I have been thinking about doing some retro-planting for a year or so now. It started with some alyssum and quickly developed into a wish to grow some alyssym and blue lobelia alternating in the garden. This was the type of gardening I grew up with and a nostalgic wish made it seem like a nice thing to try.
I did not appreciate that this would be more challenging than I expected. Let me start this story with last year....
Last year I started to grow some alyssum from seed but could not get the blue lobelia to germinate. This was frustrating but undeterred I thought I would get around this by ordering some lobelia plugs.
Can I give you my top tip when ordering plug plants? Check when it says they will be despatched. If you buy late in the season, which I did, it might be the case that they are not delivered until the following Spring.
Yes, that's right, I had to wait for them.
Which neatly brings us on to this year. This time I lost my alyssum seeds, I should have known then that the fates were out to thwart me. However some had survived the winter and I thought that I could get away with them for another year. The blue lobelia plugs duly arrived and I potted them on carefully. All was well.
Then I planted out the first batch, the slugs swooped in on them and they were reduced to stalks.
Undeterred I planted out a few more.
The slugs swooped again, burped in gratitude and lay in wait for the next batch. Even I am not foolish enough to just plant out more, so I put out some organic slug pellets and they are sort of limping along. However the effect is nothing like I intended yet and I wonder if it ever will be.
and then fate stepped in to lend a hand. Fate decided to wear a hole in my coal scuttle. I realised this after I kept seeing little coal-dusty spots on the carpet when I had moved the coal scuttle, a quick check and I was wandering around like dear Liza with a hole in my bucket.
I put the scuttle in the utitlity room thinking I would put it out for the rubbish. Then Serendipity, whom we already know to be muse, gave me a bit of flick around the ear and pointed to the coal scuttle.
I was perplexed, what was I looking at other than a coal scuttle with a hole in the base?
and then it dawned on me. I have spent years reading those gardening mags where they make amusing planting in recycled containers. For years I wondered where these people got their unwanted coal scuttles from to plant up. Now I knew!
*with due reference to Douglas Adams: