I have to confess that I am easily led astray when it comes to impulse buying whenever I find myself in a garden centre – I even find it hard to resist the plants outside the supermarket!
Buying the plants is one thing – deciding where to accommodate the newcomers is a whole different matter. Sometimes I make the decision based on where there is a gap that needs to be filled. Sometimes it is the colour of the blooms, or the time of year when it blooms. If a plant is known for its perfume I will try to locate it near a path. I usually look up my plant books to see what aspect the newcomer prefers.
Generally speaking the new plants just seem to fit in quite well although on occasions I have had to be ruthless and move them to a new location.
Mahonia Charity is one of the plants that fell victim to this rather random method of locating plants. I had seen this wonderful shrub in several other gardens and having read up on it Mahonia was definitely on my Wish List. When I spotted it for sale in Dunnes of Durrow it came to Gortnalee. It was a bit sad looking – it wasn\’t a great shape and it had what looked like a bad case of Blackspot. So I kept it in the pot for a while, cut off all the damaged leaves and gave it a bit of a feed. It seemed to appreciate this TLC and promptly produced several new leaves.
Winter came and I just left it with the other \”plants in waiting\” on the patio. Much to my amazement this tough little cookie produced a beautiful flower almost bigger than itself! Encouraged by this minor miracle I spent a few days trying to find the perfect spot for it.
The sad part is that I made a really bad choice! Thinking I wanted to be able to get the lovely scent I chose to plant it close to the path near the Buddha Garden. When I planted it it was very small but it obviously liked its new home because it has shot up into a considerable shrub – on its way to being a small tree! Frequent cutting off of protruding branches is required to avoid injury to anyone walking that path. I suppose I could try and move it – its about 6 feet tall now – but I don\’t have armour to protect me so it will just have to stay where it is!