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Birthday presents


By balcony


A week ago it was my birthday. So my youngest son, who lives close by to us, thought he would like to make me a different “gift” this year!

He told me he would like to take me around all the places they sold plants here & that I could choose whatever I liked & he would pay for it! WOW!!!

How many of you have had an offer like that??? For me at least it was the first time in my 6 decades of life that anyone had ever made me an offer like that!

We joked about it on one of the messenger apps on mobile phones; I said “You don’t know your father! I’d buy ALL the plants available!” He wrote back saying “No, only half of them, as I’d buy the other half for me!”

The next day he wrote telling me the best day for us to get together would be on Sunday afternoon when I finished at church. He said he had thought better about visiting ALL the shops & GCs in town as he knew of a better GC half way to Cambridge. He said he had been there occasionally & that the selection of plants was greater & also cheaper & of better quality. So off we went on Sunday afternoon to visit the GC.

I’ve visited few GCs, not having my own car, so it’s not easy to compare one with another. At least THIS one had a great deal more plants than others I’ve visited & a lot less other stuff! It wasn’t very well signposted & neither did it look in any way “flashy”. All this seemed like a good indication to me as I don’t like the GCs where they seem a LOT more interested in selling expensive stuff than in selling top quality plants & having a good selection of them, which is all that interests me in a GC!

I wasn’t too disappointed either. There was quite a wide range of plants for sale at, I thought, reasonable prices. The quality wasn’t too bad either. Wandering around we came to the “greenhouse” & there we saw many tomato plants/seedlings. Here I was disappointed as a great many of the plants were in very bad condition! There were lots of plants a couple of feet tall in 3" pots!!! Some even had flowers & I spotted one plant that even had tiny tomatoes!!! Some of these were the much more expensive grafted tomatoes. On the other hand they did have others that were in perfect condition & that I would have bought without hesitation. But as I have at least 5x the number of plants I can possibly grow on the balcony I didn’t get any.

As this is getting rather long I’ll show you the 3 plants I ended up buying:

My, doesn’t this Fuchsia really stand out when the sun falls on it! This will go in the trough on the balcony floor in front of the door onto the balcony where I can see it shine brilliantly whenever the sun falls on it!

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I have a small balcony, (grow fresh Parsley and Strawberries) and this year instead of half baskets hooked on the front, I used black polythene bags in the supports with my Gerbil chewed up cardboard recycled potting soil , and just tucked them in at the top. I take 6 old squash bottles out full of water and leave them to 'mature' .
Its really hot weather now, so in the evenings, I just go out and empty 3 of the bottles of water into the top of the black bags.
Gives them a good drink without losing the water.
Incidentally rockery plants at the front are flowering happily for their second year beautifully. The last years Geraniums I overwintered on the kitchen window sill, and put out too early, are now happier and coming into flower. All free !

22 May, 2018


Belated happy birthday Balcony!
What a splendid birthday present. I love potentillas. A nursery near our old house used to advertise tham as "the best value for money of any shrub! For sheer long lasting flower power they are hard to beat and that's a very pretty shade.
"Where are you going to put the Philadelphus?

22 May, 2018


Happy birthday Balcony lovely presents from your son.

22 May, 2018


A Very Happy Birthday. Lovely plants. Lovely son!!

22 May, 2018


Happy belated birthday great present - enjoy

22 May, 2018


Thank you every one for the belated birthday wishes! ?? I don't like to publicize my birthday but this was too good an opportunity to miss. It's not very often I get new plants so that's why I decided to make a blog about them.

Stera, yes, I already knew Potentilla is a very long flowering small shrub - the very reason I chose it! It will probably go in the middle one of the three troughs on the balcony floor. The Philadelphus will then end up in the far trough (counting from the door onto the balcony). The Fuchsia will then go into the one right in front of the balcony door. I was sooo pleased to see how it really "glowed" in the sunshine yesterday evening!

Diane, I have a couple of dozen old (VERY OLD) mineral water bottle, (2lt bottles), that I have been using every year for the last 16/17 years! I fill them up & keep them in a cupboard during the cold weather but put them out on the balcony during the hot weather. I use them to water my plants as on the one hand I never use water straight from the tap &, on the other, I can't very well take a hosepipe through the flat from the kitchen & living room out onto the balcony! I also use them to measure out the amount of fertilizer to use.

22 May, 2018


Happy belated birthday. What a wonderful present and outing from your son. Did he buy anything? I have a Potentilla Pink beauty in my garden after Stera suggested it as I wanted something long flowering. Lovely aren't they. You got some lovely plants there.

23 May, 2018


I am so glad you had a lovely day. when my daughters say they will take me to the gc to buy plants I have to remind them to set a limit as I am a plantaholic.
It is nice to buy plants that will have a meaning for you.
enjoy the sunshine. I agree about that fuchsia :o)

23 May, 2018


Thank you, Jen, I'm really looking forward to seeing all these plants grow & flower as I haven't really grown shrubs on the balcony in all the years we have lived here (17) but I find it harder each year to do the twice yearly change over. This year I thought I would make a start on growing fixed plants that I won't need to change over twice a year.

Thanks, SB, it certainly made a change! like you I'm a plantaholic as well! When we lived in Cuenca, Spain, I used to go around the streets after a thunderstorm in search of broken bits of plants that I might use as cutting! Even here in the UK I look on the plant stalls in the supermarkets for possible "cuttings"!

Glad you like the Fuchsia, when I saw it I immediately had to have it!

23 May, 2018


Wow, what a lovely birthday present. You get to spend time with your son and also get to spend his money! You were very restrained, lol. If someone did that for me and didn't give me a budget, well, who knows what I'd come home with! lol.

23 May, 2018

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