This weekend I finally got around to emptying out my summer containers in the garden and planting up my winter displays. I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite this late, but this year’s wettest autumn I can remember has called a halt to most gardening activities since the end of September. I’ve had other engagements on the rare dry weekend days we’ve had, but even they have been few and far between – and of course, there’s so little daylight at this time of year. To really make the most of it, you have to put all your other household chores on hold, and get outside as soon as you can! I usually resist going out to “play” in the garden until I’ve done my less appealing household tasks, knowing I’ll get carried away and not want to come back inside. But if I’m to get anything done at this time of year, I have to resist the lure of the duster and head out first thing – how sad….
I’ve had this year’s tulip selections since September: Flaming Flag and Peach Blossom from a 20% off day at my local garden centre, and Copper Image, Ridgedale and Louvre Orange ordered mail order from Sarah Raven, who always has a fantastic range of new and exciting tulips.
A friend then ordered more in a late sale at the end of October and asked me to share half the Sarah Raven Pewter Collection, so of course, I couldn’t resist that either – there are always plenty of pots to fill in Spring. This collection includes the sombre Continental, exotic two-tone Slawa and peach-hued Salmon Van Eijk and Salmon Jimmy. I’ve planted them all in one container near the front door, and am looking forward to a fabulous show; as long as they all flower at the same time. I’ve been disappointed in the past when collections don’t flower together, so you don’t get maximum effect – but here’s hoping.
I also added last year’s narcissus and crocuses, plus some bog-standard “fill-a-bag for a £1” daffodils from the garden centre and more Ruby Giant crocuses to fill the gaps. Topped off with pansies in raspberry shades and Pink Giant wallflowers – there should be more seed-grown wallflowers at the allotment, but they went in late and have been terribly slow to take off because of the damp weather. When I last looked, there weren’t many, but I’ll retrieve what I can when I next go down.
I’ve still got to plant out last year’s tulips in the new cutting garden at the allotment, where I’ve plenty of space around the dahlias. As long as I do it at some point in December, there should still be chance for them to grow and give me tulips to pick in April. Tulips are always fine planted well into December anyway – my aunt used to buy hers at bargain basement prices in the January sales and plant out in the early New Year, with no ill effects!
I’m relieved to have finally got my containers planted anyway – now I can turn my attention to Christmas! Happy Advent 🙂