After being so sure that this was the time to plant out the window boxes for summer I’ve been overcome with indecisiveness. The geraniums and marigold seem strong enough to have a fighting chance but everything else looks a bit weedy and straggly. A visit to the garden centre didn’t reassure me, in fact it only made things worse.
I know I’ve said before that I’m aware that garden centre plants seem to be generally forced or at least grown in near perfect conditions and therefore are far ahead of home-grown specimens at this time of year. That may well be true but it’s hard not to compare my weak and straggly verbena with the strong, lush and healthy examples on the shelves.
The geraniums match up reasonably well but the brachycome, sweet pea and impatiens are all unworthy of comparison. The plants on the shelves seem tighter and bushier than my home grown ones as well. In some instances they look like completely different varieties although sadly I know they aren’t.
My judgement is coloured because last year I didn’t start to plant my shop-bought bedding plants until mid-to-late June. Subsequently I was of the opinion that many of them didn’t have enough of a growing period to really get settled in and therefore didn’t give as strong a display as you would expect. All of this I justified on the late start they got.
Now it’s early May and we’re only a month away from where I started last year and I have a growing sense that I should be getting on with planting. But realistically despite all the relative success I’ve had with seedlings half of them just don’t look ready to cope with a breezy Scottish spring.
So, I’ve succumed to those good-looking garden centre plants and, purely in the name of science and experimentation of course, will plant them out in the next week or so along with my own. Then I’ll add the seedlings if they get a bit stronger and we’ll see what happens from there.
In my defence I chose some plants that I didn’t manage to grow myself. Last year I had double petunias which were very pretty but a bit too big. This year I wanted to get some trailing petunias instead but hadn’t seen seed anywhere – so I have three of these to plant. I also have a mini-trailing petunia that has candy striped flowers, a trailing verbena to compare with my home grown variety and a bacopa that is already in flower. It was another plant I quite liked but hadn’t had a go with.
There we have it then. All this hand wringing over a few little trays of flowers. Maybe that’s the curse of having limited space – you can control nearly everything but you really notice if things don’t look right. That’s also the curse of being slightly obsessive-compulsive too!