Thursday, 13 September 2012

'Do you know how many times we've picked up that plant today!'

This was one of the expressions flung at me this evening by a more than a disgruntled troupe.
Yes, one of my potted bay trees was lying prostrate on the ground as the wind tonight was blowing strongly.

So what to do?

Pick it up? Well if that happens, guess what, it will blow back over again.
Maybe move it to a less windy spot? Ha ha, nice idea, it doesn't exist in this garden!
Maybe bring it into the kitchen? Banned from doing that anymore (at least before midnight).

My advice?

Leave well enough alone (i.e prostrate) for tonight and in the morning, when the wind has died down, pick it up, dust it off, and away we go until the next gusts of wind blows and so the cycle repeats again.

What about a more permanent solution? Read on.

The container, although its is a nice weathered looking imitation terracotta pot, is plastic, and this does not allow for a lot of anchorage against a plant that has a lot of 'sail factor' (catches the wind easily).
As for the soil it's in, well little has been added or taken away for the past two years. The compost I used at that time was good quality John Innes mix with some multiple purpose compost, and of course some well rotted manure at the base.
The plant is pot-bound, meaning the roots have filled the pot, meaning it will use up moisture in the soil really quickly (especially when the weather is windy and the leaves require plenty of water so they don't dry out), meaning the plant will blow over easily in the wind!
The plant needs to be moved it into a slightly larger pot, with a wider base. I have one that was recently vacated, that will do the job just nicely. Of course some gravel will go in the base for drainage, then a layer of well rotted manure mixed with soil, and finally pot up the plant with some nice John Innes No. 3.
I don't intend to do this until the Spring, for the simple reason that if we get a similar Winter to that of 2010, I will be bringing the bay tree into the house for protection (Sshhhh, don't tell herself)

In the meantime, I am in the process of putting up some windbreak, to create those pockets of shelter, which is where I will move the bay tree to, for its Winter holiday.

Happy gardening!
.