ju1i3's blog

planning for an auricula theatre

These are the auriculas a week later. They are changing so quickly. They are mostly in bloom now. Only the one on the bottom shelf, on the far right has no blooms and no buds, out of the 17 I bought.


I didn't buy any specific varieties (what do you want for 1.99 from the garden centre!) so when they turn out to be nice colours, it's a bonus. A number seem to have quite a lot of meal or farina on them (not sure the best term as I'm quite new to auriculas). I'm watering them by placing them in a tray with water. That's causing the tidemarks on the pots. I must brush them off.


Some of the plants came with more than one in the pot. I'm wondering if these are two different colours or if the one on the left will look the same when it blooms.


I bought the plants, I had the terracotta pots, I had the shelves, now I need to sort out some sort of roof or cover to keep the rain off them to make this display into a real "theatre".


Red Poppies

I'm still waiting for red poppies. I planted loads for the centenary but haven't seen a single seedling yet. These orange ones self-seeded.

orange poppies

The vinca has been fantastic this year - more flowers than ever. Showing if off with Socks is a bonus.

Socks and vinca

green alkanet

The green alkanet is beautiful right now (I took these photos this morning). Unfortuantlely someone recently wrote in a major UK newspaper about its summer flowers. I wouldn't take advice from them - it flowers in the spring! It's great because it flowers before other flowers and it's wilted by the time other flowers are blooming so it's perfectly timed. Also the bees love them - and there's not much in bloom right now.

green alkanet

While I'm talking about misinformation, green alkanet is often misnamed as borage. I hate blog writers who do that  and then have no mechanism to be contacted to let them know, ie no email address.

green alkanet

I'm happy to hear from readers at julie at gardenwithindoors.org.uk. You don't need to register or fill out a contact form.

more about auriculas

I'm learning a lot about auriculas! When I checked these today, there was at least one snail on every pot. I moved the shelves away from the ivy a bit to make it more difficult for them to make their way onto the auriculas. If I am going to display them in an auricula theatre they need to be in bloom at the same time. They aren't! but a number of them don't look like they are far behind.

My bargain purchases here can't hold a candle to the images I see online. I'm just taking a chance with colours and quality by buying £1.99 plants from the garden centre. Some look better than others.



I bought another vintage ladder last year and had been thinking of painting it black to display the auriculas but then I thought, not necessary! The dark brown I painted this one would be just fine.

Neither of these possible options for displaying the auriculas in a "theatre" has a roof/cover to protect the auriculas from the rain. The ladder has the added problem of how to secure the pots on each rung.


These muscari have been great this year. There's this large trough with quite a few and a few small pots by the front door (next photo below).


flowers by the front door

I did have some larger, very heavy stone pots here but they were too heavy and I was advised to move them. I just spontaneously put some of the small pots that had flowers blooming in them here. When these finish I can put some others in their place. The hyacinths are leftovers of ones I bought for forcing (I'm always buying too many - but I can't resist them). The pansies/violas on the left just appeared in that pot. The others on the right I bought on impulse at the garden centre. The muscari I planted last year or the year before and they've come back well.

I checked the auriculas again today (March 23rd) and I have 7 in bud, 5 no signs yet (I bought one on Saturday at the garden centre, making 12 in total).

first auricula

I have just one auricula in bud middle of March of the 11 auricula plants I bought last year. I was hoping to do an auricula theatre but I'm not sure I can now. I feel very strongly that we all have to do what we can.  I think it's very easy to feel guilty or inadequate by the media's unrealistic expectations. Even if we just have a few pots of flowers that's ok! We don't need to "grow our own" - unless we want to. I know my garden is much too small for that and doesn't get enough sun. If I can get out and plant a few seeds, keep the weeds at bay and enjoy growing "something", I try to be happy and satisfied. The auricula theatre will have to wait for another year.



first outdoor bulbs and some other flowers Spring 2014

My first Viola this spring




The first crocus outdoors are always so exciting but it's very difficult to capture in photos.


these purple hyacinths (Delft Blue I believe) are just ready to burst



moving beyond bulbs (and it's stopped raining!), my first green alkanet

one of my first campanula


As the rain has finally stopped I've looked at what is coming up and seen lots of weeds! I thought I had eradicated the ground elder but found a few "seedlings", of course, spread by roots underground. And a few other seedlings which are easier to see now as so few other plants are growing. It's useful to know what the smallest seedlings are so that the weeds can be removed asap so I have added more images to the Weed Guide.

pots of weeds

I had assumed these weeds next door were buddleja and were growing directly on the wall but when I asked the builder who was working up there to remove them he told me they were in a pot. I used the camera to zoom in to identify them and I see they are smooth sow thistle. Why someone would want those in a pot on a "balcony" (don't know what else you call this feature), I've no idea.

smooth sow thistle

yucca in flower



I was surprised to see this yucca in bud some weeks ago, just as it was getting cold. Now it's in full flower. I guess once it starts, it's going to finish.

The end of the leaves are extremely sharp so I had to trim it extensively before I started painting the front of the house.

So it's survived the cold, the hard pruning and, as you can see, the scaffolding. It's a real survivor.


I thought that was an excellent episode of Gardeners Question Time broadcast on November 22nd from Shrewsbury. Peter Gibbs was a great host and put everyone at ease with none of the animosity displayed by Eric Robson towards Bob Flowerdew (listeners notice such things!). Peter made such a nice relaxed atmosphere a number of comments got applause - more than I remember from any other episode. Well done GQT.


my mahonia is looking great at the moment


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