Have you got a pot? Mine is colossal. Sadly lacking in anything remotely resembling self control, I’ve got much more than is decent. My home is brick built so I favour terracotta. I put them in collections by the front and back doors in groups of odd numbers and run them along the tops of walls; the cat or child who knocks one off should make peace with their God. Almost anything will grow in a container. As always there are some exceptions, for example Holly (Ilex) dislikes root restriction and is a prickly bitch to re-pot. My larger specimens include many fancy sycamores (Acer sp.), an oak (Quercus), larch (Larix), rowan (Sorbus) and umpteen horse chestnuts (Castanea). In the autumn, I beat up small boys out collecting conkers. I find that they are more frightened of me than I am of them, especially if I take a sharp shovel for use on their heads and shoulders. Plant nuts fresh and leave them over winter in a sheltered place, they should shoot by spring.
Mostly Auriculas
Take care should you find yourself faced with moving a very large tub; too heavy a weight and you will end up with the curious gait of a woman suffering from an abdominal complaint. Leave it where it is or find a man who deserves a hernia. Resist the urge to put any sapling in a garden bed or you will be cutting it down in a few years, in order to preserve your foundations/drains/daylight/sanity. Keep reminding yourself that this is for a more bijou display. I’ve tried to apply the strictures of bonsai and start with a perfectly healthy plant which dies horribly as soon as I fart about with the roots. My solution is to start with a small container, decent soil and drainage and apart from regular watering, leave it bloody well alone. If you have enough cold, heartless nerve, after ten years or so, you can cut the leader down to make a head, like those in the wild. Nature forms miniature trees in the Chinese mountains, growing happily in a teaspoon of earth, contorted by struggling against the prevailing wind. They should cope with my sheltered courtyard, provided that I can refrain from hacking at them.
Potted Magnolia
We bought our house because I fell utterly and helplessly in love with the decrepit conservatory. Attila the Gardener tried to point out the many and manifest faults in the building including a rotting roof, banjaxed bathrooms and rudimentary kitchen. Twelve years down the line the dwelling is fixed, the garden is a work in progress and every day of my life, I give honest and grateful thanks for the conservatory. Therein I grow Magnolia grandiflora in a large barrel, away from frost or sandy soil. I cultivate cactus for their fascinating forms and in the case of orchid cactus (Epipyllum), for their outrageous flowers. The more butch orchids (Cymbidium and Paphiopedilum) bloom in surprising profusion. A plethora of Passiflora thread their way through a forest of obelisks and a large loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) spreads its branches widely, all thriving in the biggest vessels that I can find or afford.
Cactii in pots
For a change in scale I nurture Auriculas on a windowsill, because they repay rapt examination. Anywhere in the borders they would be subsumed by my usual boisterous planting style. House leeks (Latin Sempervivum means always living) can be killed by overwatering assiduously. The varieties differ by a miniscule amount, making these an interesting plant for an anorak like me. I keep them in gritty compost in old, heavy pans left to me by my Grandma.
I mention all of this because it is time for re-potting or top dressing. You should be out replenishing the soil of anything grown in captivity. Why are you still sitting there, reading this burble?