Friday, 14 December 2012

Choosing my prize

Well I thought that would be a difficult job, choosing which plants to get as my prize. I didn't know whether to go for tools (I already have loads) or to go for enough seeds to fill the plot next year. The seeds won out. I could easily have spent hundreds of pounds, so many plant & seeds, gardener's heaven. I whittled them down to those I really love to eat and some that I have never tried. I also chose a plant and the Dutch Iris bulbs I so loved.
So a big thank you goes out to Spalding Bulb & Plant Co. for my free plants.
Just for everyone else below is my choice.

Savoy Cabbage 'Melissa' F1 Hybrid

Mixed Lettuce Seed Tape
Cherry Tomato ‘Black Cherry’
Sweetcorn 'Bloody Butcher'
Parsnip ‘Guernsey’ Seed Tape
Cucumber 'Confida' F1 Hybrid
Climbing Scarlet Runner 'Lady Di'
Broccoli 'Marathon F1 Hybride'
Pumpkin 'Atlantic Giant'
Climbing French Bean 'Regius'
Japanese Anemones
Opium Poppy 'Danish Flag'
Seed Pads Fine Chives
Dutch Iris 'Silvery Beauty'


Wow, I won the  Spalding Plant & Bulb Company's Spring Bulb competition. This has been a good year after all, I was sitting there thinking I don't have much luck with competitions (never won the lottery, well OK I have but only £7) and I though "hold on" you won the Culpepper's book of Herbs from Tanya and now the Spalding's blog comp, not to mention getting a photo into Amateur Gardening magazine. Sue was a runner up and I checked out some of the other sites that were involved in the competition. I'm doing well.
My plants aren't though. The pigeons have had at most of what is left down on the allotment, the last few Calabrese heads, the Broccoli spears, the cabbages are shredded and most of the (blown) Brussels Sprouts have been eaten. So far the Kale is the only thing they haven't touched.
I did find some Beetroot hiding under the ground, I thought I had better lift those that were there, thinking they were small, but turned out that under the soil there were some large ones.
No photos today, too wet and windy and there isn't anything to look at down on the plot now.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Spalding blogger's club

Well, those of you who also read Sue's blog will know all about the competition from Spalding's. The idea is we have to choose up to 5 bulbs for a spring patio tub display. Well it harder than I thought. As I had already read Sue's post I thought I had better not use the same bulbs, although I must say she had picked 2 that I liked very much, the Fritillaria and the Tulips. Now I'm not one for bulbs at all and I certainly don't like yellow, in fact I have quite a fear of Daffodils. But I do love Alliums so of course I knew I had to include these, but Spalding's has quite a few of them to choose from and I couldn't possibly choose them all (or could I? don't worry I didn't).

So for my first bulb I chose Allium Karataviense 'Ivory Queen' The leaves are silvery-green with pale purple veins, and the flowers are a pinkish-white to cream.

'Ivory Queen' is unique, low-growing, very decorative and excellent for pots and planters (according to Spalding). Also suitable as a dried flower.

It flowers from May to June, to a height of about 25cm.

For my second bulb I chose the Sicilian Honey Garlic (yes I can get away with this, it's not exactly an Allium).

This bulb grows to about 1m in height and has very pretty flowers of green and white with touches of pink/lilac. I felt this would bring a touch of warmth to the Allium's contrast of cool colours.

They flower June/July and need to be planted about 10cm deep. 

Now I decided to only choose 3 different bulbs. Less is more as the saying goes. To be honest I usually only put 2 different plants in my pots at home, one tall and one trailing or low growing. Either that or ones that flower at different times but of course that would defeat the object of a Spring flowering pot.

So for my third bulb I chose my absolute favourite, Dutch Iris 'Silvery Beauty'.

I thought that the colour would compliment the Alliums and the grass-like leaves would be able to "poke" up through the wider leaves of the Alliums.

They have a slightly warmer shade of purple which would bring the cool shades of the Alliums and the warm shades of the Garlic together.

The Dutch Iris grows to about 50cm in height, just above the Alliums and allowing the Garlic to stand clear of the tops of the flowers. They flower from May to July.

Now Spalding Bulb Blogger Club didn't specify what type of "tub" they wanted us to use, as the bulbs I chose are silvery/mauve I feel they would look good in a stone colour coloured bowl, not too shallow, not too deep. Too shallow would not allow for the layering of the bulbs and of course different sized bulbs are planted at different depths (drainage material also needs to be placed in the bottom) and I feel that if it were too deep the height of the Garlic wouldn't be appreciated.