Thursday, 5 July 2012

My name is Claire and I am a plantaholic.

Visits to gardening shows this week: 1 (Hampton Court)
Plants purchased: 8
Slugs and snails killed: averaging about 10 a day
Private garden visits: 6 (local gardening club)
Gardening magazines purchased: 1 (The English Garden)

Garden-wise, it's been manic.  Hampton Court was wonderful.  I could not help myself buy plants in the Floral Marquee.  It was the opening night and the 'plant creche' wasn't open so like a complete show novice I ended up carting around a couple of Melica Nutans grasses and a clematis all evening.  Anyone that has ever travelled with a clematis will know that they don't take well to being dragged around a show ground all evening while it's new owner keeps apologizing to everyone that gets caught up in it's tendrils or else tutting at people that knocked it.  I'm happy to report that it survived with just one strand  bruised beyond repair.  I'm sure an expert will be along to tell me that a clematis doesn't have a strand but they are branches or have a special Latin name but you know what I mean.  I lost a few seedheads from the Melica Nutans as well.  It was all a very delicate operation.

Le Photographe struggled with the artificial lighting in the Floral Marquee but here's the species of clematis on the left that I bought thanks to Floyds Climbers.  The man on the stand (presumably Floyd but I didn't ask him) had some helpful advice about clematis care: they don't like wet feet so let them dry out and give them a liquid tomato feed every other week.  This is the diametric opposite to what I have been doing (a zealous over-waterer if ever there was one). I am now on a strict programme of reform.  One good thing about Monday evening was that there was more opportunity than usual to interact with the plant growers as well as the plants.  Thanks Floyd, for your many clematis (or clematii??) and your wisdom.

Here's another one from Floyd.  Please don't comment on the shadow at the bottom as  you will upset the photographer.

It rained a lot so we all had to be resilient to enjoy our picnics.

I also had a very exciting encounter with Michael from Slug Bell.  Michael invented the slug bell after he found himself crunching a slug pellet along with his home grown salad.  The slug bell consists of a tiny mesh on a poll which hold the slug pellets.  This is semi covered by a decorative bell which concentrates the odour of the pellets in order to attract more slugs.  The bell gives a double advantage in that it prevents birds and other wildlife from eating the poisonous pellets.  I didn't buy one to test out as I already had my hands full but I will definitely be looking into it. 

Who can blame Michael for embarking on this venture?  Surely eating a slug pellet must be a low point in a gardener's life.  Needless to say, Michael and I quickly struck up a rapport.

Back home in the garden, it's becoming crammed with all these plants, a kind of horticultural traffic jam.  The high hopes I had in the style stakes for Dianthus Alpine have been dashed.  What I thought was a chic little brown and white Chanel of a plant has turned a sort of diluted pink reminiscent of Carnation Milk mixed in with bits of strawberry jerry.  If anyone is reading this who lives in Hackney and would like it, you are welcome to it as I have plants jostling to take it's place.

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