Now that I’ve decided on gardening glasnost (see ‘To Make A Gardener Anxious’), I can tell you all about one of my less resounding successes. (Plenty more of these to come).
A large garden, with expanses of water, The Priory was just screaming out for Gunnera manicata – giant rhubarb. Growing two to three metres high and up to four metres wide, gunnera would sit well with the scale of the grounds and frankly, the pond banks are quite bare. Besides, I’ve worked in gardens with it before and it is simply a jaw-dropping plant. I mean, it’s just so flipping BIG. And, most importantly, I wanted to be able to parade about the gardens with a gunnera parasol.
Just like this chap:
The latter is doing alright. This is it above (with my foot to give some idea of scale) and I’m expecting great things of it. They take a while to get established …
And the original one? Er, not so good. Here it is. It was doing as well as the other one – until last year. In May 2010, as it burst into growth, I scraped aside its heavy winter mulch (they’re not hardy and need winter protection) just in time for a heavy, late, hard frost! I’m such an idiot – I thought I was being helpful! Didn’t kill it but seriously knocked it back. Generally though, it doesn’t seem too happy in this spot and I think it might be a little too dry for it. Might just dig it up, split it (it’s actually a big plant despite the size of its leaves) and relocate.
Never going to get a pretty parasol at this rate.