Friday, 26 November 2010

Winter Bulbing - Do you?


These two pictures show the same area (different angles) of the garden in December 2009 and May 2010.
Same pots, no plants added or removed. This is an example of what you can look forward to if you put bulbs under your winter plantings.

What bulbs are you planting?

“Beating the Winter Blues” - My Cures for Seasonal Affective Disorder

I’m quite willing to come indoors and blog today, it’ll give my toes the chance to thaw out. I have only a few pots left to plant up for the winter/spring displays (I plant at least 200 between mid September and the end of November) so it's time for me to warm up.

“Beating the Winter Blues” 
Last weekend, the body heat of the hundreds of people helped warm Whichford Pottery, as we all gathered for our Christmas Sale, to listen to Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener at Great Dixter, a genius of succession planting and Christopher Lloyd’s representative on earth.
Following on from him on Sunday, I chose to address my fear of the dark days of winter and offer solutions to"beat the winter blues". 

One horticultural cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder is to plant a few pots near your door or visible from your windows with evergreens, perennials and winter bedding, putting as many bulbs as your pocket money will allow underneath them. Crocus shoots are already appearing, these alone lift your spirits but if you have planned carefully their flowers can be followed by narcissi, tulips, alliums, even lilies. I think of it as planning myself a very slow (nine or ten months) firework display.

It’s getting a bit late to plant everything except tulips and lilies. But that doesn’t stop me. Ideally you should buy what you need in September (you’ll get the best choice at our bulb sale of course…) and start planting immediately.  It never works like that, though does it? If you have somewhere cool and dry to store your bulbs it is possible to carry on planting right into early December, although I find that narcissi and irises in particular become gradually less viable.

If you still haven’t bought any bulbs then you may be able to find a few at garden centres but check them carefully to make sure they haven’t shrivelled up or sprouted badly. Sometimes they are worth trying, especially if they are discounted for quick sale. Some may be available growing in little plastic pots; these are useful stopgaps but an expensive way of buying bulbs.

Lilies are fine for planting during the winter and you can put other plants or bedding on top of them so that the pot looks interesting now. More on this another time.

Time to get outside again. My toes are saying “NO! Let’s just go to the pub and sit by the fire”, but my head is saying “Get on with it while it isn’t raining”. Oh well, here goes...

Make sure you don't miss our next workshop weekend on Saturday 11th December. It's your chance to create your very own hand-made wreath with the help of inspirational flower arranger Ann Anson.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Harriet Rycroft, Whichford Pottery's Head Gardener

Welcome to Whichford Pottery's Garden.
Making the most of your container garden with ideas from idyllic Whichford

Click here to read the latest post.


Whichford Pottery and its surroundings are beautiful and relaxing to visit, but if you can't get here in person now you have the chance to see what we do in more detail.

I spend a lot of time planning and creating year-round displays at the pottery, so I'll be letting you know what I'm up to at the moment. You can follow me behind the scenes and see both the successes and the failures (well, the ones I'm not too embarrassed about, anyway). I hope to include plenty of photographs so that you can see how the plantings develop through the year.

I want my blog to help gardeners to make the most of their own pots. People worry too much about gardening - it is supposed to be relaxing, not a test. I want to dispel some of the myths and confusion about container planting, give some tips and ideas along the way, and most of all to encourage people to experiment and not to be intimidated by prescriptive books and programmes - creative gardening is certainly helped by technical knowledge, but I would say careful observation of your plants and learning from trial and error are just as important. All this combined with a willingness to pinch other people's ideas will get you a long way - it's how I do it anyway!

Click here to read the latest post, I'll do my best to write a new one every week..

All the photographs are by me and Copyright Harriet Rycroft unless otherwise stated.
Hope you enjoy the blog - please don't hesitate to comment if you have suggestions or questions.

Harriet Rycroft
Head Gardener