I'm feeling a bit achey today but also a bit satisfied and smug. You see yesterday on my day off instead of doing yet more boring painting, as I have been doing the last few weekends, I went over to Nottcuts at Pembury to see if I could buy some nice plants to go in four very different specific places in my garden. I think if I'd put a bit more effort into it then I probably could have alot greener fingers than I do but, up to now, gardening as a hobby has never really interested me enough to learn all those strange latin names. So yesterday morning, when I wheeled my huge trolley through the narrow isles full of barbeque equipment, bird seeds, spades, forks, small tools, outdoor furniture and all manner of shiney new things for the garden and then out into the huge area of bedding plants, fruit trees and wonderful colours, I thought I'd be inspired and would instinctively know what the right choices would be. But not a bit of it; in fact I felt myself getting more and more confused and the heat of the sun was getting more and more intense as I stripped off layers to try to keep calm and make a rational choice. I felt myself misting over and nearly just went home empty handed. Then I saw the sign for the Plant Advice Centre, which was really just a big hut plonked in the middle of the garden centre, so went in hoping that there wouldn't be a queue. In fact at first there didn't seem to be anyone there but I could hear the voice from behind a partition of a man on the phone. I rang the bell to make it obvious that I was waiting. Sure enough after a couple of minutes out popped a sprightly young man who, straight away, seemed to seize upon my quest for the perfect plants as a kind of personal challenge. I explained that I needed four plants for four entirely separate purposes. I realise that this might sound a bit functional; a bit like buying books to fill a space on a shelf or a picture to match a colour scheme in a room you've just decorated (come on we've all done it!) but sometimes you need this. Anyway this plant adviser couldn't have been more helpful; we spent a good twenty minutes looking at climbers, roses, screening plants, fruit tree, bamboos and evergreens until eventually he left me to have time to think alone so that I could make my choices. If you're not a gardener you've probably stopped reading this post by now so for the green fingered among you these were my choices:
Hydrangea petiolaris which is a climber and will cover a rather ugly wall to the side of my house.
Choisya ternata Sundance which is to now planted in front of my porch which has quite a stark looking tiled area with a three foot drop; so this yellow and golden leaved shrub will camoflage it.
Photina fraseri (Red Robin) an evergreen which will eventually grow to about seven feet tall and will act as a partial screen between my house and the neighbours with its red new foliage which turns green.
Ceanothus arb. Trewit which will make a stark looking side fence in my back garden look more colourful and interesting.
I listened to the Nottcuts man's good advice about how to plant them out and the instructions on the labels and followed them to the letter, mixing in more than enough compost and new top soil in order to give my new infants their best start in life. Now all I have to do is water them occasionally and watch them grow. The only thing is it might take two or three years before I see much change and I'll probably have moved house before we see their full effect. Yesterday I was reminded that gardening can be a lot more rewarding than just cutting the grass and trimming the edges. I'm aching from all that digging, bending and lifting but boy do I feel smug....