Have to admit we are not very ‘green fingered’ over here at Chez H. Our philosophy being if it grows, great, if it dies don’t bother planting that again. The problem is the underlying soil is thick, claggy blue clay which does nothing for drainage. Over the years we have added plenty of organic matter to the flower beds to improve things, yet still, after a couple of years, bulbs like daffs and tulips rot away. On the plus side primroses, foxgloves and aquilegia (columbine) self seed and flourish.
One of Mrs H’s favourite flowers is the freesia. Two years ago she bought some corms and popped them in a stone container, nothing happened. Fast forward to January and we noticed some odd foliage in the container, they had decided to grow! The freesia is an autumn flowering plant native to South Africa and not frost hardy. We had a mild winter but covered the container with horticultural fleece at the first sign of a frost and now we are rewarded with these gorgeous blooms.
Last autumn we had a large conifer hedge cut down to head height and a third removed. This left a big gap but the soil was dead and the stumps were left in. So we built a raised bed, filled it with 1,000 litres (!!!) of mixed compost and grit and after a few weeks to let it settle, popped in some bulbs and assorted plants. We planted some helleborus orientalis (lenten rose) for late winter colour. They grew new leaves but no flowers until now! One plant is in bloom and just keeps on giving.
The third surprise bloom is indoors. Now houseplants don’t have a long life span here, let’s just say Mrs H is not keen on them. I had a fine collection of cacti once, some I had had for over fifty years! One day as Tina was dusting the conservatory one beautiful specimen, 3 feet tall with 3 inch long spines decided to ‘bite’ her. Despite my protests ‘she who must be obeyed’ ordered them gone. So how many of you have been given one of those supermarket orchids? Beautiful in flower but when they go you are left with a pot of dark green leathery leaves. Some people have the knowledge to keep them going, not us. However having spent the winter on the kitchen window sill look what has happened.
All in all with one thing and another it’s been a funny old year so far. Before December we thought we had sold our property and bought a new one but it all fell through. Just before ‘lockdown’ the original buyers came back with an offer as they had now sold their place. We excepted. Sadly the house we were buying has since been sold. We are in a situation where we, due to restrictions, can not look at other properties but at sometime in the next couple of months could find ourselves being homeless! The future looks, er, ‘interesting’!