Early summer in the potting shed

brassicasjuneI keep trying to serve these plants their eviction notice. And then it rains, or we have storms, or I’m travelling.

And they are stuck on the benches. They should be in the ground.

My third batch of tomatoes are close to being shoved out. But those cucumbers are really still titchy.

I have no room for the brassicas currently doing jungle impersonations down the shady end of the bench. (What? You have no room? I rotate my crops and the top vegetable bed where they reside is currently having a rest season with red clover. ) cabbagesjune

Well, I have a huge row of lovely brassicas, but no room for more.

Or not enough netting if I’m brutally honest.

And then there is the problem of my wonderful cuttings’ also crowding the benches.

I’ve had a great success this year. My first. I took dozens of ballota and sage and santolina cuttings.

And a lot of them worked.

balottaThese ballota are a thrill.  I paid a fortune for my first Ballota pseudodictamnus plant from Filippi in 2010.  Well ten euros if you include the freight. And it’s just a beauty of a plant.  Here it is in the barn garden.

It’s the plant on the right; a lovely pale colour, a stunning flower spike (hints of mauve) and a dream in a vase.

I waded into the bed in April and took heaps of cuttings.cuttingshoriz

Then glory be, I had about two dozen successes.

The secret is dumb luck and lots of misting of the plants three times a day.

That and not covering them with plastic bags or any covering. I hate seeing the plants rot under too moist an atmosphere.

They are here on theballotaplants bench out of direct sunlight, but in the light. It cools down at night as I have to leave all the windows open so they have a bit of tough love.

I have lovingly potted up these plants in the best root training pots I possess.

They are going to have to grow on a bit because I have a slight problem.

I am not ready to plant them in the new orchard planting beds.

Here is the sneak preview of the work in progress in the orchard.


A big fat nothing. Just lush wildflowers and fruit trees.  I haven’t had time to make any progress on the beds in between each tree yet.  That’s the curse: you take most cuttings in spring, but the best time to plant out a lot of these mediterranean shrubs is in autumn.

And everyone is absurdly crazy with crops in spring. Not poncy garden design.

So you have to get them safely through the hottest part of the year they will ever endure at such a fragile stage.

balotta cuttingAnd you can see from the size that they are just not ready to be shoved out.

arturinpotI could do with shoving Artur out of the potting shed.

If you ever wanted to see an action shot of a hostile takeover of a pot here it is.

I have this large copper pot just itching to be planted up with deep red geraniums. I have the potting mix ready, and the plants and the time to get one job done.

But I made the mistake of leaving an inviting round pot unattended during a tea break.

If you have ever seen an elderly cat move like lightning this was it.artur

I calculate he will be moving onto somewhere else by the end of the month. So I will have to be patient. Or mean.

He did get bothered by a wasp this afternoon and shot out of the potting shed onto the sill until I attended to the problem.

Very much on the naughty step. But even though he appears fast asleep on his perch, he is only six teetering strides to the inside of the window where the pot is lying unattended. So he wins.


I am very pleased with another interloper inside my favourite plant factory: the virginia creeper that is now sneaking inside along a beam.

I saw it working its way inside when I left this window in the open position for a few weeks last year.

And instead of shoving it back outside I thought I could try and close the window and see if the plant gets decapitated. It didn’t (junk shop windows, never a perfect seal) and I am really enjoying its rapid progress along the beam.

I have no idea if the creeper will stick to the underside of the polycarbonate roof. But it will save me a lot of effort in greenhouse shading if I can get this wonderful invader to cover the roof both inside and out over the summer. Lazy? Moi?