A recent trip to a flower show at Tatton Park, Manchester, was a visit only to see if I could get inspiration and ideas to try anything new. A flower show, to a gardener, is like Christmas come early. I was adamant I was not going to buy just because I liked the look of something. Usually when that happens, I’m left scratching my head, wondering where I’m going to put it. Annuals are fine, they die off at the end of the season, but there are times you forget perennials don’t just come back as they did before, they often multiply. The space you think they are leaving, is no longer there and a newly planted specimen hasn’t a look-in, when the older, established plant crowds it out.
I have been trying to find a solution to this problem as my garden is very small and it isn’t always convenient to divide plants at the correct time. Spring for us this year was wetter and colder than winter, so it was left too late for the annual cull. I solved the problem this year by keeping newer plants in pots, which made moving them around to more suitable gaps in the planting, easier.
The Christmas Rose had bloomed all winter and spring, and a resting place was found in the shade near the pond. I have a young Rodgersia in a pot which will probably need re-potting next year but as long as it’s in a pot, it can be moved. I did buy another Rodgersia at the charity plant sale, when I had the idea of giving the garden a tropical look, but it might just be a little big and could have been a mistake. I will probably find another home for it before long, but not in my garden. I also bought a bamboo at the same sale and it should be fine in a pot and being tall, it should complement other plants rather than take them over.
It was an enjoyable day at the flower show. However, I didn’t really find much new that someone with a small garden could cope with, except for the alliums. A flower show must be like a summer banquet for pollinating insects. I don’t think I have seen so many bees of different varieties on one kind of plant before.
The little blackcurrant, round-headed Allium sphaerocephalon is a later flowering allium, so handy to have as the earlier, summer flora start to lose their appeal. My daughter counted four different varieties of bees on that one group. It’s deemed to be poisonous in large quantities, but still edible in smaller quantities and can replace onion in recipes. So although I didn’t buy bulbs there, I will add that one to my list for next year.
The other good news, apparently the sap of the allium repels moths, so I’m sure it is worthy of a place in the garden.