Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links for some items. if you purchase I may be paid a commission, but this does not affect my opinion of the suppliers. I will only recommend things that I have used personally, and I will be showing you images of how well they do throughout the summer.

So I definitely got behind the idea of no-mow May this year, and with one thing and another that is going on, I extended the concept of that, into not going into the garden in May at all, and so, as you can imagine, it’s in a bit of a state. There are lots of things growing, but none of them are the things I want, so there is lots to do.

However, I’m determined that with a little effort, I can still get parts of the garden looking beautiful, and I’m going to share with you over the course of the summer the things that I do in various areas of the garden, to help it to look its best.

Choosing some Plants

The first thing I did was consult my trusty Thompson and Morgan catalogue. I quite enjoy ordering my plants online – this was the company that my mum always used, and I feel that I am channelling her green fingers and continuing her legacy.

Some years I spend several months tending their plug plants in my conservatory before planting things out, but I’ve left it a bit late this year, so I went straight for the garden-ready section. The company is coming to the end of its summer season now, so there are lots of plants that are ready to go, that are on special offer. If you are just looking for some colour in your garden, and you are not too worried about the type of plant or the particular variety, you will be able to pick up some amazing bargains over the next few weeks.

If you have not used Thompson and Morgan before, you can get 20% off your first order. Simply mention Debbie O’Connor in the coupon box when you check out and you will get a discount.

The only downside about Thompson and Morgan is you never know exactly when your plants are going to arrive. I was hoping to do the majority of the planting over the bank holiday weekend, but sadly the company had other ideas. So instead of actually doing most of the planting this weekend, I’ve just done a little bit, with some plants that arrived last week, and now I’m writing this and preparing to welcome my plants on the blog, instead of actually planting them.

This post will grow as things start to arrive – no doubt they will all come on Tuesday when I am back at work!

Pots and Planters

I was also contacted by the lovely people at Get Potted and asked to review some of their Lechuza self-watering planters.

The concept behind these planters is great – each planter has an inner lining, which the plants are planted in. then underneath that, there is a reservoir of water which seeps up through the soil over time. Each planter has a water-level indicator, so you will be able to see when the plant needs watering again, but in theory, it should be possible to leave the garden for a week or more and the plants will water themselves during that time.

This is really exciting to me. We always go away once or more times over the summer, and usually, I come back to find that there has been a heatwave to end all heatwaves, and the garden is a complete droopy mess.

I’m really looking forward to trying these innovative planters out and seeing what a difference they can make.

Setting up the Lechuza planters

I’ve chosen the Lechuza Balconera trough planters to go alongside my pond. I think they will really make the pond look lovely when they are all planted up, and a bit more “together” than the rag-tag and bobtail of various planters and terracotta pots that I have currently.

So I ordered two Balconera planters to start with, just to try them out, and having planted those up, I plan to order more.

This is how you set up the Lechuza planers to get the best effect;

I’ve chosen the 80cm long Balconera planters, and these come with two sub-compartments, labelled A and B. The first thing to do is to open the two boxes and take everything out of them. Each box contains a small bag of substrate material called Lechuza Pon – this is really important to the way that the watering system works, and you start off by emptying each bag into one of the sub-compartments and making sure the entire bottom of the compartment is covered.

Next, you find all the bits of the water level indicator and assemble them, using the picture instructions that come in the box. I found this a bit fiddly at first but the second time around it was easy.

The main thing to remember is that part of the assembly has a little tiny block of white polystyrene, and it would be really easy to imagine that this is part of the packaging and remove it.

DO NOT DO THAT – the polystyrene is the crucial bit in the whole mechanism – having that in its place allows the indicator to float at the top of the water in the container thus showing you the correct level.

Once you have assembled the water meter and clicked the corner caps on to the sub-compartments, then you are ready to fill up the containers with your normal potting mix, and plant away. I really love how the two compartments have handy little carrying handles so you can carry them away individually to your potting area, and swap them in and out of your planters even when the bottom water reservoir is full and very heavy.

Once the planter is potted up they recommend that you water from the top as normal for the first few weeks, to enable the plant roots to grow down to where the substrate is. After that, you just fill up the reservoir and let the plants get on with looking after themselves. The substrate will absorb the moisture from the reservoir and wick it up towards the plants. The water level meter shows you when you need to top up the reservoir.

So that’s where I’m at right now; two planters potted up with more plants and pots on order, to arrive imminently. Get Potted delivers very promptly – I had the first two planters within 48 hours of placing my order.

Over the summer I plan to plant some of the Thompson and Morgan plants into the Lechuza Planters and the rest of them into my normal planters, and then I will be able to show you the difference as things develop. Watch this space…

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