This year, pretty much for the first time, the Priory has produced some self-sown seedlings for me to use. There is just so much space to fill that I’m grateful for any freebies. Especially freebies in quantity. Forget-me-not for example, is a wonderful filler and, to my mind, even a centre stage performer early on in the season. In abundance it can carpet otherwise empty beds in an extensive, frothy down of pale blue. Lovely. I introduced it from my own garden last year. It has self-sown and produced dozens and dozens of seedlings. In the past few weeks, as I have been mulching all the borders with mushroom compost, I’ve transplanted as many as possible. I am hoping that, maybe next year, the whole of the Rock Bed will be a sea of blue come spring.
Similarly, I have dug up and potted some 60 self-sown foxgloves. I will plant most of these in a small patch of woodland on the driveway that leads down to the Priory from the road.
|Foxglove seedlings ripped rudely from a bed and potted up.|
With the exception of one small clump of ‘gloves in a corner of the west lawn, this normally abundant and common flower was curiously missing from the Priory. So. Last year I dug up a couple of dozen unwanted plants from a garden that I was working in and moved them to the Priory. At the same time, I sowed some white foxglove seed (Digitalis purpurea alba). The former flourished, flowered and set seed. About 30 of the latter germinated and I subsequently planted them out. They will flower this year (or I’ll want to know the reason why).
Seed doesn’t necessarily come true from fox gloves, so as to ensure more white ones next year, I have sown more alba seeds in the greenhouse.
During the ‘wilderness years’ (the years when the garden was mostly neglected) some lupin seeds had lain dormant in the garden for, when I weeded the borders, dozens of them sprang into life. Most of these I also dug up and potted on. Some I left in situ to see what would develop. They turned out to be a colour mix and some of the pinks and apricot (yuk) are not to my taste. I have bought seed for ‘The Governor’. This is a stately blue and white lupin and will start to take over lupin duties next year, perhaps along with a vibrant red.
Basically, I’m grabbing what I can in terms of free plants to fill the spaces in the gardens. I know that in the years to come I will be producing all sorts of plants on a Carol Klein scale by various means of propagation but in the meantime, I grab what self-sown seedlings there are and beg divisions off friends. I do buy plants as well but to fill all the beds would be, well jolly expensive indeed.
I did recently buy an helenium half price in a garden centre sale. Cost me £3 but having split it up I’ve now got some 17 plants! A bargain like this really, really pleases me. Like really.