Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Shop v. Seed June 11, 2009

Filed under: Colour,Flower,Seeds,Spring,Summer — northernwindowgardener @ 7:25 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Hot Pink PetuniaA few weeks ago as I was preparing to plant everything up I thought I’d end up with about 80% home grown and 20% shop bought. There were some plants I just hadn’t been able to find seed for (not that I was trying too hard – I had enough to be getting on with given this was my first time!) like petunia surfinia (a trailing petunia), bacopa and trailing verbena. But having had a fair amount of success with seeds I thought that my crop would be enough to fill my boxes handsomely.

When it came to plant everything it still seemed like that split would be about right. But once everything was planted up and it became apparent that some of them were likely to be hit and miss (the aster and sweet pea in particular looked like they had a 50/50 chance of survival) and some of the boxes looked a bit bare.

Convincing myself that just a few more shop-bought plants would make all the difference I toddled off to see what they had. Of course I was immediately seduced by the strong specimens that had for sale,  and at such a cheap price too! Of course I felt some guilt at this and I knew these plants had had only
the best conditions in order to be this far ahead of my weedy looking versions. But this didn’t stop me convincing myself that this wasn’t really cheating, just supplementing my own stock with some healthy companions. Yeah! Whatever!

So over the last three weeks as the plants have bedded in I’ve noticed a few more spaces that could do with another ‘companion’. Humph – maybe just a couple extra would make all the difference? No?

To assuage the guilt slightly I of course chose those shop plants that weren’t in bloom yet. Somehow this allowed me to kid myself that I wasn’t just buying a ready-made box, thrusting it out onto a ledge and awaiting the plaudits from passing pedestrians and bloggers alike.

So instead of 80/20 it’s now more like 60/40. Not that I’m really feeling that bad about it. Rationalising difficult decisions is such a wonderful (and terrible) human talent!

I think I’m done now. At the weekend I happened to visit two garden centres and only came back with one final box of plants – some light blue lobelia that will fill in for the nasturtiums that failed to translplant and my own attempts to grow lobelia from seed which resulted in two plants (now growing well, which I’m quite proud of) out of about 30 seeds. Compared to previous visits this was restrained behaviour and I really can’t see where I’d fit anything more in now.

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2 Responses to “Shop v. Seed”

  1. Flighty Says:

    Reading this made me smile as what you’ve written is so typical of most gardeners, me included! Cheers.

  2. It’s a real struggle to walk out of the shop without buying something. There are a couple of DIY stores with garden centres nearby which I can take or leave now. The proper garden centres are a bit further away and given my lack of transport I take the opportunity to visit when I can and it’s very difficult to leave without anything.

    One place in particular tends to have a wider and more unusual variety of plants and I haven’t walked out yet without carrying something. God forbid I should ever visit a proper nursery!


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