Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 31 March 2008

Franks Plants

For me Spring has really arrived when Franks Plants starts up for their Spring/Summer season. These plant sales alternate each weekend between 2 primary schools on either side of town. They've started a little earlier than usual owing to the early Easter and should continue until mid June. Their second stint will go from August Bank Holiday weekend until the end of October. It's a great place to go for basic annuals (grown locally), perennials and shrubs at much cheaper prices and better quality than the local DIY stores and garden centres. Each week there's usually something a bit more unusual - this time it was large box topiary balls and pyramids, plus standard olive trees. See if you can spot them - you may need to enlarge the picture ;)

This week I bought some sweet peas (having forgotten to sow them last Autumn) to grow up one of the arches on the allotment, 3 Helenium autumnale 'Helena Gold', and 3 Camelot foxgloves - a relatively new perennial variety, for less than a tenner the lot. I resisted all the plants for hanging baskets as my cold frames are still full with overwintering plants, so there's no room to harden anything off at the moment. Sadly the original Frank of Franks Plants retired last year - I wish I'd known as I would have loved to have bought the business instead of the young couple who've taken it on.

The sales are extremely popular, so I was a little surprised at the pictured scene yesterday morning at 10am. I was expecting to queue for half an hour to pay for my plants - I think most people in Chippenham must have forgotten about the clocks going forward and were still having a lie in!

9 comments:

  1. That's an interesting post Michelle-I have never been to a Frank's Plants sale, despite my proximity, although I do buy from a local nurseryman who has stall on the market.
    I know what you mean about lack of space-I'm nearly at windowsill capacity.

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  2. Sweet peas are among the few bright flowers I still like. (And like to smell.) But they give me absolutely and awful hayfever. They reduce me to a snivelling wreck. So I've given up on them.

    Esther

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  3. I want to plant a garden this year. We have not planted a big garden in several years. Last year we did plant some tomatoes, and peppers. I want fresh vegetables.

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  4. Give the new owners your details.

    It may not be what they want/expect. Especially if they have a bad season. And you could step in

    Look at Sue Beesley, sometimes you gotta go for it.

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  5. I wish we had a similar establishment in the vicinity VP. We visited our local garden centre yesterday morning. This started on a small scale and was a treasure trove for several years. Sadly prices have risen and risen and it is now becoming an effort to find garden related stuff amongst all the other items for sale. Hope that your purchases thrive and prosper. I have decided to give up on sowing sweet peas in the autumn. The mild winters of the last couple of years have resulted in some very straggly looking specimens and I have had to sow from afresh.

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  6. What a wonderful way to buy plants, sounds like it would have been a good business to buy.

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  7. Judith - it's at Frogwell on Saturday, so we could go over then if you're free...

    Esther - that's a shame. Why is it the foods/plants we love tend to bite back?

    Andrea - that's sounds great! I'll keep a lookout at how you're getting on

    GM - great advice, now why didn't I think of that?

    Anna - a possible business opportunity for you? I must admit FP's made me very lazy about sowing annuals, partcularly as my results tend to be similar to yours...

    Starnitesky - Oh I do wish it were mine!

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  8. This looks like a great place to pick up some plants, I would have to take plenty of pennies with me. x

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  9. Hi Louise - luckily not as many pennies as down the garden centre :)

    I've topped up my Erysimum and Lupin areas this week. The unusual plant for this week is pineapple!

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