Winter Flowering Pansies to the Rescue

winter flowering pansies

I decided to give the stone urn planters at the front of our property a much-needed makeover, full of weeds they looked sad and neglected. Unloved.

Weedy stone urn planter
Weedy stone urn planters. Oh the shame!

I replaced the contents of each planter with fresh compost, planting each one with mixed red winter flowering pansies, trailing variegated ivy completed the fiery autumn look I was going for. The urns were crying out to be planted with ivy, it goes so well with these style planters.

pansies and ivy urn planters

Stone urn planters

Now they look all loved again, very regal and romantic, a touch festive too? The planters are in a sheltered spot against the house wall, hopefully the pansies will continue to flower throughout the cold weather although they won’t appreciate heavy snow.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Growing Back to my Roots

container gardening

Having an allotment plot has been a blessing. Not only are allotments incredibly hard to get in the first place, they’re a great way to meet other local gardeners and gather invaluable tips and advice. Visiting our allotment is like visiting an old friend; it’s familiar, we feel at home there, and most importantly our plot has allowed us to get on with the new growing year uninterrupted since moving house recently. I feel like a bit of a whinge-bag with what I’m about to write, but, to me, not having a vegetable garden to potter around feels strange. Especially after creating and working in such a large and productive vegetable garden beforehand.

sstrawberries in a hanging potresized

Given time we will have a vegetable garden once more, it takes time to achieve I know (as our previous vegetable garden did), and I really shouldn’t rush but I’m a terribly impatient gardener person you see. So what’s a girl to do? Well, over the weekend I went back to how it all began for me, how I discovered a passion for growing my own food. I created a container vegetable garden.

I’m currently growing:

  • Potatoes (left-over seed potatoes from the allotment)
  • Mixed salad leaves (really easy)
  • Salad onions
  • Beets (for leaves and roots)
  • Carrots (use thinnings in salads)
  • Radish (quick-growing and easy to grow)
  • Calendula (a beautiful colour variety from The Real Seed Collection, attracts bees and flowers are edible)
  • Cosmos (a beautiful colour variety from Sarah Raven seeds, bees and butterflies will love them)
  • Peas (for pea shoots and peas of course!)
  • Broad Beans (tops are yummy too, but not covered with black fly!)
  • Onion sets (left-over from the allotment)
  • Mixture of herbs (from seed and cuttings)
  • Strawberry runners saved from our previous vegetable garden (soon to go in hanging baskets)
  • Pineberries (I hope they fruit this year)
  • Alpine strawberries grown from seed
  • Sunflowers (every garden should have them)
  • Lots of tomatoes and some chillies (they’re enjoying the warmth of the conservatory for now)

grow peas in a container

My ‘grow your own’ journey began by growing everything I could in containers. The beauty of container gardening is you can provide the perfect growing conditions for a wide-range of crops (as you can with a raised bed garden), the downside is it all needs extra watering, but if we have a summer like last year then it won’t be a problem (I hope I haven’t just jinxed our summer, sorry everyone!). Anyway, I don’t mind watering, I find it therapeutic in an odd sort of way. You can use any pots or tubs you like (even old car tyres but wash them first), root veg such as carrots will require a good depth, as will potatoes. I raided the shed and used things that were abandoned by the previous home owner.

grow dwarf beans in a container
Dwarf French beans are perfect for growing in containers

I plan to grow lots more in pots as the season progresses, including courgettes and pumpkin plants straight into the old compost heap. I have the allotment so I’m not having to go too over the top with containers (sticking to growing things we’re likely to eat plenty of or enjoy), but now I can stroll down the garden and fuss over my container veg garden too. Rich is happy, I’ve stopped my constant whingeing to get the new raised bed veg patch underway. Well, for now anyway!

My veg container garden thus far:

growing veg in pots

Do you grow veg/fruit in containers?