The Scottish summer has been a disaster for the garden this year, seasons are changing and now when it’s autumn, we get the better weather. It’s too late for most produce I am waiting to ripen so have given up on anything unlikely to make it from now on.
I’ve cleared some of the containers and planted spring bulbs in them, I don’t want them lying unused even if it is to grow flowers. It has been a big mistake to plant the vegetables slugs and snails hold with high esteem. This year has been especially bad for them, good for them but bad for the gardener that is!
My small garden is quite boggy although I do have a lot of plants which seem to thrive in it and don’t seem to appeal to our slimy friends. I am studying plant catalogues to find edible plants which are less likely to have the same temptation.
The decision was also made to try the tropical look for the non-edible part of the garden. I have some plants already which give the impression that the West of Scotland is not too cold or wet, even although at times it does feel that we are part of an Amazonian jungle which has drifted towards the northern hemisphere taking the rain with it whilst leaving the sun behind.
I ordered Billbergia nutans, a bromeliad which is fairly undemanding and will make itself at home in the crook of a tree branch or hanging from somewhere suitable. It likes rain and shade and best of all can survive -25°/-30°.
I also bought a Leycesteria formosa, although also known as Himalayan Honeysuckle, I know it as Pheasant Berry. I had one for years in a previous house and it’s an impressive shrub which can be cut back in the autumn and will throw out new shoots in the spring. It wasn’t invasive and when in bloom, you can’t help being impressed with it.
Of course the company I bought these plants from also threw in a free gift of two Trachycarpus fortunei or Windmill Palm. Thankfully I have been assured they can be kept for a few years in a pot. At a maximum growth height of about 70ft, I think it might seem a bit overambitious otherwise.
My next tropical impression was a Green Goddess, Zantedeschia aethiopica, a poisonous plant but very pretty.
The tropical Polianthes, pink sapphire was kept under cover in the hope it would be warm enough for them but the cold spring and summer meant the bulbs were reluctant to show and when they did, the slugs ate the green shoots. They have grown a little bit in spite of that but they didn’t flower. Clivia sown from seed about two years’ ago have yet to flower, I will take them indoors for winter to see if that will help. The greenhouse will hopefully house Tacca chantrieri or Black Bat plant. I have tried to grow them before and failed. Perhaps next year will be better.
My little lime caviar tree is the worry for overwintering, it is frost-tender but is not suitable for indoors, it’s thorns are lethal.
I have a lot more planned for next year, I also have a variety of new seeds in preparation for the new year and spring sowing with the hope I have learned a few lessons from mistakes I made this year. Luckily my neighbour has offered me use of his greenhouse and I will be able to put some tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in it for my neighbours to help themselves to. I usually give away extra seedlings anyway so that will ensure my neighbours can get their share.
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