The Potting Bench Diaries – 28th December 2022

This week… if you hadn’t noticed, it was Christmas! Sadly, not a white Christmas here – actually quite far from it, with the sun shining all day long on the big day and into Boxing Day too. I hope you had a good few days, whatever you may have been doing – whether with family, friends, at home or even at work. I was lucky enough to get some garden vouchers, garden themed beer (who even knew that existed!) and some other bits and pieces – I might have even popped out into the sun on Christmas Day. Did you??

I sort of jokingly mentioned earlier about the sun but it actually has been rather lovely the last week or so. Our garden is largely south facing, so it naturally picks up the rays right across the day but the sun has been quite welcome after the recent snowy spell we’ve had.

The large amount of sun we get does mean that we have little trouble (generally) with growing Dahlias and all sort of other sun loving plants. That said, the heat and sun this past year was a tad too much so I might have to re-think a few things to make sure I’m making the most out of drought tolerant plants. This weather really does mean that we’ll have to think slightly differently about how we grow some things (and whether we can grow in the same ways we have before).

One thing that’s for sure is that anything we grow in containers will have to have a little more attention next summer. We’ve got a whole host of pansies and violas in as bedding over winter, but some of the bedding from this last summer really struggled in the heat.

I’m a big fan of petunias (I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea!) and some we had this year had a tough time of it with a lack of water. The heat just meant that containers and pots were drying out even more quickly than normal, and here in the UK we had water shortages and hosepipe bans everywhere. I’ve started to think about how we might be able to preserve more water here – but its not always an easy task in a small garden like ours!

In a very weak link back to water, I wanted to share how I’m using some old metal watering cans as containers again for some bulbs in spring.

Last year I became slightly obsessed with these old cans and scoured markets and online for any bargains I could find. To me, they’re just a splash of extra character in the garden and they make for an interesting container instead of the bog standard ones we all know.

Last year I used some for gladioli, which didn’t work so well as they topped over with the weight of the plant – so this time I’ve opted for tulips instead! Once the tulips are over I’ll add some sort of trailing plant to spill out over the edge – suggestions are very welcome!

And in a bit of an ‘Honest Gardens’ moment – I fear that I’m neglecting some of my onions! Earlier in the season I planted some onion sets outside directly (which are all doing well!) and some in modules too – I totally forgot about half of them, and they’re still in the modules on the windowsill in the potting shed!

They’ll be complete fine, but I really should get them in the ground somehow – where, I don’t know! This is our first proper time growing onions but we’ve had lots of success with garlic in the past so I’m hopeful the success will spread to onions too!

If you’re a dab hand at growing onions then let me know, I may need your top tips for a good harvest!

Finally, I said a while ago that during the break between guests on the podcast that I was going to release some book reviews. The time has come for the next one, which will be out on Friday this week!

The next review comes courtesy of the rather handsome looking Hortus Curious, from Mr Plant Geek himself, Michael Perry. This is a real treasure trove of plants from the weird, to the wacky and all sorts of things between.

Come back Friday for a sneak peak, including some words from the man himself…

Whether you’re straight back to work or you’re enjoying the endless turkey based recipes that inevitably follow Christmas – enjoy yourselves and I’ll see you soon (Friday to be precise!)

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