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The Tender Trap — 41 Comments

  1. I adore your plants especially those you have pushed beyond your hardiness zone with sheer perseverance…I am a huge Frank fan…and I love the movie Tender Trap as well as the song…thx for sharing these tender plants that can be grown successfully…inspirational! As my hardiness zone has changed a bit, I too may be looking at what plants I could push a bit to grow here…

  2. Dear Alistair, I love ‘pushing the envelope’ with plantings that aren’t supposed to survive here. As you say, when you KNOW your garden, you can identify microclimates where it is possible to grow more tender varieties. I love your neighbor’s lilies. Pamela

  3. Dear Mr Al’
    It is with great pleasure that I would like to offer you the opportunity of Head Gardener in my garden…bring all your cuttings…you start Monday…Don’t be late!
    xx

  4. I’ve never grown Nerine bowdenii. I think it was the ‘tender’ bit that put me off, but if it grows in Scotland, I think I might give it a go.
    I agree with you about the Callistemon; mine split its stems under the weight of snow last winter. It started to sprut from the base last autumn, but I don’t know if it will survive this winter yet.
    And now I know where I’ve been going wrong with my Agapanthus. I overwinter them in the greenhouse, but I’ve been taking them out too early. I’ll leave them in until May this year. Thanks for the advice.

  5. Alistair – Enjoyed getting caught up in your tender trap… I had an agapanathus clump the same size as yours. I divided it because I thought that was what you’re supposed to do to prevent overcrowding. Unfortunately only two blooms in total appeared last year. Should I have just left the clump alone ? Do they take a year or two to recover after dividing ?

  6. Great selection of plants and blooms. Surprised that even Magnolia stellata can be tricky to grow up your way. It’s true about having green fingers….

    Callistemon, even we struggle with that plant..

  7. All of your plants are lovely. It is hard to imagine that you would fall into the Tender Trap, but I know climate and conditions are the decision-makers. Sometimes I wish I could grow some of the more tender perennials in my zone 7A, but then I may not be able to enjoy the four seasons. I suppose it is a trade off…

  8. How true! I can not grow azaleas, no matter how hard I try, and everyone else can. I can’t figure out if it’s me or my garden. And so true that every garden is different, and has different microclimates. It amazes me how different areas of my garden grows plants differently, too. How nice that you’ve found the “tender traps” in your garden. And your neighbor, too!

  9. I think both you and Myra have more than your fair share of “green finger milarky” even if you don’t believe in it. 🙂 I can’t access your Tender Trap link from work. Is it as good as your tender trap?

    • Bom, the tender trap link is Frank Sinatra’s recording of this song which of course is much better than anything I do of the same title. Disappointed to hear it doesn’t work. After opening it takes a few seconds to start, or I wonder if the link which is music coming from my computer would not open on anyone else’s pc. I would really like to know this to save me doing anything so daft again, not that I would be adding links such as this very often.

  10. Hi Alistair, many times i have pushed things further too. I don’t believe in green thumbs, as long as we know the plants, we all have green fingers, not only thumbs! haha!We have totally different kinds of plants, but people really like those uncommon to them. Even if i know agapanthus likes some cold because they grow in our highlands with colder temperatures, i still tried planting them in our hot lowlands. It grows for sometime and then died, of course! But i really love it, tried the 2nd time, dead again! I don’t know if i really love it or i am strongly hard-headed.

  11. I agree on pushing the envelope. Many do not realize that they may actually have microclimates that can support tender varieties. I have grown zone 8 Glads for years, long before we were even a 6b zone. It has to do with the abundance of masonry in my garden, above and below the ground. Below is drainage trenches of #1 and #2 stone. This really helps keep corms and bulb toasty and dry in winter, fooling them about planting zones. Also, hedges keep the wind down all year. Your garden in similar and I see how you could support plants like your neighbor. Being so close to the driveway, it is likely he has a good gravel base near too.

  12. Alistair – I am making my shopping list for spring: nerine bowdenii, agapanthus and hamamelis. Wow!! Your photos were so inspiring! My forsythia looks so spectacular in late April that I forget about some of the other wonderful “yellow” shrubs. I adore the more dainty, almost wild look of the hamamelis. I’m sure I can find a space for it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Alistair… another great post that I just got to as we’ve been off on a bit of a trip. I also love the agapanthus and have seen them grown very well as potted specimens here, but I’ve never done well with that… perhaps the variety makes a difference. Take care, Larry

  14. Sir, I do like a fonder aboot Aiberdein, looking at yer bonnie blooms. I notice most agapanthus spotted up here which flower are in pots, now I understand.

    For the grand move ‘sooth’ we are contemplating moray or Aberdeenshire, I’m taking lots of notes.

    Fondest regards to the family, excuse the lack of stalking by blog, I’ve been a bit poorly.

    Best regards

    Fay

    • Hope you are feeling a lot better Fay. Thinking of moving! Sometimes hard to make the right choice. Handy being near a reasonably large city, however as you are probably aware, Moray although further north, is milder than Aberdeen is in the Summer.

  15. I love reading your blog just for statements like this: “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.” First of all in the States we call it a green thumb. But I don’t believe in it either. Gardening is a process, and it is not about control because you can’t control nature. Successes and failures are an equal part.

  16. I’ve given up on pushing the boundaries………..I’ve lost so much over our 2010/11 year and having these whole holes in the borders that will take years to fill in. Nerines will not grow here for me but a 10 min walk away they do. Witchhazel thrive here for me though Pallida suffered really badly in those winters and I’ve only 1 flower yet again this year. Donation is the hardiest camelia that I know of and the only one I suggest for cold gardens but even it suffered badly in 2010/11 and is a few twigs now but at least still alive………..it used to look as magnificent as yours Alistair. I’ll just have to be patient as it regrows again.

  17. Thanks for your recent comment. The garden centers in Seattle also offer plants that are too tender for our climate. As many of the plants that do well here are raised in California nurseries, I suppose it’s easy to sneak those that should never cross the state line, onto a truck. Some local growers also offer plants to gardeners who are in ‘zonal denial.’ For some, global warming is a trend that can’t move fast enough. I’ve been paying little attention to the garden blogs as I prepare for a trip to Portugal & Galicia in March. I’m all about travel research & learning Portuguese. Luckily, I had Spanish in high school.

  18. Wow! These is a great pictures of these beautiful flowers… I can’t help myself but to get envious with your garden. The flowers are lovely… Thank you for sharing…

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