Things I love, #294: buying plants. Things I love, #295: buying cheap plants. Signs saying “Reduced” or “Clearance” are always good, especially at the garden centre.
So today, wanting to get a few more plants to fill gaps in the flowerbed, we went to the garden centre and headed straight for the clearance stands. We came home having bought two oriental poppies, two osteospermum, a helichrysum, a potentilla and a lupin, all at half price. The lupin and the poppies have probably done their flowering for this year but they’ll be back next year. The osteospermum and the potentilla are all covered in buds. And the helichrysum, well, that smells of curry and will help to discourage our feline visitors.
Some years ago we went plant shopping and one of the plants on our list was a dicentra. Now, I love dicentra – I know they have short flowering seasons but they are so pretty, and each year they come back bigger and better than ever. The dicentra in our local garden centre were £7 or £8, but we spotted one in the reduced section for about £3. It was a bit sad looking, half of its stems were broken, and it had finished flowering for the year, but we bought it and took it home. In the ground it went, and after a tense few weeks it started to perk up. For the next couple of years, until we moved out of that house, it flowered beautifully in spring and made us glad we’d rescued it.
This March I found a leucothoe for half price, a bit tatty and unkempt, but in our flowerbed it’s doubled in size and looks much healthier. We’ve also had end-of-season ceanothus which has done just fine. Yes, the joys of the reduced shelves. Not just for supermarkets.
In other news, I have to post a picture of our patio rose. We bought this almost a year ago to plant over Magna’s remains, and this year it’s been spectacular. It’s covered with yellow blooms, and has many more buds forming.
But yesterday I noticed something odd – you can see it in the above photo, but I also took a close-up:
Some of the blooms have been more peach-coloured on first opening and then faded to yellow, but this is the first time I’ve seen a peach one fully open, or two colours on the same cluster of blooms, or one bloom with both colours. I think it’s stunning.
Also stunning: last time we went to visit Mum, we bought plants on the way back from lunch, as you do. Her local Spar shop sells some very good plants fairly cheap, and amongst other things we bought a hardy dianthus and a fuschia. So I just have to share these pictures, as these are some of the most gorgeous flowers imaginable. The dianthus must be a double-flowered variety as each flower seems to have more than its fair share of petals, and the colours are lovely :
The fuscia looks as though it’s made out of satin:
Lots of other things are getting ready to flower – the asters and rudbeckias Mum grew from seed, the crocosmia, the African marigolds – and the annuals we bought to fill space are still doing beautifully. We picked and ate our first two strawberries the other day – a bit sharp, but the first ones often are, and there are more coming. Quite a few tomatoes, too, though not as many as last year.