Garden Bargain Hats Off…

Hot garden with  Cosmoss and Clematis

Before I went on holiday I asked my Mum-in-Law, if it wasn’t too much for her, (as she is 90 and doesn’t feel like walking down to our house everyday), to water the pots in my back garden.

I had no idea England was about to enter a 1976 style heat wave and neither did she and she is not a gardening fan, either. So while I was away, I more or less assumed total wipe-out, but then came back to a 97% survival rate and this lovely floriferous display. Hats off to you, Mum, you did me proud.

In a big pot which I bought in the ‘bargains’ section of the nursery, reduced because its rim was a bit chipped, are three white Cosmos ‘Purity’. These were bargains, too. I bought them from Lunt’s, the greengrocer in West Kirby – can’t remember how much they were but very reasonable, as everything in that shop tends to be, and I fed them with some 6x before I went away. They are exploding now, flowering their blooming hearts out. I’ve ever put Cosmos in a pot before but I will keep doing it from now on. I also thought how good a huge clump of the simple white flowers and ferny-asparagus-like foliage would be filling a border. And I mean huge…for my garden. A dozen plants, grown from seed, could do the trick on a grand scale. But would I need a greenhouse?

Behind them, in a tall and very heavy clay pot I’ve had for years, is this gorgeous clematis, which had been in flower for a couple of weeks before I left and is still going strong. A most wonderful do-er,  this red-purple and gold stunner is called ‘Voluceau’. I love those handsome dark velvet petals and even more, that terrific, almost luminous, boss of golden stamens. Fancy Mum keeping that lot going through two weeks of a heat wave!

I bought ‘Voluceau’ last year from Lidl or Aldi, can’t remember which, and it, too, will have been a bargain buy. I don’t have a lot of success with clematis, and they rarely survive two years for me…so a second year, loads of flowers and more of them coming is a bit of beautiful garden luck. Again, I gave it plenty of 6x early on. Love that organic matter. Finally, what’s the lovely geranium in the background? It’s Rozanne. I bought 3 for £6 in the B+Q ‘we’ve let them die’ stand about two years ago…stood them in a big bucket of water and all three began to flourish.  Rozanne at Crocus are more costly, but every plant I’ve bought from them has been  terrific, healthy, well-gown, well-delivered. Wherever it comes from, it’s one of the best Geraniums going, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show ‘Plant of the Century’ 2013. And a true survivor.

But it was Mum who kept them going through the heat wave – so hats off, Mum, you’ve done a lovely job. Actually, looking at the weather, keep that hat on.