greentapestry : From The Confessional

Monday, 8 October 2012

From The Confessional

A fanfare of trumpets, a roll of drums, a celebration was called for. What for you may well ask, to which the answer was to mark a rare event this year - a weekend without rain! I set about to make the most of it spending as much time I possibly could outdoors. Sunday was especially productive as I had no other demands on my time. It was a day that really reflected '"the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" - swirls of morning fog slowly giving way to a still and sunny afternoon. The mercury did not rise to any great heights but it was the ideal weather for pottering. I spent some time in the 'Not Waving But Drowning' border dividing a too big for its space 'Solomon's Seal', thinning out a boisterous clump of geranium phaeum and contemplating other moves. Then on to the greenhouse and the area behind it where I made a start on clearing away some of the debris before it can haunt me in the spring. The day was punctuated by one or two discoveries which made me hang my head in shame, namely ;

  • A tray of stunted, overcrowded nicotiana mutablis seedlings which had never got pricked out. The fact that they still survived is a testament to the amount of rain we have had this summer. If you have not come across this before it is a most attractive half hardy annual with lightly scented flowers, that subtly change colour. The flowers are initially white, then change to a dusty rose before morphing into a deeper magenta, so that with time the plant bears flowers of all three colours. Now this has survived overwinter here before, although not last winter, so I have prised the seedlings apart and planted a dozen of the sturdiest ones into individual pots. They will overwinter in an unheated greenhouse so may survive my neglect.
  • A clump of brunnera which was lying on the ground behind the greenhouse. This had been dug up in early spring but for some reason had never been potted up. Again the abundant wet stuff must have kept it going. It is now has its roots in a pot - whether that will be too much of a shock to the system remains to be seen.
  • Perhaps the worst horticultural crime of the year was the pot containing a physocarpus opulifolius 'Lady In Red', which I had tried for size in the 'Not Waving But Drowning' border. You know what it is like when you are not sure whether a plant is the right place or not. Well I took so long in deciding that the poor plant has rooted into the ground. A careful extraction is now required. 
Finally I have to finish by admitting that those happy and healthy looking squashes you can see at the top of this post did not come from the allotment plot. Much as I would like to take credit I must be truthful - they were bought from a supermarket this morning ~

Give credit to our local branch of Morrisons - they stock a good variety of British grown squashes most autumns. As the season progresses I'm sure that they will have other varieties in store. I did grow squashes from seed and planted them but whilst mine festered the plants that I gave to my allotment neighbour thrived. He has taken great pleasure in regularly showing me their progress but has told me that at least one squash has my name on it.

What about you - have you got any guilty horticultural secrets that you would like to share with the rest of us? 


  1. I hoped to grow N. mutabilis this year, but they never quite made onto any of seed purchases. Perhaps next year...
    I have some Geranium maderense seedlings languishing in the greenhouse which I have neglected since sowing them this spring on a whim, from free seed. The ones abandoned in the seedtray turned up their toes a few months ago, but I did manage to prick a handful out which may yet recover if I face up to them and give them bigger pots. At least I gave one to my mum while it was young and happy, and she has treated it far better, so all is not entirely lost!

  2. I think we'll all be with you, buying squash from the supermarket this year. I'm going to give them another go next year though. I removed all the tomatoes from the plants a while ago now, but the plants themselves are still languishing in the greenhouse. I was so lazy this weekend when I should have been doing jobs such as cleaning out the greenhouse, especially when the weather was so good. Oh well, it'll all get done eventually.

  3. You have to love the hardiness of that Brunnera, soil is optional. I'm picturing you tugging at the physocarpus pot while it tugs back. I guess it decided that soil wasn't optional and planted itself. Now you just have to teach them to unpot themselves first.

  4. If the brunnera doesn't take then you're welcome to some of mine, it grows like a weed here. I haven't grown squash since I gave my allotment up, but even then with all that space I wasn't terribly successful.

    My horticultural secrets - don't look behind the greenhouse at the plants still languishing in pots waiting to be planted out - some of them are very healthy as they've rooted into the soil beneath their pots. Poor things, I must rescue them.

  5. How refreshingly honest, and painfully familiar! I managed to leave most of my guilty horticultural failures behind when I moved, but I was looking at my pot-bound euphorbia plants today and wondering whether they will ever turn in to healthy, good sized plants. Give me a few months, and I am sure I can supply an even more egregious list...

  6. I doubt the comment box would extend sufficiently to include all my guilty secrets this year suffice to say the allotment hasn't been visited for at least a month. Well my mother is enjoying weeding it but then she is mad in that way. I have assorted trays of seedlings lurking around the garden. I have trays of wallflowers and sweet williams which I had intended to use at the allotment but now how no where for but cant bring myself to dump. There is much more that if I think about it I will panic. I was looking forward to this weekend too but my sore back thwarted my efforts so even more fustrating than a wet weekend.

    Hopefully we will get some more nice weekends and my back will oblige and I wont have to report any guilty secrets.

  7. How honest of you to confess! My secret is an old Christmas tree that was in a big pot and was not watered much this summer... just kept forgetting it! (Poor thing has suffered!)

  8. Oh my what gardener hasn't got a long list of guilty secrets. Seedlings left in a cold frame because I forgot to pot them on, plants I was given whilst visiting family which were wrapped in wet kitchen roll and plastic bags for the journey home only then for them to languish in my cold frame until they died. Exotic herbs I've bought but then never used and then end up on the compost heap. The list is embarrassingly long and to preserve some air, at least, of green fingers and horticultural know-how I think I should leave it there :)

  9. I try not to think about my guilty secrets - some things just get left and left and left but hey, no one's going to notice except me.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.