Himself has suggested to me that the title of this blog should be 'The Theoretical Gardener' before quickly ducking for cover. There may well be something in this. I will read avidly about gardens and gardening, visit gardens and nurseries until my feet give up and take great satisfaction in growing fruit and vegetables and propagating new plants. However when it comes to putting it all together, the design side and maintenance I think that I will never progress beyond wearing 'L- plates'.
The above glimpse is a case in point where I have crammed in too much for the space to cope with. Just how do you strike the balance between unsightly patches of bare earth and being cramped in too close together for comfort and optimum growth? I am unable to gauge how much plants will grow, how long this will take and to adjust accordingly. This back to front spring can take some of the blame this year - growth got off the starting block at phenomenal pace in March, with the perennials sprinting away faster than Usain Bolt. I was away for a short time during that warm spell, when it would have been a great time to get in there to move and divide. Since then it seems to have done little else but rain, so time to spend outdoors has been at a premium - in fact taking up permanent residence in the greenhouse seems a more attractive option. Somewhere in the space between the dicentra specatablis (yes I know it has a new name) and the lamium orvala is a most attractive 'Pacific Coast' iris - you can see the strappy grey leaves as well as plant with a real tongue twister of a name - Mathiasella bupleuroides 'Green Dream'.
I bought the iris many years ago on a visit to a NGS garden on the outskirts of Liverpool. It was in flower at the time which is the very reason why I bought it. It flowers in May sadly but briefly and is a most bewitching colour. I will try and post a photo when and if it flowers this year, providing that flowers are visible underneath the canopy. The mathiasiella is a more recent purchase - 2010 vintage I think. It did nothing last year - in fact it looked very poorly after the cold winter and I was resigned to its loss. However it slowly and miraculously perked up so I was looking forward to seeing its subtle flowers this spring. Now I'm not sure how well it will do - it certainly could have done with moving away from the dicentra and allowed some breathing space. I'm sure that plants like us quiver if somebody invades their personal space.
Hopefully somebody will sooner will invent an app which will solve my dilemma. In the meantime perhaps I should be ruthless and divide/move even if it is not the ideal time. Is it just me or do other people find this aspect of gardening the most challenging? Answers on a postcard please!
The title of the post is borrowed from the poem 'Not Waving But Drowning' - by Stevie Smith - not the most cheerful of poems but I thought it an appropriate description for how my plants must feel.