November 21, 2017

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 10.2.2016: I believe in fairies

Fairy primroses, anyway (sorry Tinkerbell); they’re lovely, and I clap my hands whenever I see them. I’ve grown them for several years, selling them at Saturday Socials, although the poor fairies didn’t actually get much clapping at the last Saturday Social in December. Maybe people were distracted by having our MP there or it may simply be that last year, once germinated, the seedlings grew very slowly and weren’t really big enough for people to believe in them. So I took them home again.

Being away with the fairies has turned out to be a great way to learn things. I had about 30 plants and they were just beginning to come into bud, so I decided I could look after them better and try again at our next sale in April. And without intending to run an experiment on factors influencing growth, I’ve actually given the baby fairies quite a variety of experiences – and the outcome has been a marvellous lesson on plant development. Thus, some were immediately potted up in much larger pots, either individually or in groups, some planted out in the garden, some plonked in the unheated greenhouse, some kept in north-facing windows some kept warm and comfortable on a south-facing window-sill, and some have been fed – something I often don’t bother with. The difference in fairy growth across these different conditions is quite dramatic.

What I’ve learned is that, of course, plants grow better under certain conditions – but seeing the evidence really brings it home that to grow decent plants you need to give them a lot of care (lesson for the Plant Fair in 2017!). But don’t despise chance; the best Fairy of all was grown at Vicarage Farm where it happened to get chucked into a bucket.