August 12, 2017

So, a year or so ago, I was gifted with a car boot full of plants to help me hold territory against the encroaching wilderness.

plant haul

Most of them got planted out in the weeks that followed – but I didn’t quite manage to find space for all the crocosmia by the time winter had come along, and I assumed that I had missed the chance to get them into the ground. Crocosmia are pretty tough (I should know, I spent several years trying to beat them back in the old garden) but no plant wants to spend a Scottish winter in an old recycling bin lined with black plastic.

Well, except crocosmia, which proved it is genuinely indestructible by not only surviving, but flourishing and is now flowering again.

crocosmia flowers

I’m a sucker for anything that survives against the odds – especially something that does such a good job of cheering up August, when a lot of the other flowers are looking a bit tatty. So despite slight nervousness about its invasive tendencies, I have added it to a corner of the garden where it can fight it out with the buddleia, another plant that will still be with us come the apocalypse.

crocosmia planted out

As you can see, the garden is still very much a work in progress…

Which may well be some time next week, if the news is anything to go by.


Trench Warfare

February 16, 2010

It was a fairly modest ambition, as I thought. Just dig up a patch of the Crocosmia (aka Montbretia – you know when plants go under an alias they’re bound to be trouble) that was taking over the front bed – and get rid of those little nettles springing up while I was at it – so I had somewhere to plant a wider variety of annuals, maybe even discover something that rabbits didn’t like to eat.

About half the corms I dug up in total

You would have thought a decade’s experience in IT projects would have warned me to be very wary of all those little jobs that start with the word ‘just’. Especially if they continue with the word ‘while’. Two weeks, and a barrow-load of corms* later, and I had cleared my first patch, at least provisionally. I’ve a horrible feeling that it was the Crocosmia that was keeping the nettles in some sort of check – for some very small nettle plants, they had an awfully large amount of root. Perhaps, like Iran and Iraq in the eighties, I should have just left them battling it out so they couldn’t get expansionist anywhere else. And there were definite signs of bindweed root in the soil too, just waiting for a bit of space and light to spring. I think I’ve got it all out, but you never know…

Two feet down, many more to go

Two feet down, several more to go...

Still, that’s a couple of feet cleared, which will have to do me for this year. If I manage to hold the territory (and it’s by no means certain that I will) I shall use it as a bridgehead for next year’s campaign and press on.

Actually, this particular battle is no more than gardening karma. Many many moons ago when I had my first garden, I happily planted a pack of Crocosmia corms along the fence I shared with my neighbour. He – despite being both a man, and actually extremely knowledgeable about gardening – was a genuinely nice person who didn’t believe in putting off beginners by patronising them with well-meant advice, so he didn’t say anything to stop me.

I expect he’s still digging them up even now.

*I wonder whether anyone has considered using Crocosmia for carbon sequestration? They certainly manage to bury a huge amount of vegetable matter in the soil.