In this video blog you can see me planting up a beautiful blue-glazed ceramic pot. Its shape is ideal for the job in hand, as we will be enjoying some summer bedding plants such as non-hardy Geraniums, the Cape Daisy (Osteospermum), and Chives, along with the center piece of Box ( Buxus sempervirens), the so-called “Black Grass” which is, in fact, the lily Ophiopogon planiscapus”Nigrescens”, “Snow-in-Summer” ( Iberis sempervirens).
Eventually the Box plant will dominate the pot, and with some judicious pruning, will look marvellous. The Geraniums will die in the harsh Winter that I’m expecting, so now is a good time to take cuttings of non-flowering stems to over-winter in a frost-free environment. This is really easy and you don’t need anything fancy like Hormone Rooting Powder. Simply snap off, or cut a short stem of the Geranium making sure it has no flowers on it. Place it in a prepared three-inch (9cm) pot along with two other cuttings of roughly the same length (3 inches should be about right). By “prepared”, what I mean is a pot with multi-purpose compost that has been tamped down, watered and three pencil-sized holes placed equidistantly around the edge. The cuttings will get more warmth if they’re near to the rim of the pot and so grow faster.
I’m a great believer in mixing ornamental planting with “edibles”, so this is why I’ve encorporated Chives into the planting scheme. The flowers have a stronger flavour than the foliage, and look great topping a summer salad-very “Cheffy”! The Snow-in-Summer will eventually be moved out of the pot to allow the Box to expand and enjoy the whole container, as indeed the Cape Daisy will also have the same treatment. Next year I will lift and divide the Black Grass to create more plants, which I’ll “shoe-horn” into the beds where there’s room.
One of the many tricks my Mum taught me, was to place newspaper in the bottom of a pot. This discourages ants from making nests in the pot, as long as you keep watering the thing! The Royal Horticultural Society now recommend that you don’t put too many crocks in the base of your containers. My Mum was ahead of them by several years!