The Potting Bench Diaries – 1st February 2023

This week…saw the end of January, categorically the longest month of the year! Technically, its no longer than any of the other months with 31 days but my gosh does it feel long. I think there’s some sound reasoning behind this, and that’s mainly because we’re all so eager to get seed sowing, with February being the traditional time we get to do more of that. Of course, things can be sown earlier (as I’ve shown recently with Cobaea and Sweet Peas) but the light levels vastly improve into February which most seeds will need lots of.

I’ve mentioned Cobaea and Sweet peas, but these aren’t the only climbers I’ll be growing this year, as I’m adding in Thunbergia African Sunset to the mix here too. These Thunbergia, otherwise known as Black-Eyed Susans will sit behind an array of dahlias and will hopefully compliment the colour scheme I’ve got going on.

In terms of structure, I’ll be growing them up a metal obelisk that I got last year that I used for sweet peas. Not 100% where the sweet peas will be going but I’ll figure that out another time!

Moving a little closer to the ground now as I start to think about additional textures and forms to go with the spring bulbs.

After speaking to Lizzie at The Rose Press Garden before Christmas, she showed me some photos of her Cineraria. She used these along the edges of some of her borders that had tulips in them and the silvery foliage looked fantastic against the tulips so I knew I had to get some too. Luckily Carbeth Plants had some in stock so I got some from there, they’re a new company to me but they’ve got a great range so I was happy to give them a go.

Keeping with the tulip theme – the great spring bulb pot migration of 2023 has begun! When I planted up my tulips before Christmas (and some after!) I put all the containers and pots up near the potting shed so that we weren’t just looking at a load of empty pots over winter. However, all the crocus have started to spring up through the grit so I’ve moved them all down nearer the house to their final position so we can see them flower, very soon. I cant quite remember how many containers we’ve ended up with but the wicker baskets are my favourites – the tulips in particular are going to look fantastic….I hope!

Whilst I was having a sort out in the shed last week I came across a single lonely tulip bulb behind a pot, which must have rolled there when I was sorting them out. As you can imagine, I’ve got absolutely no idea which variety it is and its still firm to touch, so I’ve potted it up with the label ‘mystery tulip’. It’ll flower slightly later than all the others due to its late planting but I’m very excited to see which one it is!

If you’ve got any bulbs left to go in then you’re really cutting it fine now – better in the ground than in the bin I say – well, more chance of flowering anyway!

And last but not least, a look ahead to this week’s book review.

This week I had a surprise parcel pop through my letterbox, containing the wonderful new book Rekha’s Kitchen Garden by Rekha Mistry. The book is out this week and you can expect to see a review on Friday morning. Rekha’s honest and homely style really works here as she fully appreciates everyone doesn’t have a huge allotment to their disposal.

The book is out this week with an RRP of £18.99, but you can get it here for just £16!

And finally, the main podcast is back next week with a new episode every week for the next few months or so. The first episode of the season is a cracking chat with someone you’ll all most likely know.

If you’d like to find out who it is before anyone else then do make sure you sign up to my newsletter, here

See you again on Friday!

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