Here at Pig Row we have an affection for gardening in pots; it is a reminder of Drovers where we gardened only in pots and tiny beds. There is something instantly satisfying about terracotta against lush green foliage. Today, we decided to rescue our terracotta pots from the overgrown, weed infested front garden. They have been there for over two years, placed in a corner by the house movers who brought us here.
Brushed down, crocked and filled with compost they have been planted up and placed in the area we call the cloister. You can see from the photo above the wall we are planning to remove is in the background. This supports a lower bed that is slowly collapsing and will be dug out, providing us with a further five feet of space to widen this area further. It will also uncover more of beautiful wall that runs around our boundary at this level. This wall vanishes into the hillside and becomes a retaining wall for the lower part of our garden. Without this wall we would have long ago been gardening with our neighbours against both our wills. Bless this strong retaining wall.
As you can see we haven't wasted the top of the wall as a planting area. We have used a mix of F1 Scarlet Geraniums (from Fothergills) and Nasturtium Jewel Cherry Rose (from D.T. Brown) alongside the rosemary that we brought with us from Drovers, now in fresh pots. The greatest discovery of the day was some marjoram and mint found lingering in some pots in the undergrowth. Sorry for themselves, ailing and wan they have been potted on and hopefully in this sheltered spot will thrive.
All these plants are by the back door leading to the kitchen, the herbs are culinary but are also tactile, along with the geraniums to create a sensory experience.
The plants on the top of the wall are also from Fothergills, bought in spring as plug plants and grown on. This is an economical way to grow your own plants without the initial problem of seed sowing.
The planting at this end of the cloister mirrors the far end that we planted up late last month. This is not the final design but a stop gap to bring life to a narrow area that we have big plans for.
The great thing about pots is that they can hide unsightly areas, under these pots are a manhole cover for our drains, ugly concrete and a dead drain that leads to nowhere, there is also a blow off pipe for our water tank which as the plants grow they will mask but won't inhibit in an emergency. As we planted the back door, it seemed a shame not to do something with the front. The garden here needs to be stripped back and the path moved early next year but even in these problem areas, something can be done to bring in colour whilst we wait to do this.
Here we have the same plants but with the addition of a terracotta gnome hiding in the foliage of a strawberry plant given to me.
The gnome is protecting that strawberry. The plant pot is plastic but the foliage masks it. The pot came as a hanging basket, on Pig Row hanging baskets do not survive in the wind and rain. However we removed the chains and it is nice to see that by raising the pot up on bricks it keeps the fruit off the ground and allows it to set in the south facing sunny aspect.
The great thing about this is that this little project cost so little. The strawberry plant was a gift, most of the pots I have picked up over the years as gifts, finds or donations. Even the gnome came from Ikea several years back and cost all of £1. I used two bags of compost, which cost £4.98 for 80 litres, the plants were roughly £6-7 for 100. The geraniums from plug plants and the nasturtium from seed, the herbs have been with us for some time but taking into account that these initially only cost us £1.50, the overall project per plant cost a whopping 14 pence. I still have plants to plant too and compost left over. That means my front door display cost only £1.40 and my back door planting cost £3.04. Now, who can argue with that? And the display, will just keeping billowing out and over the pots running from cherry pinks to deep scarlet red as the wet summer progresses.