Friday, 16 May 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: Space solutions for small gardens, just steal someone else's


Like anyone who enjoys shopping for plants, it wasn't long before my garden got full. Not full as in "the plants all had enough space, but I sensibly decided to call a halt". No, more like, "my garden is stuffed to the rim, causing the poor plants desperately to try Prison Break-style escape in all directions".

One plant I grow from seed, Echium pinniana, has tried harder than most. It is in full flower two doors down at my neighbour Cheryl's house, with a flower spike that reaches to the first floor windows.

Originally from the Canary Isles, this Echium requires tons of winter cossetting. Or so I always thought.

Cheryl has done absolutely nothing to get it through the snow, wind and frost, except some occasional moaning and threats to uproot it. My contribution has been to keep on insisting it'll look great when summer comes and begging her to leave it be.

It is growing in a thick layer of gravel which she put on to discourage weeds (ha ha), so perhaps that's the perfect growing medium for this island dweller. I couldn't possibly comment on how the seeds came to be in her gravel rather than in my garden (ahem).

Mystery of its seeding aside, the bees and ladybirds are all loving this multistorey marvel of vivid blue; and I'm celebrating one more step in my gradual horticultural takeover of the entire neighbourhood.

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