AS FEATURED IN THE EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES
‘Pretty plants that look nice together’ was not, I was informed, a suitably professional sounding theme for a display.
But ultimately that is what most of us are trying to achieve in our gardens.
Forget the nature-bending fantasy of Chelsea, you’ll have more fun with a less buttoned-up approach.
‘Proper’ gardening involves planting in the dormant months, but for instant pleasure you can’t beat picking the perfect perennial and putting it straight in the garden amongst flowering friends.
The easiest way to do this is to wander round the nursery with plant in hand, holding it up against potential candidates until you find the perfect border-mates; maybe the froth of a Lady’s Mantle, Mexican Fleabane or Geranium with the vertical spires of Foxgloves, Lupins and Delphiniums, or the pop of colour from a Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ or ‘Love and Wishes’.
And that was the fun of finalising our choices for our Suffolk Show stand: in the main, the plants volunteered themselves for the short trip from Katie’s Garden Plant Centre to the Suffolk Showground, waving their blooms in the air to call “pick me!”
It would have been nice if just one of the dozens of Peonies we have on the nursery had cared to open a bud in time, but no matter, they had only themselves to blame for missing out on a minibreak at Trinity Park. The Lavenders were budding prettily, the alpines were providing an array of shapes, textures and colours in miniature, and the herbs were looking fresh and enticing.
We can lay claim to good form with our own-grown herbs: it wasn’t so long ago that some of our fennel made their way into a Chelsea gold medal winning garden, having started life in the long border at our plant centre in Monks Eleigh. Although anyone who has visited Bridge Farm Plants will know it’s the behemothic Cardoons that deserve a prize.
Before the Suffolk Show, there was the small matter of delivering and hanging up all 99 of the Deben Inns’ floral baskets. I can report that Susie and Rick now have ladder skills to rival a window cleaner, and we have the perfect excuse for a staff pub crawl, to check on their progress (although it’s the desserts menus the Katie’s Garden team will be hitting hard, not the drinks!).
There aren’t many rights or wrongs in gardening. If you like a combination, then it’s right!
Gardening advice by Catherine McMillan
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