The Potting Bench Diaries – 17th May 2023

This week has been like no other, as I did something rather exciting and nerve-wracking, in equal measure, but more on that at the end (and if you’ve been following me then you’ll likely already know what I’m talking about!). But before that, let’s have an update on a few things across the garden as we roll on through Spring and drive head-first towards early Summer.

A sure-fire sign that Summer is approaching is that the final few tulips begin to turn, as I look at taking them out soon to replace for Summer planting.

I’ve left some in the borders to die back, but I’ve decided to lift all of the tulips in pots this year. I’ll dry and keep some, but the majority will be composted/go in the garden waste and I’ll buy fresh for next Spring. For me, there are too many tulips to try and too little time to try them, so I’m keen to experiment each year. I’ll likely bring back some favourites from years gone by, but I almost enjoy the finding and buying of bulbs, as much as I do seeing them in bloom. Are you the same??

Now that the majority of the tulips are out of the ground, there is room to play with and it’s near enough time to start planting out, starting with the dahlias. As I’ve mentioned before, there are 20 varieties this year across a wide colour palette, in cluster across the borders. In some spaces I’ll have 6, interspersed with grasses and annuals and in others it’ll be less, but with more of those gap-filling plants.

In my mind, the borders are going to be full to the brim with plants and colour, while the pots are going to perhaps be slightly more subdued, but still brimming with life, with 10 new salvias going in this year. And, we found a frog!

Speaking of salvias, this week I went on a behind-the-scenes visit to Middleton Nurseries in Staffordshire.

Middleton are known for their wide range of plants, but especially for their extensive collection of salvias, which was my main reason for visiting. We’ve got around 10 salvias in the garden already- the majority of which are from Middleton.

I won’t go into any more detail now, but a future blog post will be coming soon, dedicated to the visit, including some photos of some very special new varieties that are here for 2023. Needless to say, this was an extremely exciting visit for me and I can’t wait to share more with you about it.

And finally, the main news is that last week I had the HUGE pleasure of giving my first show talk at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival at the Three Counties Show Ground and it couldn’t have gone any better. The show, if you haven’t been before, is a real highlight in the garden calendar and is often regarded as the first big show of the year, before we swiftly follow on with Chelsea.

This is my chance to say thank you to all of you that came to watch, take photos, and cheer me on. What an experience and I’ll be back for more soon. Check my ‘events‘ page for where you can find me next!

And in podcast news, this week’s conversation is with gardener, garden designer and presenter; Danny Clarke – otherwise known as The Black Gardener.

In this episode, Danny really opens up about his journey into the world of plants, and how for him, this is also a connection with the wider world. This is one of those conversations that I won’t forget in a hurry and I just know you’re going to enjoy.

Click here to listen now!

See you again next week,

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