Gardening on a budget, Recycling

HORT – An Autumn Garden

Today was a preparation day, as the children focussed on their school work we set off to the shops. Generally I am a weekly shop only person but occasionally we need things outside the realms of our favourite store. Today was a mixed bag of general home supplies and my first plant indulgence since our Brassica’s in spring.

The B&Q store is one place I check for seasonal bargains, as my pots had frazzled this summer, my plants had been scooped out by my daughter earlier on in the year. Generally this time of year I like to spend a little money filling the pots on the decking outside our patio doors. For me this is therapy, firstly the enjoyment of building an Autumn container garden and secondly being able to enjoy the planting when the weather becomes unbearable for my daughter to venture outside.

On searching the store I noticed a pack of Heather, at six for £7 it is one of the only full priced plants I buy, there is nothing better than looking out at the colourful flower tips in the depths of winter. The next is Heuchera, originally these were £7, the tray I found in the sale area was spilling over with foliage and reasonably priced at £3, without a second thought I placed it in the basket.

The small trays of viola and Sweet William were next, across the stock benches the new stock were priced at 4 for £10, these little gems were in perfect health and in a variety of colours so after choosing the colours best to accent the Heather’s and deep green of the Heuchera I set off to the till.

The Viola’s – Harvest Kiss I chose two trays with fantastic flowers, Whereas the Sweet William were in three wonderful varieties, a simply named Red, Violet Flame and Violet Picotee. These trays were on sale for £1 each and I had no problem accepting the saving on wonderfully healthy plants.

I left with plants worth at retail £27, at the delightful cost of £15 and the promise of a beautiful Autumn garden to enjoy all the way through to spring. I knew that I had no soil, however I decided to repurpose the compost I had used to plant my seedling in from the greenhouse, hoping to have enough to fill the pots that balance on my Rill pond.

After finishing my household chores and collecting the children from school I returned to tackle the remnants of my Container Garden.  All of my pots have been collected over the years from car boot sales and markets, they generally are Italian in style and cost no more than a pound. This includes the white seashell planters that are hexagon in shape, I found they fit well with the Belfast sinks that I grow my vegetables in.

After laying out the plants for my metal tub, the plants left were a few ferns that had managed to survive the unusual weather. My youngest daughter placed the plants in the allotted spaces and I firmed them in, the compost was gritty and boggy with the wet weather.

I chose two urn style pots and Placed a Heather, Heuchera and a few well-chosen flowers to add some well needed contrast. I adore these pots especially with these planting combinations, I am hopeful these will last a few years but if not the visual display is well worth the annual outlay.

I finally worked on my balance pots, I tried to plant house leeks in summer but my youngest daughter and the dog had other ideas. This is the problem with teaching your children to grow from seed and plant when they are young, they tend to want to investigate post planting and I often find a plant hidden away in the bottom of the garden.

These pots are ideal for alpines, but today they are filled with a few flowers I planted in my hanging baskets, and a selection of Viola’s and Sweet Williams. I placed the larger flowers in the centre and intermittently planted the different types around the outside of the pot.

The soil I used was from my seed trays and pots in the small greenhouse, which I previously used to raise seedlings in spring. The compost was extremely dry but perfectly suitable to grow the small plants that were set in their new pots.

After Clearing my Belfast sink of Sweetcorn and Marmande tomato plants I began to place the green waste and old plants into the household compost bin. I found a few decent tomatoes during my clear out and set up the pressure washer to clear the decking of moss and soil shifted by the heavy rainfall over the last few weeks.

My two black wicker planters are usually at my front door, so after the photo above, my pots were returned to there place. The others however I will set around into position tomorrow, Usually they are positioned so that they can be viewed throughout the seasons, adding well needed colour to the cool days ahead.

Happy Horticulture!



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