I’m starting this week off with a plug. It’s not the small plant type of plug though, it’s about my lad setting himself up as a ‘Gadget Man’. (Stay with me here though as I have linked it to horticulture) He’s decided to turn his passion for all things computer based into helping people who are a bit out of touch with new technology by giving workshops to show how to get the best from mobile devices such as iPads. He’ll sort out most other things too but he has found one of the biggest issues people have with these things is setting them up in the first place. A lot of things are cloud based now so it’s handy to have these in place to back up the treasured family photos and selfies when you are out and about, or is that just me?
To get the word out on the street I have been giving Ronnie a hand distributing leaflets advertising the service. The leaflets are small A5 size and are large enough to list of what he is offering but also small enough to fit into the letterbox.
I’ve probably been to a few hundred houses so far and it’s given me a great opportunity to be nosey and have a look at other people’s gardens, some of which you just don’t see from the road. Postal delivery people are so lucky; they get to see them every working day. I noticed that some houses have metal post boxes on the front gates to save having to venture down long drives, but I ignore them and walk down anyway hoping it’s not because of a big angry dog they have a gate box. I’ve been lucky so far.
No two gardens are the same. They all have their own personalities, be it a pile of neglected car parts and intrusive couch grass or highly manicured gardens with not a blade of grass out of place. There are a lot of gardeners who place planted up plant pots around the house, some of them look very attractive, but a majority of the ones I was in my travels had a collection of dead plants in them. The main reason this has happened is that people didn’t keep an eye on them in the dry spell and they died through lack of watering. The only plants that seem to survive seem to be self-set black willow trees or reeds, again self-set.
This tells me a few things.
· The owners intentionally let the annuals die off and the pots will eventually have winter bedding such as pansies put into them.
· The owners need to get a watering system installed, especially if they have loads of pots and baskets.
· The owner’s lifestyles are too busy to notice the plants are dying as they dash to the car.
· The plant roots have been eaten by vine weevil.
· There’s a cat in the garden using the pot as a toilet.
· The pots are too small for the plants
· There are too many plants in a root restricted area and they dry out too quickly.
It’s not a criticism though before anyone sends me an email, as I have plenty of dead plants in pots too. My reason is a bit of all of the above and also because I have too many to check, especially the pots that have been buried under massed of summer growth. The plants that stand the best chances of survival are the ones where the roots have escaped from the drainage holes in the base and fixed themselves into the soil. This is a good way to keep the pots upright too I have found. Of course it won’t work if the pot is sitting on a concrete path or driveway.
Another observation about the pots (and I stress observation, not criticism) is that most of the pots aren’t in proportion to their surroundings. It can look a bit odd when I meandered down the drive of a big house and find loads of tin 20cm pots around the patio or front door. The proportion issue doesn’t end there either; some other garden features are just too small for their places. I think it might be something to do with impulse buying in the shops, especially the Euro shops or Lidl. You see something that looks great close up and in the picture and has the added benefit of being able carry it out of the shop and into the car.
Most pots and garden ornaments for bigger areas can’t really be carried in a bag. It reminds me a bit of the Father Ted sketch. Father Ted was telling a confused Dougal about the use of perspective and scale with the use of a plastic cow whilst on a caravanning holiday in a field.
“These are small, but the ones out there are far, far away”