I’ve never been a bedding fan and always turned my sophisticated nose up at gaudy displays of pansies and begonias planted en-mass in usually hideous patterns. However, with the six trugs lining the front of the house I got my chance at bedding this summer by filling them with trailing fuchsias and lobelia. I defend myself by pointing out the fact that these are not traditional bedding plants at all, but plants more attuned to hanging baskets, it’s just that my baskets were somewhat larger and supported at ground level.
The display was wonderful and incredibly uplifting, especially when the rest of the garden is a work in progress. The only thing missing was an irrigation system that was more reliable than my memory of when it was that I last got the hose out. It turns out that even large trugs need regular watering over the of summer when they’re crammed this full of flowering plants.
Now that we’re well into Autumn – despite the very mild weather we’ve had – the summer display is over, the fuchsias have dropped all their leaves and the lobelia have long since flowered and turned brown. What to do now?
Well, in an effort to try to keep the flowering going all year-round I decided to put the trugs to use as winter bedding containers. I also took the opportunity to completely refresh the soil (turning out the clematis and replanting them again). The new soil was a mix of well-rotted manure, compost and some of the old soil. I’m hoping that the well-rotted manure will hang on to the water much better than the previous soil did. So off we trotted to a local garden centre to get some pansies.
The clematis were also pruned hard in some kind of vague attempt to try and get them to grow better next season. Like all my attempts to help clematis, it probably won’t work. Anyway, after much huffing and puffing, soil mixing, transplanting and carting about of trugs, the winter display is now complete and will persist until well into next year – when the time comes to get the summer bedding back in – at which point I will have hopefully plumbed in a more reliable watering system.
These trugs were only supposed to be a temporary measure; an easy and instant flower display while the true borders were being restored and planted in the background. Once the borders were in bloom, the trugs would no longer be needed. However, after spending a season with them lining the front of the house, I felt it would look odd if they were taken away. The trugs have become a permanent feature of the front garden, all six lined in front of the house greeting us, visitors and passers by. It would be very handy if I could change the display at the push of a button. Schemes that have run through my head are:
- A regiment of six canariensis or other exotic palms
- A line of six trugs stuffed with billowing Agapanthus
- A row of six trugs stuffed with regal Strelitzia
- A rank of six large, beautifully intricate bonsai
I could have something different each day of the week or – like my desktop wallpaper – a change every thirty minutes. As it is, real life dictates a slower pace of change. At the moment it’s summer and winter bedding and it will probably stay at that. It’s not too-shabby a display for it though, especially given the season.