Jane has been kind enough to write up a ‘diary style’ report in the absence of any activity at the Club.
Amongst the many garden pests that prevent my garden from looking its best, ‘poor planning’ is one that raises its ugly head each summer. The importance of garden design (or rather the result of a lack of it) starts to appear when the flourish of spring is over and my haphazard summer planting is exposed. Shorter plants are lost behind robust taller ones; as peonies and lupins fade, there is nothing to take their place; the pretty pastels are unseen next to the clashing reds, yellows and oranges; and there never seems to be a spot to plant-out the sweet peas that I have been tending since mid-winter. There are many causes of these perennial problems, including being seduced by ideas from gardening programs and magazines, impulse buys, an over-estimation of what I can achieve with limited time and space and a failing to carry out appropriate research when selecting plants. The rose ‘Wedding Day’ is a classic example of the latter. At the time, it seemed like an appropriately named candidate for our horticultural wedding list and has very pretty flowers. I now know it to be a rampant rambler that grows 20 feet per year in all directions, including forcing its way between the wooden slats into the shed. During the growing season, we have to cut it back monthly to prevent the garden from becoming a thicket of thorns. Fortunately I only put three on the list.
Last September, Nick Bailey, garden designer and BBC presenter, gave a talk to the club about the importance of colour in garden design and suggested the use of the colour wheel to help with plant selection. Whilst I will never have the depth and breadth of horticultural knowledge that Nick carries around in his head, I do know the colour schemes that appeal to me and swoon over pretty gardens of pastels, mauves and silvers, dazzling borders of orange and purple and restful areas of white and green. Using the colour wheel would help me to plant to my preferred palette. However, I seem to be unable to refuse all and any donations of plants that are offered to me. I am also loath to dig up any healthy plant, regardless of how it fits with my colour preferences. So, for the time being, I must be content with my ‘pick and mix’ garden but this year, as every year, I am determined that by next year I will have a plan and will stick to it!