is in the nursery area with a rose that came out last year too! When we have visitors on our open days it is especially nice when people say they are taking away ideas from the garden

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