Friday, 17 May 2013

Sustainable bedding ?

That explosion of colour that is bedding will be detonating very soon. This is how parts of the garden have looked over the last few years.

We tried to choose one or two main colours, usually a rich dark main like dark blue or purple, and a brighter, lighter colour like pink or lilac. Though it looked fine, I have had growing feelings of guilt over how wasteful it all is. Mountains of peat taken from wetlands, wasted heat growing on the bedding plants, fuel used to transport them all over the country ... then a few months later they are on the compost heap. until next year when we all do it all again.

We started thinking and talking about it, trying to find ways to make it a little more ecologically sound and sustainable.

We decided we could use peat-free compost and our own home made compost and grow our own bedding plants, so at least we would be saving peat wetlands and fuel for transportation. It is still wasteful though, as it is still not permanent and thus is demanding of resources.

So ... this is our new plan for this season.

We have grown a certain amount of bedding from seed, Ammas, Cosmos, dahlia 'Bishop's Children', Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy', Ricinus Communis and Coleus,

Many pots have now been given permanent hardy plantings of, for example,  hostas, Castor Oil,  Agapanthus (hardiest we could find) and Hemerocallis.

This year we will have to buy very little actual bedding, a couple of trays of things which are hard to grow but indispensable, like Surfinias and some hanging basket plants.

I am also experimenting with Bedding roses this year too. I saw an advert online for Bedding Rose 'Garden Party' a lovely little pink rose growing to only about 30cm x 30 cm. They can be used in tubs and baskets and at the edge of borders too. In theory this ticks all the boxes because they are hardy, perennial and sustainable.

I was originally going to buy 10, but then I saw that 20 was much better value than 10, and 50 was much better value than 20 and ... so it went on ! I ended up buying 72 baby bedding roses.  They are basically rooted plugs - always a bit of a shock when you open up the box and see just how TINY they are ! However, they are growing on already and look very healthy.

Today I potted them on and I am keeping them in the greenhouse, to enhance growth.

I like to do mini experiments when I am in the greenhouse, and to compare rates of growth when conditions are varied a little. I planted these 72 babies in 3 different sized pots, and I will be interested to see how well they do !


  1. Wow! You have some beautiful color combinations! Will the 72 roses bloom in different colors? It doesn't matter, really -- how exciting to raise so many roses at once! I applaud your earth-friendly concerns and I am sure that you will come up wit something wonderful. Love your blog -- it's always so fun!

  2. Hi Anastasia and thankyou for your comments. The roses are all pink and called 'garden Party', I can't wait to see how they will fit into the garden, when they are bigger.

  3. It is always fun to have a LOT of one thing with which to experiment. We bought 100 giant sequoia seedlings ten years ago, and now have quite the young forest. What will you do with all those roses?

  4. Hi Ricki, thankyou for your comments . That is a LOT of sequoia seedlings ! I bet they make quite an impact. I intend to experiment with the roses in a couple of different ways - I am trying them as edging to beds, where I would usually use geraniums or Alchemilla Mollis etc. We will also be using them in tubs and pots in place of more usual bedding plants such as lobelia.

  5. Are you serious that's how your garden looks?? Speechless. Absolutely magnificient. Words can't describe that beauty.

  6. Aw KL, you are very kind ! It is a fantastic time of year when everything is beginning to look its best !


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