Plug plants are just that - of a size to scramble to fill the bath plughole. Lots of nurseries offer them for sale - flip through the weekend gardening pages and you will find them. Yesterdays shout is for 42 Petunia Easy wave for £7.99.
But I am thinking of perennial - ie permanent plants - rather than annuals. A far cry from delicatessan shopping at a specialist nursery with mouthwatering selections of say, hellebores or hostas. We are not talking plant snobbery here - the choice is limited and you pay a very small price; round about 30p per plant.
Trying to fill a new garden in a hurry and can't or won't wait until next year for cutings to take and seeds to get going? Bored of friends lovingly chopping off bits of their most viscious herbal invaders and lovingly planting them in your soil? Then plug planting could be the ideal kick start. The possibility has to be underscored as I am in mid experiment and am not sure whether it will succeed.
The March stock list of Fenland plug nursery Barrett Bridge Nurseries finally galvanised me. It was an epic drive past dykes, along levees, slap past the facade of Ely's cathedral and into the watery flat lands of newly ploughed fields of what used to be called the bread-basket of England.
The nursery operates out of a dozen or so polytunnels and several greenhouses, crouching from the searing wind behind a leyland cypress hedge. Most customers are in the business and are buying to pot on and sell. I got given a polystyrene tray and set about filling it up. Each tray holds 60 plants.
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4 trays and several hours later I had bought 240 plants and spent £70. For choice, I tried to buy what the rabbits would not instantly eat and plants that I knew would do well in my sandy soil.
The mini garden got home safely and I spent the first weekend of March planting out 75% of my new stock, giving each planting hole a dollop of potting compost and a good water in. Today is April 18th and a quick check round shows that all - oriental poppies, pinks, campanulas, foxgloves, jacobs ladder, euphorbia - practically all - are thriving. The last 25% are to go round the corner where the rabbits large it, I lost my nerve and potted them on. Verbascums, penstemons, saxifrages are all waiting by the back door and are to be planted this coming week.
Anyone trying to fill a large new garden will have all sorts of means and budget Barret Bridges is a fenland nursery operating out of a dozen or so polytunnels and sheltering from the searing wind of the flatlands behind a large