Right, now all US readers take note, I am aware that booty in your neck of the woods means something else, anyone who continued reading for this reason, I fear I must disappoint (including UK based very British Justine at EclecticBitsandBobs ) . No I fear, this post doesn’t address your booty, in fact it is all about our best friends the plants and that pusher of plants: the garden center, that dangerous, dangerous place. And this is how it all came about: the weather here is unseasonably warm – around 17°C – and sunny, the sky is very blue, not a cloud in sight, you could walk around in a T-shirt and nobody would think you strange. And so while “sigother” was at work (this was essential to ensure success of my dastardly plan, many of you who have an external voice of reason at home, will relate to this) and I was pulling together a slide deck (IE working) I realized that what I really needed to do was go to the garden center. Last year this (see link: buying loads of plants) happened to me at the bargain shopping center, this year I went to my “doom” of my own free will. And oh it was glorious :)!
Like most addicts, I thought I was really very French in my plant acquiring approach, controlled, dainty, I mean I even said “no” to myself quite a lot and sternly too! I met some lovely French women, who looked at my cart, said “wow it looks like you will have a great balcony” and proceeded to invite themselves to my house for tea “they said, they would bring the cake”… I still regret not giving them a business card and saying, anytime give me a call, oh well. Anyway as said I demonstrated great self-control. And I am sure you agree, looking at the boot of my car at the end of my trip through the center, that I was very good? Having learned from past experience (as described in the post: Unkapputbar – selecting plants that will survive a nuclear holocaust and or just my balcony) that have a balcony means I cannot go totally wild with my plants, and that seeing as it is East facing there is only so much sunlight on offer, which means the plants need to thrive in part shade, I focused on plants that would be happy in these conditions. Let me introduce my new friends : some cute primroses (yellow, purple and a fun purple and yellow small flowered variety), a Pieris japonica (which has small bell-like, heart shaped flowers in abundance (top left of picture), an Astilbe (False Spiraea, False Goat’s beard, Meadow-sweet) top right-hand side in white, one of my favourite flowers: a scabiosa (in the middle in lilac), a violet and one of the children of the bargain rack, which I couldn’t bring myself to leave behind a hellebore, naturally now sans flowers. Oh I also got some Euphorbia, which I also love for their delicate green, and bottom right a Chinese Elm in Bonsai form.
At the check-out counter a small boy looked at the tree and asked his mum “why doesn’t that tree grow bigger?” – I replied ” because we don’t let it, we stick in in a tiny container and restrict all it’s freedoms by chopping off it’s roots and any branch that tries to reach for the sky in an effort to fulfill it’s full potential”. I added “the poor thing”. Probably not the answer the mother would have given….Anyhow that tells you how I feel about loss of degrees of freedom and Bonsai trees, but “sig-other” loves them so I thought I’d bribe him into accepting my trunk-load of flowers by bringing a long a peace offering of a Bonsai :). It worked……!
I then set to work bringing all the plants to the balcony, I realized that my balcony had shrunk since I last saw it and that suddenly all the pots that I had believed to be empty were in actual fact full of plants awakening from a winter slumber and tentatively sending tendrils out towards the sun….I had also forgotten the 4 Camellias sitting outside waiting to be planted, and of course ignored the fact, that having bought plants that like acidic soil I couldn’t easily mix and match. Not all plants have found a home yet, I do have another lot of planters I could put outside, only I did that 2 years ago with the result that you couldn’t actually sit on the balcony……….
Below a marriage of scabiosa with euphorbia (the spellcheck wants to replace this with euphoria, how fitting) and violets which I am quite pleased with. Sadly in this planter nothing tends to survive, the cat used to abuse it (hence the ugly wire), I exchanged the soil about 4 times (it’s 160 liters of soil which is back-breaking work for balcony gardening). Anyway there was no space left anywhere else so I hope the plants below will tough it out..)