The Tender Trap
Try as we may there are some plants – which no matter what we do simply will not flourish in our garden, and how annoying is it to see the very same specimen flowering its heart out in a garden not a half mile from your house. Some folks may tell you, no matter what I do I cant get a thing to grow in my garden, I think its because I don’t have green fingers.
Personally I do not believe in the green finger milarky, perseverance and taking pleasure from your successes and not taking the failures too seriously will hold you in good stead. Well whatever I am glad that gardening found me. At times, when far too much rubbish has been going on in my head, a few hours in the garden and I forget all that was bothering me. Gardening provides me with all the exercise which I need and in my early years of retirement has been a total boon. Also to have a partner who is equally enthusiastic is just the ticket.
What about those plants that are just a bit too tender to grow in our cooler climate here in Aberdeen. Well very often it does turn out to be correct, but every now and then if we push the boat we can be pleasantly surprised.
If you find a spot that is sheltered enough and fully south facing you may well be amazed at what you can get away with.
Try Nerine, sometimes described as a little tender, fair enough I can hear some of you say, not tender at all, however we are in the North of Scotland, yet if you plant in the right spot they will flower year after year. Choose Nerine Bowdenii, hardiest of them all with umbels of lily like pink flowers which bloom from late September through till early November. This one is also known as the Jersey Lily. Plant the bulbs in Spring with their heads just above the soil in a sunny dry spot, preferably with the protection of a wall. The RHS gave this one the prestigious award of garden merit. These two pictures which I have posted today is of my neighbour Louis front garden where it has flowered every year since we arrived at this neighbourhood 26yrs ago. He will be highly amused to find his garden on the worldwide web.
I remember quite a number of years ago on a local television gardening show, the presenter said that trying to grow Camellias in Aberdeen was a waste of time! not at all, planted in the right spot, we get fantastic results especially with the Williamsii Camellia Donation, the one below is in our woodland garden and gives a great show April/May.
Also a famous and much respected Yorkshire gardener sadly no longer with us, Geoffrey Smith often said that the winter flowering Hamamelis struggled to grow in his Yorkshire garden, yet here in Aberdeen where it is colder they flower their hearts out. Here is Arnolds Promise in our woodland with the branches perhaps a bit higgledy piggledy, yet nevertheless flowering profusely.
Mind you I have never had good results with Magnolia, however, I have seen them in other gardens in this city.
So if you are interested in gardening, just get out there and do it, it wont matter if you make Mistakes, this is how we all learn, and you will just love the results, well sometimes. Below is the Magnolia Liliflora Nigra showing rather humbly that she is willing to open up in Aberdeenshire. This shot was taken on my visit to Crathes Castle in April of last year.
And here we have Stellata an undercover shot whilst I was in the West end of the city in mid April. Stellata is in fact the only Magnolia which will actually flourish in Aberdeen, even then it requires careful positioning. The blooms as you can see were just going over by the time I got to it.
I have not seen the Abutilon x Suntese in any other garden in the Aberdeen area. In fact I have always been astonished at how well it performs in our woodland as it seems to be regarded as a plant for more southerly areas. However it has flowered profusely in our garden for the past twelve years at least. Unfortunately it had taken such a battering in the severe Winter of 2010/11 it was decimated and looked all but dead. In mid Spring the twelve foot high shrub had still no sign of leaves, I cut it back and new growth started to sprout from the stems, of course it didn’t flower but is once again looking very healthy, great hopes for this year. Below is how the Abutilon looked in the Summer of 2010.
Although some plants may be borderline in our garden it can be surprising as to how lucky you can be with some of them which are known to be quite tender. What about Callistemon Citrinus, well I would say beware, the garden centres are continually trying to trap us into buying this one. I have tried it on quite a number of occasions and it never comes through the Winter.
I do love Agapanthus and this perennial will survive in your Aberdeen garden. However it is late in coming into flower and our Aberdeen Summers can be so cool that if planted directly in the border it will be very unlikely to bloom. Do as I do, plant them in containers and over Winter them in the unheated greenhouse. Remove them from the greenhouse in the first week of May, this extra protection will allow the plants to bloom from late July through till September.
Pittosporum is a great evergreen shrub if you are looking for something that little bit different. We had several varieties in the garden, absolutely thriving for about eight years, looking equally good in Winter as they did in Summer. Then along came the Winter of 2010/11, the prolonged and unusual Temperatures of minus five to minus 15 centigrade destroyed the Pittosporums. One which I was particularly fond of was Pittosporum Irene Patterson.
Did you google tender trap only to find yourself faced with my garden blog. Well the link below may just be what you were looking for.
Open link for a 1955 treat it will start to play in a few secs
If you happen to leave a comment I will be sure to visit your site and do the same
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