Good Morning to you,
The year before last, a dear friend gifted George and I, a wonderful array of jams, marmalade and chutney. They have long since been eaten and enjoyed. The marmalade was spread on thick slices of toast, the jams used inside a Swiss Roll and a Victoria Sponge and the chutney perked up many a ham sandwich. All that remained of the gift was a gorgeous little basket, which I could not bear to throw away.... well you know how I do love to hold on to things.... just in case.
The basket had been waiting patiently to be brought back into the light for almost 14 months and that day finally arrived, when yesterday, George and I decided to visit our local garden centre. We wanted to buy some compost and bark for another project we were doing and quite honestly, that is all we wanted to buy.
.... but you know what it is like, when you are faced with row upon row of gorgeous spring flowers. The temptation rises and before you know it, the 'flower fairy' has heard your call and added a few pots of beautiful spring flowers into the trolley. You hardly notice it happening, as it all occurs during a moments breath.
When you see what I bought, you will understand why the 'flower fairy' heeded my call.
Aren't these Primula Belarina just perfect. Yes the bright, gaudy versions are fine, actually these are the colours which George prefers, but I much prefer the delicate pale yellow colour. Can you see why I was tempted?
The plants had been chosen,
and the little basket, which finally saw the light of day once again, was ready and waiting. I checked the depth of the basket and it was perfect.
The first thing I needed to do, was to place a layer of plastic inside the basket. Once arranged, I held it in place with pegs. This was to prevent the weight of the soil dragging the plastic downwards, allowing water to seep through the basket. Ordinarily I would use clear plastic, but when I took my first photograph, the clear plastic could hardly be seen, so I changed it for this more visible, white plastic. I then placed one handle of the basket at 10 o'clock and the other at 2 o'clock to allow easy access to the basket. I didn't want to lay the handles flat, because when pulled back into their original position, they might have broken some of the primula leaves.
I then mixed 2 parts multi purpose compost with 1 part of small bark chippings. I then mixed the two together. How brilliant was it, that this mix, was bought for another project, but there was ample remaining, for this little project.
I placed a third of the compost and bark mixture into the bottom of the basket. I would suggest that you check the sizes of your pots, as you might need to add more or less soil than I did.
I carefully removed the plants from their plastic containers and checked the roots. As you can see, mine were root bound, so my lovely assistant, George, teased the roots, whilst I took the photograph.
Then it was time for the exciting part, I began, by placing the first primula into the centre of the basket and then I added the other two plants either side. I did find it was a tight squeeze for the final plant, so I had to coax the plant into position.
I then filled the spaces around the plants with soil, gently firming as I went along.
As I had a good supply of bark, I sprinkled some over the soil, firstly as decoration and secondly to help keep the moisture in the soil.
Finally I cut away the excess plastic and using an old screwdriver (yes I did ask George) gently tucked in any overlapping plastic so that it was hidden from view.
The plants were then watered, with just a small amount of water. The handles were brought upright and I placed the basket near a window to enjoy the natural light.
As far as watering is concerned, I use a small watering can and water sparingly. I test the soil with my finger tip and if it is dry, then I will water. As there are no drainage holes it is essential that the plants are not over watered, as plants do not like their roots sitting in water.
Normally, I would buy plants which are in bud, but I thought you would enjoy a pretty flower rather than a bud and to be honest, I am really enjoying them as well, as they look lovely in the conservatory. When they have finished flowering and the warmer spring weather arrives, I will plant them in the garden and next year they will reward me with more flowers.
What do you think? Was it worth saving the basket? I wonder are you the same as me, do you save things.... just in case?
I love the basket of primula and I am now going to send a photograph to our friend to show him what became of the basket. I think he will be surprised at how long I kept the basket.
Before I leave you, I have to apologise, because it seems the recipe for the Olive Oil cake, which I posted on my recipe page, has not materialised. When I wrote the recipe last week, I pressed the publish button, and I thought that was it, but something has obviously gone wrong. I promise to investigate and if I cannot find the answer to the problem, I have decided I will add the recipe to the original blog post.
Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.