GBBD: Off-Piste Plant Buying and Planting

My plant buying is governed currently by a wants list for the terrace borders and front garden makeovers planned for this year. It's interesting to see how my tastes have changed since I started this blog and now show up in the list.

The pictured Astrantia 'Star of Royals' wasn't on there, but I couldn't resist it when I went to my local garden centre to claim my half price plant offer. I'd decided Trachelospermum jasminoides was the plant of choice for my claim, but then found that was on special offer anyway.

I had planned to plant the Astrantia in the shady part of the terrace to replace the prickly Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Tricolor'*, where Victoria and I agreed the flowers would do a marvellous job of lighting up the gloom. However, it was so gloomy when I removed the Osmanthus, I didn't have the heart to plant it there.

Instead, I've given it a starring centre stage role in the top terrace bed, where I see it waving at me every time we sit down to eat in the kitchen. I'm happy with its new position and I'm now having a rethink of what will go in the deeply shaded part of the terrace beds.

Egglestone Hall Gardens - where it's often hard to separate gardens from nursery :)

On the whole I've been very disciplined with my plant buying list, but I was tempted to go off-piste again whilst on holiday. We visited Egglestone Hall Gardens in Teesdale on our last day and found a delightful nursery bursting with healthy plants and displayed to perfection.

I managed to restrict myself to a Helianthemum 'Fireball' and a Geranium 'Sandrine'. Both remind me of a delightful afternoon spent with Victoria at Iford Manor last month, where we saw a massive orange variety of the Helianthemum spilling over a wall. 'Fireball' fits in better with the other reds I've planted and is also poised to drape itself over a wall. Of course, these purchases also make a delightful holiday souvenir **.

The geranium is also to remind me to return to the delights of Downside Nurseries, a local nursery which we discovered after our Iford visit and has only taken me 30 years to realise it's there. They have a marvellous range of geraniums which I'm planning to use to knit the taller plants in my terrace beds together.

Whilst I'm enjoying having the discipline of a planting list, it's also a delicious feeling to go off-piste a little and buy a few extras to plant in unexpected places on my planting plan.

I'll return at a later date to tell you more about all the new plants in my terrace beds.

* = planted for year-round interest, but far too prickly for placing next to our garden steps!

** = well, that's what I'm telling myself ;)

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. It's always nice to treat yourself to something unexpected, especially when there are such good associations. I hope they do well for you. CJ xx

  2. That's a very pretty astrantia, definitely worth a place where it can be easily admired. Lists are good for discipline but its hard to beat a little off piste plant purchasing. I indulged myself similarly at a recent plant fair. Enjoy placing your spontaneous beauties in amongst The Plan!

  3. What lovely borders there are at Egglestone Hall, so full of colour with all the super flowers.
    It's always good to treat yourself and put the list to one side temporarily, that's the joy of gardening!

  4. I've been pretty disciplined myself this year about buying new plants, but impulsive buys when you see something you really love are so much fun. I love the Astrantia; wish I could grow it here.


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