Home My garden Gardening for beginners: always have a back-up plan!

Gardening for beginners: always have a back-up plan!

Bananas, ginger and Phormium - nasturtiums are sown in front
Bananas, ginger and Phormium - nasturtiums are sown in front

Blog: Garden centres to the rescue if you have a bare patch…

No matter how experienced a gardener you are, the qualifications you have, the books you’ve read, or the practical skills you’ve mastered over the years, gardening will kick you up the backside time and again.

Never feel defeated about this or that gardening is not for you. There are so many variables in keeping young plants alive that we all have failures.

Weather at this time of the year is a big problem – a glorious warm, dry spring, then a couple of days into June and we go back to wet and windy March!

My courgettes are none too happy about the change in temperature and my big pots of exotics (bananas, ginger tuberose) ended up being shoved under the table with a fleece thrown over them. One night here it got to as low as 5ºC.

Replacement runner beans White Emergo
Replacement runner beans White Emergo

Snapped tomatillos

One downside of feeding the birds is that a gang of my feathered friends broke into my makeshift veg cage and snapped one of the tomatillos – and you need two for fruit. Luckily, there are two more in the greenhouse still waiting to go out.

The Flavourstar runner beans (a year out of date, it’s true) haven’t germinated at all – off to the garden centre!

They rely on our little gardening accidents at this time of year and need all the help they can get. I went to my local Dobbies and was very reassured by their social distancing, one-way system, limiting people numbers in-store and disinfecting of trollies.

I bought some white runner beans (White Emergo, a heavy yielding crop even under bad weather conditions) and a compact yellow courgette (Jemmer F1) just in case mine don’t make it through.

Courgette Jemmer F1
Courgette Jemmer F1

Buying a treat

Of course, I also managed to buy a couple of Phormiums (New Zealand flax) – Sundowner, to 1m, bronze-green striped strap-like leaves with red and pink and Platt’s Black, 1.2m, brown/black leaves – to bulk up the tropical bed.

Three emergency packets of seeds made their way into my basket – a deep red nasturtium Mahogany Gleam, ruby chard Vulcan to fill a gap in the courgette bed and some Mizuna oriental leaves to plant later on in the season where any gaps occur.

Go for seeds that are easy to grow and once germinated, shoot away quickly or plants that are in bud or, like my Phormium, look good throughout the summer. Any gaps or empty pots will soon be filled!

So come on folks, get those masks on and pay your garden centre a visit – they’ll be delighted to see you.

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