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Hello! I’m Katherine Crouch, BBC Gardener of The Decade. We are here at the beautiful Sommerset gardens of East Lambrook Manor. I’m going to be showing you how to plant a tub a beautiful flowers that will keep going all the way through the summer in a really lovely hot theme of reds and purples.
I’ve bought this really lovely terracotta pot from the garden centre in a lovely glaze of browns and reds to complement our theme. You can see it has got a god hole in the bottom which we need for drainage. A good pot is a good investment, this was 20 pounds on special offer. First of all we need to make sure we can drain all the water through when we’re watering. So we are going to use pieces of broken pot, any gardener will end up with a collection of these whether they like it or not. Start of with a good sized piece upside down on the hole. Then add some more pieces so there is a good air space at the bottom so when we are watering all the water will drain through. If you haven’t got any crock pieces then one stone accross the hole and a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot will be fine. So here were are. . . Without sliding them to one side, can you see the crocks in the bottom there? I’ve got a really lovely selection of plants. It’s not rocket science to plant a tub, you just shove in some compost and add some plants! Easy peasy! But today I’m going to show you some tips that will really make your pots that bit special. I went to a plant demonstration and I heard this wonderful American woman say. . . ‘Honey! When your doing a mixed tub what you want is a thriller, a filler and a spiller!’ It makes perfect sense. Our thriller is our main event in the pot that gives us some height. This is a beautiful Cordeline Torbay Red which you can see is a really good colour to go with our pot. Then as our filler I’m going to have as our center main colour event, three beautiful Osteospermun, Two of them are in a lovely flame red and just for fun a really rich velvetty purple. First off all I need to fill up the tub halfway with compost. The aim of the game is to end up with the tops of the root balls about an inch and a bit below the top of the rim. So when we water we can just fill up all that top space with water and let it drain down through. We don’t want them set down to deep and we don’t want them sticking out either. So, lets start off by putting some soil in. Use a nice big scoop, to pop it in over the top of our crocks. There we are, that’s about right to start with. Now you can see that our main thriller plant appears to be taking up nearly all of the pot already. We are going to have to do some clever cutting in order to make sure that we have got room for all the other plants. If we put the Osteospurmuns in with this Cordeline, can you see how it is going straight over the top of the Osteopermun? What I want to do is give this a bit of a trim. Using just an ordinary pair of scissors I can just quietly cut off right next to the stem the very lowest of the shoots. We won’t see these when the pots completed. The great thing about using these is that these plants, if given a mild winter and maybe a little protection, are hardy. You will be able to use this plant year after year. That should do it. We’ve got some cuts there, they won’t show. Knock it out of it’s pot, there we are. Lovely root ball, tease out some of these roots so that it encourages the plant to send out new growth into the compost instead of going round and round in circles.
We are going to pop this in the pot like so. We are really going to have to plant these fairly tightly, so I’m just going to tease of the root ball either side to make this a slightly flattened oval. The plant won’t mind if we break a root it can grow another one. I’m going to put this as hard to the back of the pot as I can. Now for our Osteaspermun. These were bought a couple of days ago, already one or two of the flowers have gone over. So just to improve the look of our tub I am going to dead head it and cut them off. When you dead head something, cut down to something deffinate like a joint. Don’t just cut the flower head off otherwise you will end up with a forest of ugly spikes. Can you see how these lovely buds are going to give us a continuous succession of flowers all the way through the summer? Absolutely yummy! There’s a very well grown root ball, we can loose some of this. This was planted in just a little bit of a smaller pot some I’m going to bring up the level of the compost. This will help us end up with the tops of all our plants at the same level. Let’s put our lovely purple Osteospermun in the middle. We’ve lost one flower in action. This plant is OK. Same again, tease out all these roots. Give them a good scuffing! Really push it down. So we are nearly full but you would be suprised, there is still room for more plants. The more we can stuff in, the more spectacular the displays going to be. Don’t worry if you use the odd leaf. So to contrast with our rich brooding hot colours I’m going to put some lovely lime green Hellecrysum. These are our spillers, they will spill over the front of the container, and these can grown two or three feet in a season. With plenty of compost underneath they will grow like nobodies business. This is a golden variety, you can also get these plants in veregated and silver forms for other colour schemes. It is one of my favourites for big pots. We can still pack in a few plants, this is a lysimachia Midnight Sun. It has nice dark bronze leaves to match the dark colours of the pot and the cordeline. Lets see if we have space for that. This will have beautiful yellow flowers in later summer once the plant is established. There’s a lovely contrast there of the dark foliage and the light, I love that. Really yummy! I’ve also got, I don’t know if we’ll get away with this, this is a littleclimber. It climbs to 2 or 3 feet, 4 if it is really well fed. This is called ‘Orange Beauty’, otherwise know as ‘Black Eyed Susan’. If I find a little space for it I wonder if she is going to climb her way up through the Cordiline in the Summer. It is always worth a try I wonder if we have a space back here. . . if I rummage down through I have got a space behind one of the Osteospermuns. I’m just going to pop that in there, and take the top off that. We’ll trail that up through. Now it doesn’t look like anything atall at the moment, but I’m hoping that will come. How are we doing? I think I might take one or two more Cordeline leaves off because your still not seeing the Osteospermuns to best effect. Lets do a little bit more of a trim It won’t mind, these plants grow like toothpaste coming out of a tube. It will produce more shoots out of the top of the plant. I think it will look better if it’s coming up as a bit of a fountain rather than spreading out completely. We’ll take some off this side as well. Try not to cut anymore flower heads off. There we go, we still have a nice amount of verticle effect but now we can see the Osteospermuns a lot better. We just need to pack in more compost in around the gaps between the plants. Using a dibber is a really good idea to make sure that we haven’t got any gaps. You can see how wobbly our cordeline is so that needs a good packing around to keep it stable. Let’s shove in more compost again, this will take a little while so don’t rush it. Feel down with your hands to see that we haven’t left any yawning gaps. Even when you push as much compost as you can between the plants, once you have watered it all in it will settle the compost firmly around the roots of the plants. So water it then have another look to see if you need to add anymore compost. Don’t worry about getting compost all over the leaves because that will wash off when we water. That’s pretty good. Looks like were complete but there is still something we can do to give this some extra Vavavoom! Here’s an extra pack of Nasturtiums, now this is a climbing variety from Sutton Seeds called ‘Tropical Mix’. Climbers don’t have to climb, in nature they often sprawl. So what I want to do is take come of these seeds, and these are nice and easy to sow because they are big seeds. I’m just going to poke a few of them just down to my finger joint in and around the edge of the pot. I’m hoping that these will germinate where they can see the light and spill out over the pot with lovely orange and yellow and scarlet flowers They could trail up to 3 feet away and could look quite spectacular. Nastertium seeds aren’t too expensive to buy and the great things about growning things from seed. . . . if you don’t tell anyone and they don’t grow. . . . . sssshhhhhh! Nobody is any the wiser. We are still not done, there are still a few holes here. To ensure that this display will keep going right the way through the summer we need to add some extra feed. When it came to compost years ago I was far too poor and mean to buy decent compost, I have found that if you use a specialist tub and container compost success will be assurred because your paying for extra fertiliser and water retaining granules. If your pot should dry out completely they will absorb water much more readily. Don’t worry if your container at this stage looks a little bit tatty because all of our plants are facing in funny directions that will improve once it grows on a little bit. To ensure that this keeps going all the way through the year we want to give it some extra feed. A couple of ways you can do it, you can either water with a liquid fertiliser everytime you water the plant every week or so. What I use are these slow release fertiliser capsules. Once you have these in the pot for 6 month all you have to do is water. By the end of the season your pot will be quite as big as your neighbours. For a pot this size I would probably use 5 or 6 capsules. Just push them down into the gaps using your thumbs until they are sort of half the length of your finger into the compost. Everytime you water these capsules will release a small amount of fertiliser. The plants will take it up and grow beautifully healthily all summer long. If you don’t want to use chemical fertilisers and would prefer an organic solution. One thing you could use is pelletted chicken manure. This is quite nice to handle, just don’t chew your fingernails afterwards, wash your hands. Sprinkle a little bit of this around here but I will probably be putting a handful of this on once a month right the way through the summer. All we have to do now is clear up a little bit and give it a water. There we have one hot tub. I’ve planted this with my thriller to the back of the pot, my fillers are in the middle and the spillers are at the front. I can view it from one side and it would be great for putting on my front door step for example. If you want to plant this so that you can view it from all the way around, put your thriller in the middle and your fillers in a triangle around it and the spillers all around the edge of the pot. For more gardening sites and lovely projects to do, visit silvelrinetools. com.