The Great Outdoors – Small scale gardening (my attempt at being green fingered)

June 10, 2013

Succulents & Terrariums Assorted

I will be honest, I am writing this post purely because of the self satisfied joy I felt when the dried ranunculus flower heads I planted began to properly sprout last week. I am not at all green fingered but this year I have tried to start some very small scale gardening with window boxes and the like but my efforts are very much from the lazy girls guide – or as my husband likes to term it survival of the fittest!Elephant Topiary at Petersham Nurseries, Green Primrose windowboxI adore flowers but am nowhere near disciplined enough to prune and sift, however I really want some nature in and around the flat. But how to choose plants when you are a novice? As a starting point, much like interiors, I like quite unusual plants, I love this topiary image above (of Petersham Nurseries via The Cool Hunter) and think the most successful gardens are enchanting because they are curious or unexpected – I particularly like artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman’s garden in Dungeness (below).

 Derek Jarmans Cottage, Dungeness, Kent

I have a preference for wild gardens, prefer delicate colours to garish ones and unusual shaped flowers attract me the most. I love pretty much all plants that grow in the sea and also mossy plants. So far I have bought three alpine succulents in this ilk to go on the kitchen window sill.   They are so low maintenance I may start a larger collection. So far we have these:

Succulents, Sempervium, Golden MoundLooking around at other peoples gardens everyone’s taste is so different. One of my very favourite flowers (technically a weed) is Cow Parsley but I have reluctantly accepted that if I plant Cow Parsley it will probably not only take over our front garden but possibly everyone else’s in the road! Having said that, one of the nicest front gardens I have seen recently was in Peckham where somebody’s entire front garden had been taken over by the prettiest of weeds – Borage.

My lovely husband has been buying me flowers every fortnight this year and so I have been using this as research into what I actually wanted to grow – a living source book if you will. So far my absolute favourites have been these Ranunculus he bought at Tooting Broadway station:Pink Ranunculus

I searched online to see if I can grow some in a window box and the variety is infinite. I love the pinks above but you can get so many colours, including green ones which look like miniature cabbages on stems! Alas the only place I can find them online is Sarah Raven and she has sold out. After some expert counseling from my green fingered friend Neil about window boxes I decided on Ranunculus and Peonies for a bright box. Neil warned me that I  likely wouldn’t see any Peonies in the first year, but oh joy that the Ranunculus heads I sewed have begun to shoot green leaves and are now about 10cms tall – I had no idea how much joy a few green leaves could bring me. I also planted a spring window box of white Geraniums and Muscari. I  bought the Muscari  after some caught my eye at  the flower stall outside Liberty. So enchanting, they are just incredible and the bee’s went crazy for them. Now that they have stopped blooming I love their triumphant green pods refusing to be lost amongst the still prolifically blooming geraniums:

Window Boxes, white geranium, ranunculus, muscari

My next project is to make a terrarium for the living room, these are some I have been pinning as inspiration:Succulents & Terrariums

One final note, the very top image in this post – what is it? I have planted it and lost my note of the name! The flowers look like this, answers on a postcard: Green Primrose Window Box (2)

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