Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Out in the sun, havin fun and your feelin free

Last weekend the Socks went to Architectural Plants (above) near Horsham to try and find a replacement for the ghastly yucca in the front garden. It isn't really a garden being only about 8ft by 12ft and given over to gravel, grasses, succulents and stones. The Sock feels this design is a bit passé and overdone now but it was relatively innovative at the time of construction. In any event it is astonishingly sustainable being virtually no maintenance and zero irrigation and unlike Matthew Wilson's balcony does have quite a few plants in it.

Unfortunately the Sock took loads of pictures for her blog but was gutted to realised when she got home that she had forgotten to put the memory stick back in the camera so returned there today just to take pictures for you. It's a nice drive and an opportunity to listen to the Sock's favourite Betty Blue (music from the film) CD whilst driving. This always makes the Sock cry and true to form she missed the turn-off due to eyes misted with tears.

Architectural Plants is the best kind of a place and the best kind of people. The reception area is furnished with nice chairs and tables and coffee and drinks that you can help yourself to whilst planning your purchases. Or just to contemplate what you might buy when you win the lottery.

Either way there is no hassle. The Architectural Plants Helpometer spells it out. The Sock thought it was a speak your weight machine so was giving it a wide berth until curiousity got the better of her. You turn the dial and it lights up the various options of what Architectural Plants can do for you, from "a full design service" to "leave you alone to peruse in peace".

We went for the peruse in peace option and wandered into the first large greenhouses full of more tree ferns than you could shake a stick at.

The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and even the plant labels tell it like it is.

That having been said the Sock is sure that Chris Beardshaw could manage to advise how to kill it!

As we were wandering the Sock heard a little whine from the Bedsock - it is the same predictable little whine as we always get when visiting there "I've always wanted a black bamboo and I'm not allowed to have one". This is true - the Bedsock has been told every time that there isn't an appropriate place for one in our garden but somehow this is the Sock's fault!

In the end the Socks bought some sort of date palm (already lost the label) to replace the yucky yucca, a stripey agave which will replace a boring green one which manages to overwinter outside in the gravel garden and a colocasia 'black magic 'because the Sock saw them at Hampton Court Show and has wanted one ever since.

On the drive back the Sock listened to Gnarls Barkley and later changed the title of this post to one of his lyrics that made more sense!


Anonymous said...

Love Architectural Plants.
(Their catalog is required bedside reading)
Love the stripy agave
Like listening to Gnarls Barkley.
With me it's not the memory stick but the battery which gets forgotten to be put back
Which aspect of this post prompted the sock to wonder if she is a little crazy?
PS Bedsock - you could always put black bamboo in a pot.

Arabella Sock said...

Sshhhh! Don't tell the Bedsock they can go in a pot - I don't even like them that much.

It struck me I was crazy driving 20 miles there and back just to take photos for the bloggywog when I could probably have got all except the "Help-ometer" off the net. It wouldn't have been the same though!

The Bedsock has reset the camera so it won't appear to take photos when there is no memory stick in as it is not the first time I've done it. Oh dear.. the battery is another thing to worry about..

Their catalogues are lovely.

the cycling gardener said...

I take it you have been inspired by the Berryfields jungle garden. If you do take the 'black bamboo in a pot' option, probably best not to be inspired to hang the pot Joe Swift style from the garden fence.

Arabella Sock said...

Apparently the Jungle garden was (quote from the BBC) "incredibly popular with the viewers"! Not for me - actually I've only ever heard one person say they voted for it. Did you not find Joe's idea to put all the house plants out in the "jungle" totally inspiring? I did but that is because I hate houseplants - unless you have a massive conservatory for them.

VP said...

I love those labels! Other garden centres should take note and adopt their style immediately.

Arabella Sock said...

Ha ha! I had to change the post title as I woke up at 4.30 a.m. thinking Karen was right the last one didn't go with the post!

VP their labels are a really good idea and tell you how hardy the various plants are likely to be. They also give you advice and care sheets for each plant you buy.

emmat said...

i love architectural plants! I love it there... for me it's because I imagine living in England but creating an environment where you were essentially pretending it was California. I've never been ANYWHERE in the Uk including Tresco that feels so foreign. I love what it teaches you about formality, too, when you see all those rooooowwwss of plants...

Anonymous said...

Yep - Good title. :)