Sunday, 21 March 2010

Pop and Perennials

While it is still regularly below freezing, the perennials are poking their first leaves above ground. It has been pretty grim out there but every time I poke my own nose outside some new plant is optimistically back on the scene.

There are finally tête à tête daffodils, the tulip foliage is looking sturdy and there are shoots on the tree paeony, Geranium phaeum and phlox. I have a shocking track record for growing poppies, although I love them, so I am happy to report that it is looking good on that front too.

The sunshine-yellow Helenium (whose name escapes me) is basically slug bait and takes half a season to get more than 2” high, despite sharp grit and copper barriers, although it is doing its best. Curiously Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ does not get nearly so chomped. Echinacea ‘Fatal Attraction’ was an impulse purchase Hampton Court Show last year and I am waiting with bated breath to see if it has made it through the winter. Bet it hasn’t…

Perennials need regular dividing, best done before they get growing. Mine are not big enough yet but I have some moving - or culling - to do as last year was a bad year for buying the right plant. Or possibly the correctly labelled plant.

For the hot border, I bought the Shiraz-juicy Potentilla ‘Monarch’s Velvet’, which turned out to be a ‘Melton Fire’. And although I know that the big DIY sheds can be a bit dodgy when it comes to plants, in a moment of weakness their dormant perennials look sooo cheap. But Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ turned out to be a violent magenta creature (see above), not scarlet at all and not good next to orange and red. So it needs a new home. (Not, you understand, that I have a corner of my garden devoted to tasteless purple flowers and other sub-standard flora, but I am very bad at ditching plants. It may yet, (possibly), have some hidden merit, and given its provenance it is a miracle it survived in the first place!).

Visiting one of my favourite garden centres in North London, I bought a Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ which is supposed to be soft-pink and fragrant, to scramble up a hibiscus and make it a bit more interesting when it is not flowering itself. I don’t know what I have actually got but it is a rather dull, greyish colour. I entirely forgive it as just five fantastically perfumed blooms scented the whole garden, but its eventual height remains to be seen.

On an entirely less attractive note, I have just seen an advert for something called the ‘Barbie potty training pups playset’ which has the cheery jingle “What’s it going to be/ Puppy poo or puppy wee?” It appears that one waggles a plastic animal that then micturates etc on a mat, to be cleaned up by infants. Oh. My. Dear. Lord. That is repulsive. I am going to lock myself away somewhere genteel and fragrant, (Kew, maybe), until the world has come to its senses.

On the music front while not currently listening to anything myself, my daughter just got Now That’s What I Call 00s for her birthday so I expect to be imminently immersed in decade of pop.

Also looking forward to seeing Big Hand, supported by The Screenbeats. Cool. How about it?

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