I had forgotten how much time these information packed courses demand if one is to make the absolute most of the teacher and their time. Unplanned interruptions for me in week 2 made it a rush to complete in the given timescale, although Charlie is so charming going over a few days wouldn’t be a problem.
The lecture was more of a list of excellent plants and their timings, needs and uses and is certainly one I will be returning to as I am sure, once through is definitely not enough. A slight disconnection between plants being described and what is being shown on (video) screen might confuse some as to what is what, image titles in the documentation would be really helpful. But then there is Google!
Trying to chose what to grow, even though I have, effectively, an enormous plot, was difficult. I am a collector. Not just of Iris but of plants in general. I love the rare and unusual but also have a strong desire to grow anything that I may want to use with clients, so at least I know how they respond to my growing conditions (tough) and what they really do, and when. It’s a start. So the perennial beds are already burgeoning and not necessarily with good cutting specimens. There will be ruthless editing this Autumn.
In the plant pallet planning knew that I should be aiming for 60/40 foliage to flowers, yes really, more foliage than flowers in fact it’s really double foliage to flowers so that’s 67/33, even worse on the flouncy flower front! Then trying to blend that in with the perennials that are dotted about already, caused a bit of a brain freeze. Back to trusty old Vectorworks with a long list of must haves. After placing foliage, I have almost none currently, the next step was to think about Seasonal gaps and fill them, next of course was to identify spaces where one ‘crop’ could be replacing another as the first goes over, last came the flurry of desired plants elbowing their way into the plan and ousting at least one foliage newcomer. Sarah Raven‘s website is a godsend for plant spacings on most annual things and I used Crocus for the rest. The RHS plantfinder is information rich but a bit too approximated to be really useful in this instance.
Of course as soon as I finished and submitted and began to read other participant assignments I started amending my plan to include must haves I’d forgotten, who can live without Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley) or Nicotiana Lime Green or Agastache or Poppies or…..?
In many respects I had anticipated this week being similar to planning a permanent planted garden but it’s more of a cross between Vegetable gardening and permanent planting and there is much to learn about pushing crops and growing space in the way vegetable growers can push their space to be more productive.
An exciting week and of course with all the planning running through my head the whole week, when I cam upon an unexpected sale of very cheap bulbs I knew exactly where they could go!