Several posts ago I wrote about how I quickly and rather cheaply added instant impact to the front garden by planting up six trugs with clematis and some bedding. As an alternative to hanging baskets, these six large planters can take a wider range of plants, are less maintenance and create a big statement – or they’re supposed to.
These trugs initially looked bare and completely out of place. I felt embarrassed that these imposing trugs with their tall bamboo wigwams shouting “Oi! Look at me!” only had small, spindly clematis to show off. It wasn’t the effect I was going for. I couldn’t blame the clematis as it was only their first year and they were just getting established. It would take a few more seasons before they filled out. In order to shade the clematis roots, I added some bedding plants to flesh out the show, they were added to the trugs almost as an afterthought.
That bedding, composed simply of trailing lobelias and trailing fuchsias in various colours, turned out to be a very good idea indeed.
With plenty of food, water and sunshine the bedding has gone rampant and now in midsummer, they are a wonderful welcome when pulling into the drive. What used to be an embarrassment has turned into one of the best displays in the garden. I couldn’t imagine the house without them and to think I was on the verge of carting the trugs round to the back, hiding them in shame.
All six trugs are overflowing with fuchsia and lobelia, almost enveloping the black trugs they are planted in. They’ve burst over the sides and are beginning to trail onto the gravel. I still find it hard to believe that this is the result of planting 3cm plug plants, six in each trug just two months ago.
What of the clematis? Well, that’s not such a success story. All the clematis did flower, but they’ve not had an easy time since. Despite the mass of bedding coverage, the exposed position in hot sun meant the trugs still heat up and the clematis roots subsequently suffered, causing the plant above to either die back, brown or wilt, in part or in whole.
One idea I’ve had is to cover the sides of the trugs in tin foil to reflect the heat of the sun, that and keeping the trugs well watered and well fed may be enough to keep the clematis happy. For next season, I shall be doing a little soil replacement and adding well rotted manure into the mix. By then, the clematis should also be better established and will hopefully grow stronger, that way the attention will really be split between the overflowing bedding and the clematis towering above it.
For now though, while I wait, I’m still very happy with my cheap frontage upgrade. Long live clearance clematis and bargain basement bedding!