This is Sybil less than an hour after her bath – a bath taken in honour of Bea’s birthday. When she sauntered into the kitchen and deposited a favourite chewy toy at my feet, in the hope of a game, the muddy mask and little black feet gave her away. Whilst I was icing the cake, she’d been busy at the bottom of the garden. Again. I’m not sure the poor Hemerocallis can take much more. I am feeling quite worried my bulbs. Not that I’ve planted any of them yet. But this really doesn’t bode well, does it? Ideas anyone?
Having waved two children off to camp on Monday morning I celebrated with a trip to Henleaze Garden Shop, an extraordinary garden centre stuffed into what appears to be a suburban back garden. I have to admit that it doesn’t look very interesting from the outside – riot of bedding plants probably sums it up, which is fine if bedding plants are your thing, but they aren’t really mine, or at least not in my tiny garden. Had it not been for a friend’s enthusiasm for the place, I would never have bothered with it. But I ventured over a few weeks ago and have returned at least five times since (in fact, as I write this, I’m thinking that perhaps I could squeeze in a quick visit before collecting a tired, and no doubt muddy, Matilda whose coach is due back in an hour).
My mission on Monday was to buy some winter savory and a few bamboo poles for the runner beans I’m putting in at the bottom of the garden. But shopping for plants doesn’t really work like that does it? I spotted the winter savory, found the bean poles, and was then distracted by a tray of the geum I bought last week in Wales. As I stood gazing at them, wondering if I could justify buying a few more, Julie, the friend responsible for my Henleaze Garden Shop habit, tapped me on the shoulder. She can’t keep away either. Having admitted to one another that we’d both come in for specific things and weren’t going to buy anything else, we swiftly gave each other permission to go off piste. So I came home with two globe artichokes and three geums as well as the other stuff.
I planted the artichokes in an old tin bath on the first level of the terracing to provide some height and a bit of drama. I thought they looked rather lovely, and was feeling very pleased with myself, but this morning they looked tragic and floppy. I think they need to be moved – I suspect they need deeper, freer draining soil.
Fortunately all my other Henleaze Garden Shop purchases are thriving. Above is the daylily, Hemerocallis “Margaret Perry”, one of several Hemerocallis available at HGS. And this what I like about the place – for such a small garden centre there is an astonishing amount of choice. Not just one cultivar of daylily, but three or four, and the same goes for all manner of herbaceous perennials. Last time I visited I watched as one member of staff potted up a rose for a customer who had bought it as a present. How many garden centres do that, I wonder?
Looking at my garden today, I’ve decided that I need more of the scabious I bought a few weeks ago, and no doubt I’ll have more before the day is over. And that is the downside of having a nice, well-stocked garden centre within such easy reach: I can make a snap decision like that and then act on it all too easily. No need to reflect on it. No time to reflect on it.
But two things before I head out … as you can see from the first photograph, the walls and windows have been painted (though scaffolding remains). And hooray! this is one of those Friday posts highlighting local shop, person or thing, that I promised would be weekly and then failed to deliver. I’ve taken an executive decision to move my own goal posts and decided that this sort of post will be… sporadic.