FRESH AS­SO­CI­A­TIONS

Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Planting Ideas -

The mantra right plant, right place has many mer­its, but one sim­ple dodge that it took me a while to fully em­brace was to grow plants in pots that I oth­er­wise wasn’t able to in the open ground, either be­cause of soil, cli­mate or ge­og­ra­phy. At Siss­inghurst I strug­gle to grow the yel­low Ery­thro­nium ‘Pagoda’, but by plac­ing it in a pot I can pro­vide just the right con­di­tions that will en­cour­age not only a healthy plant but one with good flow­er­ing and persistence.

How to achieve the look

I like to have lots of things that can be brought into the house, and so as well as us­ing the large static pots and troughs at Siss­inghurst I am slowly in­creas­ing the num­ber of small por­ta­ble pots that I can put down here or there and even bring in­doors to en­joy at close quar­ters. At Siss­inghurst I am spoiled by the choice of con­tain­ers avail­able that have such in­ti­mate as­so­ci­a­tions with the gar­den’s his­tory. With this con­tainer I’m bring­ing some of my own his­tory to the ta­ble. It’s an old metal tin is that I usu­ally use for stor­ing pack­ets of seeds, but its faded colour is the per­fect foil for the yel­low flow­ers of Ery­thro­nium ‘Pagoda’. De­spite the ar­chi­tec­tural per­ma­nence of the flow­ers, I love the dis­solved feel the plant gives off around the edges; a misty, soft, di­aphanous feel. The in­di­vid­ual flow­ers are held on wiry stems about 30cm high and are shaped ex­actly like a pagoda’s roof; slop­ing down from an apex and up­turned at the cor­ners. The leaves are a ver­dant deep green and spar­ingly, but exquisitely marked in choco­late-brown, the same colour as the stems. The leaves too have that de­light­ful qual­ity of cap­tur­ing pearls of wa­ter when it rains, adding to the over­all beauty. In most of our pots we use a peat­free com­post with added grit, with the ad­di­tion of a slow-re­lease fer­tiliser and vine wee­vil con­trol. Large pots need wa­ter­ing once a week, but smaller pots, such as this, can of­ten need wa­ter­ing three times a week, par­tic­u­larly in sum­mer.

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