Continuing our series of ‘Spring Pots’ blogs, Laetitia Maklouf gives Neom followers some of her best tips for instant, seasonal loveliness you can plant in pots.
For summer clouds
Go quickly! and find some verbena x hybrida or nemesia (which will be out on the shelves just as soon as the weather stops being naughty). A wide, shallow terracotta container is best and plant masses together. You’ll eventually get a gorgeous pastel puff of froth for your trouble which, when it gets straggly can be brutally chopped and fed with liquid seaweed, to make it come back again and delight you for even longer. I love it passionately.
For the promise of bliss
Of course, at this time of the year, you must sow or plant sweet peas. Wait until the weather is warm enough if you want to start them from seed (and I’m talking about the sort of whether that allows you to bare your neck and throw out your arms). Or, you can simply buy seedlings from the garden centre and plant them in a nice deep container, making sure they have a wigwam of canes up which to scramble when the time comes. For amazing scent, go for Spencer hybrids or the old favourite ‘Cupani’…but then you don’t need me to tell you about scent; you’re Neom lovers.
The lowdown on planting in pots
For Summer Clouds, and for the ideas in last week's blog, I would use a half and half mix of ordinary peat-free multi-purpose compost and John Innes no 2. You can just use multi-purpose but you’ll need to be a bit more attentive about watering as it is less good at staying moist.
For Sweet Peas I use one quarter multi-purpose, one quarter John Innes No 2 and half well-rotted manure. These are really hungry plants.
For feeding pots, I use liquid seaweed or tomorite regularly (whenever I remember), although I would never feed thyme or mint.
And remember to make sure your containers are as large as possible, and have saucers to catch excess water – making watering much easier
Laetitia is author of two books: ‘The Virgin Gardener’, and ‘Sweet Peas for Summer: How to create a garden in a year’.
She blogs at www.laetitiamaklouf.com, tweets @laetitiamaklouf and face-books at Laetitia Maklouf, where you can seek her out and ask her absolutely anything you want.
Photos: Jill Mead