The pot-bound and the scented

This evening I went out to water the plants – mostly the ones in pots, as once they’re in the ground I make them find their own water supply, cruel person that I am. Stepping outside I was struck by a beautiful scent, and knew instantly where it came from – it was D.R.’s skimmia.

Readers of my other blog will know that I keep pet rats. Now, rats have short lives and when they pop off, if they go at home, a place needs to be found for them. As we live in rented houses, we carry them around in pots crowned by (hopefully) attractive, healthy plants. Doesn’t always work, but we try. The skimmia producing gorgeous perfume at the moment is home to D.R., one of our first boys. It’s a handsome show-off of a plant when in flower, and suits D.R. perfectly.

Nearby is his friend and cagemate, Quinch, with his dwarf photinia.

I love a photinia. The almost plastic glossiness of the leaves and the shameless scarlet of the new growth. I always try to have at least one in the garden.

A few years ago we had a little tearaway of a girl called Roxie. When her time came, we put her with an established plant which has since then continued to flourish – our dwarf pieris.

A pretty little shrub with variegated leaves, like the photinia the new growth is red. At the moment it’s covered in sprays of little white bell-like flowers and the new foliage is just appearing. Every so often Mum tells me that pieris aren’t really happy in pots – so I can only hope this one will continue to be happy for just a little longer.

The very first to be ‘potted’ was Halo – she is buried under this lovely plant.

It’s a Something Something nigrescens – I check the name regularly but can never remember it. Last summer it produced a few delicate pink flowers – it can also have purple berries in autumn, but so far hasn’t managed that.

We recently repotted Chira, a little girl who died in late Decmber 2009. Her first plants were pretty but didn’t make it through last winter, so this time we have chosen a striking cordyline which at least has the advantage of needing a fleece jacket in cold weather – that way, we know it will need some help and can be prepared.

And the most recent loss, Domino, has a lovely delicate andromeda polifolia to keep her warm.

There  are others – Sigma with her box, Magna with her little patio rose, and Zelda who is going to need repotting again as her plant has succumbed over the winter. Any suggestions? Something feisty and determined would suit her.

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