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Flower Box - Nowhere near as good as last year!



Hi All

I am new to the gardening world but i am trying my hand on some basics and just making the garden look brighter. 

Last year, i built the pictured garden box to place over an area of bare and solid soil. It has a membrane lining with holes in for drainage. Last year i planted some standard bedding plants and the lavender bush you will see at the back left. Whilst theblavender bush didnt bloom it remained green and has since grown a lot, with limitrd watering. The bedding plants bloomed very well and the box looked spot on, for a first timer. 

This year i have planted some bulbs (the long stems in the picture) and some fresh bedding plants. But i kept the soil in from last year, just adding fish blood and bone meal when planting, but the plants do not seem to be doing anywhere near as well as last year, in fact they look like they are struggling, the lav still hasnt bloomed and the bulbs are not blooming yet, even though i plantedtl them over 6 weeks ago. 

Can anyone give me any pointers? It feels like im am fighting a losing battle at the mo! 
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,153
    Are the bulbs Acidanthera?They don't flower until late summer. They also need protection from cold weather, so you've probably been quite lucky that they've survived.
    Most lavender is summer flowering too.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    It's hard to tell from the picture but the long shoots on the lavender could be flower spikes forming.
    I thought the bulbs looked like gladioli - again summer flowering. Mine are about two inches high.
  • Im not too sure of the names of the bulbs, suppose that is the learn for a new gardener - the pictures on the packet looked nice though and they said they were for planting in April. 

    If the lavender didnt bloom last year, is that not a bad sign for this year? 

    Im worried that i should have completely changed the compost for new! 
  • here is a close up of the lav
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,153
    No - young plants need time to establish. I can see flower spikes too , as @JennyJ says.
    Also - annuals need lots of food and water, depending on the type of course, so they may well have different requirements. Many annuals won't grow away yet either - many aren't fully hardy.
    It's always beneficial to add a new layer of compost each year, especially for certain plants.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Ok thanks, i will add a new layer then to see if i can rescue them. 

    Re: the bedding plants, any advice on how they can be given a lease of life? Not sure if they are annual or just 1 season plants. The fish blood and bone, doesnt seem to have worked like it suggests it should, so far!
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    Bulbs for planting in spring will flower later on in summer. They need a bit of time to grow. For bulb flowers in spring, plant hardy bulbs in autumn. Things like crocuses and dwarf daffodils should work there. And yes, a top-up of the compost would be good at some point, but don't bury the plants that you already have.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,153
    I can't see them very clearly - although it looks like pansies or violas.
    They just need some time.
    I don't do much in the way of annuals I'm afraid, and you'd need to know what they are for people to help - or some good close ups :)
    Incidentally - acidantheras are a form of gladioli, which is what @JennyJ said. They look slightly different when in flower from the Edna Everage ones though. It can be ok to plant in April, but not in colder areas. It's a common problem with info on packets of seed and bulbs etc  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    Fairygirl said:
    ...
    Incidentally - acidantheras are a form of gladioli
    ...

    I knew that :blush:. Neither of them overwinter reliably here.
  • Thanks for your help guys, i will give it a go now and see how we get on! 
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