Image above of my Chilli seedlings growing on my kitchen window ledge taken yesterday. At present I turn them full circle square every 24 hours. To the science bit…
Phototropism is most simply defined as:
the growth of plants towards a source of light
source Collins English Dictionary 2009
In more detail it is defined as:
The growth or movement of a fixed organism toward or away from light. In plants, phototropism is a response to blue wavelengths of light and is caused by a redistribution of auxin from the illuminated side to the darker side of the shoot, resulting in quicker growth on the darker side and bending of the shoot toward the source of light. Certain sessile invertebrates also exhibit phototropism.source: The American
Heritage® Science Dictionary 2002
Wikepedia explains it further, but unless you’re a total plant geek like me, you might not wish to read another not Peter definition. Moving swiftly onwards…
Measuring 100 x 50 x 50 centimetres, I made these garden planters last week. Long story short I had someone in mind who, I guess I wanted them to have something just a slight bit different/ unique to them. In the context of quality first, not off the shelf and made to measure, these proved quite a smart choice.
I like the fact that the timber is a little raw [?] and soft looking in appearance. They’ll need to be repainted/ treated in time to come and with that and as the garden evolves so too the colour can change as they age.
They were dropped in situ ready for a garden party over the weekend and that being the case I felt a fine collection of summer bedding/ instant colour would be the correct choice. Investment now made, the intention is that they will be used as kitchen garden planters after the summer season.
There were some questions about putting castors, handles and the like on them. a bit like the colour choice, in this case, it was felt for now, the plants would do the job just nicely. I’m inclined to agree.
Instant gardening, as far as the client is concerned. 😉
There’s a small space in your big garden, you’ve a big space in a small garden ? Or maybe you’d just like a little more interest formed from a little more of a varied range of plants that won’t take over and at the same time will keep maintenance slightly more to the lesser side of things.
If colour is the answer and you’d like a little of it throughout the year, take a look at the list below and see if something takes your fancy.
Whichever way you might see fit, the following are 10 plants that may just get the taste buds tingling and make your space outside a little more exciting.
1. Agapanthus Africanus
The Agapanthus/ Liliaceae [african blue lily] are a genus of around 10 species originating in Southern Africa. The clump forming lilly is a deciduous perennial with leaves around 12″ long and produces a 1.5″ long trumpet shaped flower in a cluster that can measure about 2′ by 1′ in size in late summer. Some note them as vigorous, but I say well worth it and a great one for the plant swapper.
2. Choisya Aztec Pearl
The Choisya [Rutaceae] are an evergreen genus of around 8 species more commonly known as the Mexican orange blossom. Funnily enough, the flowers are white and some say perfumed – although I personally find it a bit hard to get the scent more often. The Aztec Pearl bears 1″ in size pink-ish white flowers in spring/ summer that form in cymes of around 5 blooms. It can grow to around 8′ tall, but I’d never allow it go to that height and it will therefore need a good cut back every season once established.
3. Convolvus cneorum
The Convolvus [convolvulaceae] are a very varied genus of about 250 species. In Ireland the most famed is the cousin you don’t really want to have call by at Christmas time, but does and more often over stays its welcome. This fellow however, the Convolvus cneorum, is a low growing rounded clump former and only grows to about 2′ high x 3′ wide producing an almost trumpet like white flower with a yellow dotted centre from its pink buds at the start of the summer.
4. Crocosmia lucifer
The Crocosmia or Montbretia [Iridaceae] is a clump forming genus of about 7 species also originally from South Africa and another great one for the plant swappers of the world. This particular chap grows to about 4′ tall and produces burning red flowers mid summer that slightly jumps out of the grass like clump. Personally, don’t like the name, but it’s an absolute stunner and looks great on the kitchen table.
5. Dianthus ‘Shooting Star’
The Dianthus or Carnation [caryophyllaceae] are a genus of over 300 species from Europe, Asia and Southern Africa. Personally, I hate carnations as bouquet of cut flowers, but I love them in this format. Pretty, low growing and relatively easy to maintain.
6. Matteuccia streuthiopteris
The Matteuccia [dryopteridaceae/ woodsiaceae] are a genus of about 4 species originating from the woodlands of Europe, N. America and E. Asia. This particular beauty is more commonly known as the shuttlecock or ostrich fern. It can produce fronds of up to 4′ long and the plant itself can grow to around 5′ tall. Once again it grows by spreading and will need some attention, as all plants do.
7. Osteospernum Cannington Roy
This evergreen clump former [astreaceae/ compositae] is from a genus of about 70 species mainly hailing from Southern Africa. It’s daisy-ish flowers are purple tipped white that change to mauve pink/ purple on the underside with purple florets and it can flower from the end of spring to autumn [depending]. A great ground cover plant and another one for the plant swapper.
8. Papaver orientale ‘Prinzessin Victoria Louise’
The poppy family [Papaveraceae] are a genus of about 70 species. This, the oriental poppy is a clump forming perennial that grows about 3′ x 2′. Its short lived flowers are produced in late summer and are apricot in colour and are followed by a quite striking seed head. A little different from your usual, but definitely one to try out.
9. Polemonium caeruleum
I haven’t done this fellow any favours in the photography department, but the commonly called Jacobs ladder [polemoniaceae] is a clump forming genus of about 25 species. It can grow up to 3′ tall by approximate 1′ wide and produces blue flowers on axillary cymes. The image above may not make you want to rush out the door to pick one up, but I’d definitely rate it in the small garden department.
10. Polystichum setiferum
The Holly or Shield fern [dryopteridaceae] is a genus of about 200 species. This evergreen is better commonly know as the Soft shield fern and produces fronds of up to 4′ in length. The description is short and sweet, but ferns just that and the image tells it like it is. Personally, I love it.
In north Dublin last week I recorded temperatures just over -8 celcius and although the wind chill factor was something a lot greater than that, with the recent weather and the subsequent thaw….what one can see now is [maybe] mildly uncertain regarding what plants have survived the minus temperatures due to the fact that a lot are at present leafless and dormant.
A plants cells are made up essentially of water and in extreme conditions that water in the plant cells expands resulting in the cells bursting. The bit that’s important to you, the plant owner, is that once the plant cell has burst it is dead – and – put very simply beyond resurrection.
The question is how far or how much of the plant is actually dead, if it has just burnt some of the leaves or it has actually made it’s way into the ‘heart’ of the plant. For this there’s really no one definitive answer, but [for example] for my own bay laurel hedge [above] I’ll simply cut out the brown and work my way down the stems until I can only see green. It may well look a bit sparse and patchy after, but it’ll come back for next season. Smaller and younger plants may not have been so fortunate.
My advice is to get out into the garden and have a good rustle through the aftermath and give each plant a good close up inspection. In fear of a frost return you may consider mulching around the base of your plants which will aid them that little bit better – and – they will thank you for it come the new year.
Unsure if one of your plants has survived [?] you can contact me in the following ways…
For those looking for that instant effect, immediate colour or simply a softening of your space outdoors, sometimes the simplest way to achieve this is through instant gardening. How it works is very simple.
Planters are pre-made off site with a pre-selected choice of best look plants
Hand picked to suit your favourite colours and textures
And chosen with only your business and/ or home in mind
Carefully positioned, delivered and placed right at your door or place of choice
In this, plant choice will and can vary from individual to business and from desired placing to season. I have personally found that most choose the following:
Mildly scented yet neutral in colour on business/ office entrances
herb, salad or/ and fruiting choices by kitchen and eating areas
stunning, attractive and stand out for openings, ceromonies and occasions
pretty, instant and welcoming by dwelling and homely places
Planting style aside, in your space you may decide on choosing the following containers
pots and planters
something that little more unusual
or a one off just for you
Of course this can be tailored once again to suit your specific space and all fixtures and fittings can be supplied and fitted. I personally like the fact that, if you do feel that after some time that you need that little change…
not all plants or any [depending on what you choose] will need to be replaced
the planters won’t need to be replaced at all
and the same planters can simply be painted a different colour
Although some do choose to ask for something that mild bit different and one off in general most types, styles and wishes can be discussed and ordered by phone or email and designed/ pre arranged to suit your budget. After that, you simply continue on about your daily routine and let me look after the dirty work.
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