Friday, 19 August 2022

Pillars, Fillers And Spillers

 Back in June, Monty Don said that flowers planted in containers looked good if you go with the "Pillars, Fillers and Spillers" rule. Something tall, something to fill the gaps, and something to spill over the side. I discovered that other gardening experts refer to 'thrillers' - but personally I think that 'pillar' makes more sense. I hadn't realised till I saw Gardener's World that I'd already unwittingly planted like this anyway. 
I had some flower seeds, and I'd put some nasturtiums [spillers] and zinnias [fillers] in my three front tubs - plus a box of Sword Lily Corms - pillars [a birthday gift from best friend Christine]
I waited with interest to see what would happen. After a while a few green shoots came up. They were spindly in Jubilee week, but by the end of June, quite lush.

Then the orange nasturtiums appeared. I forgot to take pictures. And finally the pink zinnias arrived in two out of the three terracotta pots. You can see a few lemon nasturtiums  lingering...

But no sign of the "Sword Lily Gladiolus" Just spear shaped leaves. Lots of leaves. No blooms. I was a little disappointed.
I checked every leaf in case I'd missed a flower shoot/ bud/ whatever. I was a little disappointed. The M&S box said 'flowers from spring to early summer'
It got to August. No blooms. I contacted M&S, sent them pictures - and said the leaves were lovely but I'd hoped for at least one flower! And I was sorry, I had no receipt, these were a birthday gift from my best friend. M&S Customer services replied immediately - they thanked me for my email, and apologised. And sent me a £5 M&S Voucher. 
I went into Norwich, and used the voucher towards a new bedsheet. And the very next day we spotted just one bloom in one of the tubs!

Do I owe M&S 20p for the single corm that flowered? 


  1. Such pretty Zinnias, they really are the best cut flower, I didn’t get any this year. Sarah Browne.

    1. I haven't cut mine, just left them in the tubs. Maybe next year I'll try some in a ,"cutting bed"

  2. I think you acted in good faith when contacting M&S. You could re-plant the corms in a bed for next year. (Not the one with the new sheet).

  3. I'm sure M&S will be happy that you had at least one flower! :D

  4. Definitely. Rush back to M/S waving your 20p!

  5. Zinnias are lovely! I bought Gladioli bulbs from Wilko last year for my planter and out of 10 only 4 flowered. This year more have come!
    I like this idea of the 3 flowers heights!

  6. I'm disgusted with M&S at present!
    My son bought me a bouquet, as he does every year, on the anniversary of my mum dying.
    They were bought on Tuesday, and by Thursday were wilting badly, despite being looked after really well. It was hot weather, but I moved them around the house so that they were always in the coolest room.
    On Friday morning, they were dead, so there was obviously a problem with them.
    I contacted M&S, and included photographs of the bouquet. I received an email back, stating that as I had no receipt, and had thrown the wrapping away (who keeps the paper their flowers had been wrapped in), they would not issue either a refund, or even a voucher as a gesture of goodwill!
    To say I'm disgusted is an understatement, they didn't even say 'sorry'!
    I'm not letting it go though, it was a very expensive bouquet, and I'm no quitter! X

    1. That's really frustrating for you.i hope they do resolve the issue soon

  7. Such lovely flowers! I told myself that this summer I was going to do some container gardening but it was just too hot. Maybe in the autumn.

  8. Beautiful flowers but as you say, tubs need a lot of watering. Went out to our back garden this morning to discover another tub almost emptied by a digging animal-squirrels again we think.Catriona

  9. Gladioli take ages to show blooms. I like Monty's Springtime pillars,fillers and spillers-type planting. It's our annual flower show next week, after a hiatus of 2 years but can't seem to get anyone enthusiastic enough to enter anything! They used to be so eager (when they were younger; sometimes I wish they could stay that way).

  10. I can understand your frustration when the gladioli flowers didn't appear. I guess it was a surprise to see a flower at last. I've never grown them, having decided that my gardening expertise is sufficiently lacking that I must rely on things that grow themselves. So I have a lovely showing of Black-eyed Susans, Echinacea and some other native plants.


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