Thursday 12 March 2015

Tidying-up the pots.

Most of my readers will know that the raised beds in my garden are used exclusively for vegetables. I do grow a few flowers, but these are predominantly in pots and containers. At this time of year the pots can look decidedly scruffy, and they need a bit of attention if they are going to be OK for the Summer. Last weekend I had a blitz on them...

This is only part of the problem:

Herbs, Lavender, etc before the treatment

Some of the terracotta pots had suffered some frost damage. This occurs when water penetrates the pot and then freezes, which of course means that it expands. Sometime this throws off large chunks of the pot's outer surface, like this:

Sometimes the pot just splits, like this:

One way or another, those pots have to be replaced!

Glazed pots don't generally suffer from this problem. This one has a Helenium plant in it. Last Autumn I left in place about 6 inches / 15cm of the old stems, which trap leaves blown in on the wind, and form a nice blanket for the plant underneath, protecting it from frost during the Winter.

When you look closely though, you can see that the plant is already beginning to grow, and the blanket of leaves will need to be removed to give the new shoots the light they need:

So the procedure is: remove all the accumulated dead leaves; cut the old stems down to ground level; add a handful of general-purpose fertiliser (I use "Growmore") and work it in; top up the pot with a little fresh compost. Then you have this:

All ready for the new season!

The Hydrangea also got the treatment. This is it before:

There are lots of new buds now, so those old "mop-heads" had to come off.

Job done.

I have a couple of plants which are officially "Half-Hardy Annuals", which means that they may survive the Winter, but on the other hand they may not. I think this Scabiosa "Black Chile" may possibly still be alive:

Whereas this Gazania is probably not!

There's no doubt about the Echinaceas though. New growth is already appearing:

Some of the straggly Sage plants seen in the first photo of this post also got a makeover. I removed all the long stems, cutting back to just above a strong leafy shoot. If things go according to plan, the plants will soon produce lots of new stems.

Some of last year's Lavender cutting have been potted-up:

I wrote a few weeks back about buying some small plants to increase my stock of perennials. Well those little plants have been potted-up now too:

Geum, Lobelia Cardinalis and Verbena Bonariensis

So everything looks nice and neat and just raring to go:

Roll on Summer, eh?


  1. Tidying up the container grown plants is a job awaiting my attention. I think pots with chips or cracks sometimes add to a display, I don't like everything looking totally perfect, though of course they still have to be serviceable.

  2. It all looks so pretty now. I only have a few pots. My mints and my front door pot. They are all plastic so they can survive the winter. Otherwise I'd have to drag them inside.

  3. Oh I'm in love with the geum, I bought a plant for 50 pence from a stall holder in a church yard in waddington and it was beautiful the following year flowering its little heart out. Tough as old boots it's coming up again just like yours. Must grow more if I get time

  4. I think you can claim to have more than a few flowers now, Our hostas all need rehousing as the pots are cracking up,

  5. This is one of the jobs I really enjoy, it's the transformation from scruffy to tidy and full of potential. Most of my pots are in the cold greenhouse for winter, so they haven't been done yet, it needs to be a bit warmer up here.


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