Thursday, 14 May 2020

Gardening in lockdown



Hello from lockdown!

We have all been plunged into a somewhat crazy world. I work in a hospital and so things are now busier than they have ever been and I am super grateful for having the garden to keep me sane!
It is good to look for the positives and the lockdown has proven a great way to slow things down and appreciate all the tiny changes the garden goes through each day. I have also been on a role with my own painting which is great. More on this later….

I was lucky in that I had put in my big order for compost before lockdown and so the 50 or so bags I got came in mid-March at just the right time. Seeds went in a bit later as most seed companies seem to have been swamped. I had to keep logging into Chiltern seeds at odd times to try and catch when their website was actually open.  I was too late in the game to try and get some bedding plant plugs, queuing to go on websites ?!?! to see lists of everything that was sold out.

Another positive has been the restoration of my garden slaves. Unable to do any babysitting the upstairs neighbours have been able to do a lot of projects which has been super helpful. Their gentle pointing out of long-standing unfinished jobs or problem areas has been great to get things done. This has included finally edging some of the veg plots with Victorian rope tiles that have sat around for a couple of years. 

For the first time ever I think I am also on top of where I should be in the garden. Compost heaps have been emptied, seeds sown and pricked out, a new nursery bed has been created and I have even tackled the long-neglected bank in the front garden. After living here for 13? Years and looking at things I planted 12 years ago and thinking how they don’t work for most of those 12 years I have realised it is best to just bin/move them and start again.

The most major change to the garden has been the re-building of one of the major retaining walls between the two gardens. This long neglected Victorian wall collapsed during our really wet spring. We have been lucky to have a few builders in to re-build the mega expensive wall, but this has necessitated the destruction of one of the main flower beds in the garden.  

However, all is not lost! I have loads of Tithonia seedlings ready and waiting and plans to create an arid bed. This will include being brave and planting our my Puyas and agaves. Watch this space…



The wall when it had collapsed (above) and mid re-building showing the destruction 



The giant Echiums are amazing this year


The love affair with flag iris's continues, this one flowering for the first time was so much better than the common blue one that everyone seems to have 



Fatsia polycarpa throwing up new leaves...They seem to have being moved and this one is only just recovering after 3+ years of sulking and near death experiences



Yes the iris's were so good they have 2 pictures...



A surprise for the garden was coming across these amazing Rose Chafer beetles. About 2cm long and bright iridescent green 




Our sunken terrace has always been a haven for newts! this tiny one was under a pot



My beautiful growing area with edgings put in by upstairs. Big up to Steven who is becoming a vegetable growing expert and is watering daily. 



The greenhouse makes me feel like a proper gardener! trays of pricked out seedlings, lettuces in plugs and the last of the red bananas waiting to be planted out









Monday, 2 September 2019

The 2019 NGS garden opening: things at their best

2019 has been our 9th NGS garden opening! 1 more year to hold on for until we can get the engraved golden towel!

In all we had 220 visitors and made over £2,200 for charity. 

We were blessed with good weather which provoked an early rush of people who then hung around to enjoy their tea and cake in the sun.  Once again the fabulous Alan donated some amazing plants for the plant sale which was our best one so far. I had been propagating up some of the more special things and there were lots of people there at 2pm to get first dibs! Jennifer ran the prosecco palace offering fizz with home made rhubarb vodka. Rob also joined us selling some of his delicious home made preserves. 

A huge thank you to everyone who came. It was great to see so many people returning to visit.  THANK YOU!

So some pictures of everything at its best...



One of the big new things for 2019 was this large lotus bowl from Vietnam. I'm going to grow miniature water lilies in it and try and keep some fish alive!


One of the best plants out was this Hedychium ellipticum. This is my favourite Hedychium as it keeps flowering forever! However, the flower heads can be easily knocked off by my nephews football.... 

The Brugmansia was in full show off mode. At dusk the scent is amazing...


This is Gloxinia nemathanthdes which is super amazing. The red colour is absolutely perfect


Lots of people asked about the Nicandra, or shoo-fly plant. Its an annual which is super easy to grow from seed, self sowing when happy. It is supposed to ward off white fly


The newly refurbished shrine with a roof made of recycled cordyline leaves!








Yacon





2019 was our best ever garden opening. This is very due to the people who help make it happen. My parents have been fabulous at weeding, primping and priming. Sue returned as a garden slave, and 15 people then came to help on the day/ THANK YOU!




Monday, 19 August 2019

Our garden open as part of the National Gardens Scheme on Sunday 1st September 2-5:30pm

Coming up if your one opportunity to visit our garden! This has been a great year for the jungle and things are looking super lush. Come see for yourself!  There will be tables heaving with home made cakes and lots of plants for sale too!

The NGS says

An exotic garden full of the exuberance of late summer inspired by travel in Southeast Asia. A lush and naturalistic jungle of big leafed plants, bold colours and shapes including cannas, bananas, Bamboos, dahlias and towering paulownias.

We deliver on the 'wow' factor with visitors being surprised by the scale of the garden and getting lost in the exotica.The garden changes and improves every year as the plants grow bigger and the feel gets 'junglier'.

Huge ‘hidden’ garden, created from being able to buy the bottom half of two of the neighbour’s gardens gives the garden an unexpected size. Overall there are two ponds (one for wildlife and one with fish), bee hives, a productive area and contemporary sunken terrace full of prized plants.

The lower lawn, lots of seating and hidden corners give space to sit and enjoy. Renowned for great  teas and home-made cakes.

Featured on BBC Gardeners World, BBC Instant Gardener, Garden News, and the Independent



 
We are located in Camberwell on the Chadwick Road end of Grove Park with plenty of street parking.  Dont be confused by my road that has a bit loop and odd numbering! look for the bridge....We are a 10-15 min walk from Denmark Hill or Peckham Rye Stations Map here
 
Please check our travel arrangements before travelling as TfL seems to love doing work and closing lines over our gardens opening weekend!















 

Monday, 1 July 2019

July

Things in London have been super hot which has been great for bringing things out, although I am so unfit that this is all conspiring to just turn me into a sweaty mess.

Almost everything is now planted out and over the past 2 weekends there has been much pondering and hard lugging around of pots in the complicated puzzel which is our terrace.

It is of course peak NGS garden visiting season and there are lots of inspiring gardens out there. Last week I went to see a great new one in Herne Hill which will open next year. It was fab with a lovely natural looking stream which is something I have always wanted.