I’m going to start making use of the newly-revealed small patio under my kitchen window. It gets full sun from early morning to around midday – when my neighbour’s trees shade it. But it’s right next to the large water butt, which means not having to carry water across the yard.
With this in mind, I’ve finally got around to dealing with two large terracotta pots that have been ignored for several years. When I bought them, I planted a grape vine in one and hops in the other, but neither liked being confined and soon perished, having never produced a single fruit.
I’m not sure what I’ll plant in them yet, or even if I’ll use them at all this year. But they’re ready when I need them, which is a bonus.
One of the things I found when I finally managed to get the old compost out (with the aid of a wheelbarrow, my husband, and a three-foot long piece of reinforcing steel bar) was that when I first put compost in them, I had followed the suggestions of the then presenter of Gardener’s World (1996 – 2002) – Alan Titchmarsh – which was to break up old polystyrene plant trays and use them to fill the bottom of the pots to allow good drainage and reduce the weight.
That was eighteen years ago, and the polystyrene has hardly degraded at all – which is rather worrying considering the amount we gardeners must throw away each year.
I’ve decided not re-use it. It’s too finicky to deal with; you can’t just empty an old pot of compost onto your compost heap, or you’ll be forever picking out bits of white polystyrene.
Plus, over the years, I have acquired a builder’s bucket fall of crocks from other pots that succumbed to frost damage, so I’ll kill two birds with one stone – use proper crocks and regain a bucket.
I’m afraid I also followed his suggestion to paint fence panels and trellis with BLUE preserver (supposed to make them fade into the distance as they blended with the sky. The rubbish we believed then). No matter what I paint over it – brown, grey, orange (red-cedar Cuprinol) – the blue still shows through.
This was our pergola in 2005 (built in 1998). We’ve since covered it with twin-wall polycarbonate, but we’ve re-used the trellis elsewhere – and it’s still blue – and an absolute pain to paint.
I still have that garden furniture – now looking a bit sad following an attempt to paint the chairs black a few years ago sadly failed. Another mistake.