Well today I planned to share my first seedlings all snug in my new heated propagator - a birthday present from last May, getting its first use. But things haven't quite gone to plan and after spending too much time fretting about and then breathing life back into my iPad (it lives again - phew!) there's nothing even close to having been sown, let alone snug in that propagator.
So it wasn't looking too promising. And then with a knock on the door a box a metre high arrived...
Yay! Clearly I knew I'd ordered some plants but I didn't know when they were arriving, so it was a nice surprise. Opening the box revealed my well packaged new plants.
I was keen to get them out of the box, but really didn't want to dive in head first. I tried to yank them out (gently) but didn't want to pull them too hard by the cane or by the leaves... and I couldn't quite reach the pots... and when I did they seemed to be secured at the bottom of the box.
This parcel called for the kitchen scissors!
The box was joined just above the plant pot line so cutting the tape and jiggling the box around a bit freed the top section and revealed my plants - a camellia and a clematis.
The clematis is a "Romantika" which all being well should have large purple flowers with green-white anthers and yellow filaments from June to September. It's destined for our patio, is full hardy and can grow in sun or partial shade, which I hope will work as once it's climbed it'll get some sun but there won't be much at its base.
I think the deep purple flowers will look great alongside the pink of the sweet peas and the pale blue of the chilean potato plant which are already established and the white of the jasmine which I've also planted there.
I've also moved my Gertrude Jeckyll rose there too as it was getting crowded out where I'd originally planted it and had very few flowers on it last year. It was an anniversary present from MOH so I was keen it survived and when I checked it this week I saw that it's started growing again, so that's a relief. Let's hope it's happier where it is now and enjoys climbing up the trellis close by.
The camellia is a "Nobilissima" with a white peony-like flower and this one's destined for the far end of our garden and we'll get to see it from the house. As well as giving us something pretty to look at when it flowers in January to March it'll also help fill the gap the large hebe left when it was damaged in the 2014 Christmas Eve storm. Last year I planted some peonies, primulas, a geranium and a smaller hebe in its place but apart from the primulas which have flowered ever since it's not such an inspiring view at this time of the year.
I hope it likes it there. I wasn't expecting it to do much this year, so I had another surprise when I discovered a lovely bloom as I unwrapped it. I'm hoping that next year this one will show more camellia-like behaviour and flower at the same time as my neighbour's pink and red camellias. My very much sheltered pink camellia is still in bud and if I'm honest I'm getting a little impatient with it now!
I could have gone for the red and pink sort but I'm following some advice we once had from a garden designer and that's to plant cool coloured plants, so blues, lilacs, purples and whites at the end of the garden as they'll seem further away and make your garden appear bigger. Whereas brighter colours appear closer and bring your garden in. Clever hey? I see the logic in this, and it'll be interesting to see if that works out, especially as we already have a fairly long garden...
These plants took some unwrapping, it must be said. No wonder I couldn't gently yank them out of the box, they were taped in - and when I got through the plastic the soil was still moist, so well done Crocus. I've bought plants online before (not from Crocus I should say) and the results weren't anywhere near as good as these, and in the end I got a full refund and I've yet to see if any of them will reappear this year.
So now all I need is some ericaceous compost and I'll be ready to plant my camellia. And then I'll get onto sowing something to put into my new propagator!