Friday, April 24, 2009

Sending out an SOS

Help! I'm having that spring thing. You know, frantic bursts of activity followed by agonies of indecision, amnesia, panic and frantic rushing to the computer to look things up on the internet. If anyone wants to offer advice, please, please do.

1 Should I cut back the Muhlenbergia dumosa? Should I have cut it back in January? What did Knoll Gardens tell me to do when I bought it? Why do I never remember these things? Shall I just trim off the bits that look dead and hope for the best? Frances and Pam will know. Let's hope they read this. I thought it had died in the cold, but it seems to be drifting back to wispy life. Should I buy some more? I do rather love it. Should I keep it in a pot? Should I put it in a bigger pot?

2 What about the Pleioblastus auricomus? Was it Will Giles who said you should cut this down like a perennial each year? Someone did, I think it was Will, but of course, I now can't find that information anywhere. I've done it anyway. Dare I plant it in the ground? Architectural Plants have it growing in the ground, but clipped to within an inch of its life. It might look good underneath the cordyline on the new bit of garden. Or should I keep it in a pot?

3 What on earth is this plant? Where did I get it from? Who gave it to me? Why have the squirrels dug it all up? (Because they are evil little b******, that's why.) I must have known what it was at some stage, because I put it in this pot. I don't remember any of this.

4 Should I buy colourful bedding pelargoniums or should I just stick to the scented-leaf sort? Should I have a single-colour scheme or (start hyperventilating) mixed colours? No, don't answer that one, I know I'll never do mixed colours. That involves more than one decision.

5 Will I ever get around to planting the other things I have bought, which at this point consist of: lemon thyme, standard lavender and six assorted scented-leaf geraniums (these all need putting in pots); two Aquilegia vulgaris 'Purple Emperor'; Lobelia tupa; a rather gorgeous fern called Pteris cretica that I fell in love with at Architectural Plants; two Geranium macrorrhizum album, two Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem'. I think that's it. I hope that's it.

5 Should I put the sorbaria in pots? I bought them in memory of my husband, who loved rowan trees (Sorbus aucuparia). The Scottish folk song, The Rowan Tree, was one of his favourites. My garden is too small, and too crowded, to fit in a grown-up rowan, so the sorbaria are a lovely substitute, with rosy gold-flushed leaves in spring. They do well in a pot, apparently, and I'd be able to take them with me if I moved.

6 Should I prune my hebes (Hebe parviflora angustifolia)? I saw them clipped into rather nice globes (big globes) at Architectural Plants' Chichester branch the other day, which inspired me to try the same. Came home and thought: "Maybe not". One thing I do know though. These hebes hate being in a pot.

7 Should I try growing coleus (solenostemon) this year? I've only tried growing it as a houseplant in a cold dark flat. It wasn't a success.

8 Will I ever plant my seeds? I'm telling myself that there's no point sowing things like Mina lobata and Ipomoea until late spring anyway. Is this a pathetic excuse?

9 Nine? How on earth did I get to nine, for heaven's sake?

10 Should I just shut up and get on with some gardening?

There are a couple of themes emerging here, I think you'll agree. First, I am a complete coward. Not always - I have been known to lift crowns and do other bits of radical rejigging - but quite often. Sometimes I'm cowardly when it comes to pruning, but most often I chicken out when it comes to planting things in the ground. I have a kind of compulsion to put things in pots. Is this an urban gardener thing?
Second, I am incredibly indecisive. Things in my garden get moved more often than pieces on a chessboard. You can tell I'm a Libran, can't you?
Third... well, you tell me. I'm off to tidy the shed in a bid to avoid thinking about planting things.