Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back In The Game

It's been a long time since we've bought any new plants for the garden. Mainly because both of us have been in a 'house mode' for months now that the desire to buy new plants have been pretty much non existent.

Until recently that is when I suddenly found myself needing to buy a plant, not for the garden but for the house to fill up a very important spot in the conservatory.



I've selected many plants before to go in it as featured on previous blog posts but there was one particular spot that I've had difficulty finding a suitable plant to fill it amongst the ones we have already. They either didn't meet the criteria I mentioned before, too flawed to be displayed, or simply they were just the wrong size and habit for that particular spot. 

As I couldn't find the right plant from the ones we have already then I simply just had to buy a new one that will be suitable for. What I didn't count on was how difficult it would be to find a houseplant at this time of the year when most shops and garden centres concentrate on selling Christmas related items over anything else.

We looked at several garden centres and couldn't find anything suitable, wasting several hours of precious weekend time in the process. I was getting tired and bored of looking around and was almost resigned to just leaving it empty until I find something suitable early next year. Not wanting to give up just yet I insisted that we give it one last effort and visit Crews Hill Gardening Club to see if they have anything suitable.

By the way, the spot in the conservatory I was referring to is the one beneath the plates which is now occupied by the eventual winner of this quest, a Pachira aquatica. So how did we arrive with this plant for that spot? Let me continue the story...



So off we went to Crews Hill last weekend, for the first time since March (on most year we go there 5-6 times a year).

When we arrived we were greeted by loads of Christmas Tree for sale in the car park. Was almost tempted to get one of these, we do need one after all but...



We went there to look for a houseplant so must prioritise that. We can get a Christmas tree later on. So we carried on walking in to the shop and were greeted by this...



and by this... (btw, check out Peter of Outlaw Gardener's fab feature about this plant)




Euphorbia pulcherrima
Well it was the festive season after so seeing them was pretty predictable. They were a good price though so bought a couple of them. Now on to the main reason why we went here - houseplant! Right march on...

Promising stand but all too small...



Too big!



Too...ehrmmm...wide?


Bambusa sp.
It turned out they had very little houseplants in stock at the moment and we were greeted by vast empty spaces in their usually well packed greenhouses. Disappointing but not entirely surprised.

But wait, no houseplants but what do we see over there,on another section? Better check it out...


Chamaerops humilis
Lots of trunked Chamaerops humilis for relatively low prices, hmmm...

And what else? Cyathea cooperi, lots of them!


Cyathea cooperi
Cyathea cooperi
Cyathea cooperi

They were large trunked specimens for very good prices too!


Cyathea cooperi


Cyathea cooperi


Cyathea cooperi


Cyathea cooperi


Cyathea cooperi

Was very tempted but resisted as we'll just have overwinter them for the next few months. Nevermind, they will still be there the following spring (I hope so anyway!).

Okay, back to houseplants! But they barely have anything there suitable for what we need! Sigh, looks like we'll be going home empty handed again.

Then we spotted the bargain corner and they had these half price...


Ficus Robusta
Ficus Robusta
£5 each, not bad. They will do for now, to fill the spot until I find something else later on. Not ideal but this will do. So I picked it up to take to the till and then I spotted it was infested with wooly aphids underneath the leaves. Eeekk!! Back back, retreat retreat!!

Oh well, so much for that. Looks like no houseplants from here then (apart from the Poinsettias which doesn't count really, it's more like a cutflower, to be thrown away once the festive season is over).

But what about those reasonably priced trunked Chamaerops humilis palms again?


Chamaerops humilis
The trunk is over two feet tall
Chamaerops humilis

Well we couldn't resist it, too good a deal to just leave behind and we just had to have it. Our first plant purchase for the garden in months!

Yes, looks like we're finally back in the game again!

As for the houseplant, Gaz sensed I was feeling a little disappointed that we haven't found anything suitable again and that I was tired too. So tired that I fell asleep on our journey back home. However when I woke up thinking we just arrived home I was surprised when we actually arrived in Ikea instead! As soon as I fell asleep in the car Gaz remembered that Ikea do sell houseplants and decided to surprise me by driving straight there from Crews Hill. And all's well that ends well, in there I eventually found the perfect houseplant for that spot.



A new plant for the garden. A new plant for the house. A happy ending!

Mark :-)

26 comments :

  1. You are back indeed! Two nice plants in one trip and Ikea usually comes through in a pinch. Seeking out that perfect item can definitely be tough. Your plant choice works well as it fills the space, adds interest, and still allows those great plates top billing.

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    1. Glad to be back! Ikea does carry a good selection of plants and worth checking out their garden section from time to time. We've bought several gems from them through the years.

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  2. Congrats on jumping back in the game! And how nice of Gaz to stick with it and make that one more stop.

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    1. Indeed. And that one extra stop made a huge difference :)

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  3. Great choice for that spot too. I like how it feels up the space so well and is so bright and cheery. That first one you got is great too but would have been too big to be able to see your wall hangings. Fantastic plant though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. So pleased with our purchase, it was just right for the intended spot :)

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  4. Oh great to hear that you are able to indulge in plant retail therapy again - now that you've got off the starting block again there will be no stopping you. Have not bought a plant from IKEA yet but have come away with some vases and containers from there over the years that I've been most pleased with.

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    1. Their plant ornament range is good too. Through the years we've bought gems from their range, including some of our big vases.

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  5. Hooray for plant shopping, my favorite pastime! How sweet of Gaz to go to Ikea! He's a keeper!

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  6. Plant shopping is always good for the soul. Congratulations on getting back in the game!

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    1. Definitely Kris, we must do more soon!

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  7. I love a shopping trip with a mission.

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  8. Hooray! Your Pachira aquatica was just waiting for you to find it, and now it has a perfect home. I was just catching up on your last few posts; I LOVE your conservatory. I love the indoor/outdoor feel it has and the pop of color scheme against the fabulous white background. Congratulations on a job well done, and welcome back to the plant buying club. (But I know you never really left.)

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    1. Thank you Debs! Yes you're right, I don't think we ever actually left the club, just took a long break :)

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  9. Oh, I love your new houseplant! It fits the spot perfectly, too! Hooray for Ikea! Isn't it funny that we can never seem to find the right plant when we are searching for one, but when we're not, all sorts of plants seem to materialize that we "need'! :)

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    1. Thanks Holley and how true! I was thinking along that lines before we found the right plant.

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  10. TREE FERNS!!! I want them. All of them.

    Yay on the eventual house plant happy ending though... :)

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    1. Wish we had the space for all of them CG!

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  11. That was a lovely denouvma (forget the spelling, haha). I laughed, you write well, maybe i've already told you earlier. I haven't searched on that plant if that is really the one giving us the chestnuts or castaƱas. It is being grown and sold here too, didn't know it can grow in cold places. About the tree fern, does it grow big there? Amazing if it does as it really is from the tropical rainforest!

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    1. Thanks Andrea! That particular tree fern is not hardy enough to grow outside here but good enough inside a minimally heated conservatory. And yes well spotted about the Pachira :)

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  12. Hilarious! You regain your plant-buying mojo AND find a lovely plant in the land of flatpack furniture - hard to get further away from the specialist nurseries you guys tend to frequent ;-)

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    1. True Janet! It still amazes me up to now what plant gems we find every so often in Ikea.

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  13. You probably saved yourself lots of cash buying it from there too :) and any greenfly lurking about will be enticed by those lovely fresh new leaves.

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    1. Indeed Rosie :) Speaking of pests I'm glad I spotted the infestation on that rubber plant before I bought it. The last thing I want is to introduce an aggressive pest in the conservatory.

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