Saturday, 14 May 2016

Back into life

Things are now all systems go in the garden. With the recent hot weather the hammock is back up and things are growing at a rate of knots. The big plant out is just getting up speed with the big bananas out, but a lot more to go in including a greenhouse full of seedlings.

As it has been a mild winter all the cannas seem to have survived and are now just poking their heads above the soil, and by the gardens best will be 5-6ft. The Ensete in the greenhouse are just about coming back into life and I am waiting for them to put out more roots before planting out any more.

My new wooden 'henge'

This has been the big area of change in the garden. Last year there was a trellis all the way along the wall, but by taking it down it gives potential to have a great new bed at eye height...this also changes the feel of the bottom garden as what was a 'full stop' now becomes part of an ongoing vista

Anyway, happy gardening! We are also in the heights of garden visiting season so if you haven't seen which NGS gardens are open near you CHECK THEM OUT! we are off to the Forest Hill gardens tomorrow which are well worth a trip

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

RHS Orchid and spring show.....plants to get obsessive over

It was with trepidation that last weekend I went along to the RHS spring and orchid show. I must admit that when I first saw how they were charging for this show I was a little grumpy as the spring show was usually free, and the orchid one was charged for. However, rather than turn into (more of) a moaning Minnie I thought I would go along and see what it was all about.

I was very glad I did as the orchid bit was great! Growers from all over the world with some fabulous flowers. There were also loads to buy, and if you were an enthusiast you could have come away a lot poorer.

Orchids are still one of those plants that people are crazy about, and you could see an obsessive and compulsive twinkle in the eye of many of the people attending.

Growing orchids really appeals to me as they have rarity and great beauty. However, I don’t (yet?) have a heated glasshouse and know that I would kill things quickly. Whilst I also love phalaenopsis and can keep them alive, I rarely get them to flower again and perhaps I should get the basics right before moving onto those that cost £30+. I also have a much stronger craving for nepenthes which are achingly glorious…

So a good show and a reminder as to how beautiful fiddly plants can be. It also helped to remind me how much I like carnivorous plants and I went home to re-pot the collection!

Pretty flowers 'init

Now hardy orchids are something I could get obsessive over.....

Some were all a little OTT

and there was of course some proper RHSness going on...

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Paulownia: king of the exotic garden and vlog

A new era beckons! vlogging! I'm dipping my toes in, and wanted to share my first attempt which is a short vlog about Paulownias as chopping them down has been my one recent bit of gardening. 

Paulownias are of course one of my favourite plants...perfectly hardy and THE plant that you must have if you want your own jungle. Looking after them is also super easy

Friday, 5 February 2016

Dead foxes and squirrels

If there is one thing worse than a stinky fox, it’s a stinky dead fox….At the moment the garden feels like a bit of a no go zone…when it is light enough to walk round it is wet and muddy, with lots of detritus everywhere. There is also a very bushy tailed fox that keeps watching and skirting round me, but sadly it has a bad leg which I feel means that there may soon be an inevitable death. 

Foxes are strange creatures…there are always lots around us, and they are lurking in the shadows ready to dash out and pick off any small children or vulnerable adults.

I last found a dead fox a few years ago which was very grim….the small percentage of butcheness that I have in me quickly disappears in these situations.  I smelt the fox before we found it, curled under a large Laurel bush where I buried it. The next day I came out to find the fox had been dug up by another fox and dumped in the middle of the lawn. Yuck! 

The grim one was the dead squirrel which I once found in a water butt/tank which I didn’t smell but saw….it was a huge evil mass, vastly bloated by the water, more like a cat than a squirrel. YUCK!

This nature business is all very well, but only when it is all cute and fluffy!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy 2016! Pondering the year

Gosh this year has gone quickly! This has been a good gardening year…

Good things
Weather was ok, a mild winter followed by a warm spring, then cool summer with lots of watering before the garden opening

Musa sikimensis: in pots they were fabulous, and in the ground where they usually sulk they also did well…although they are getting big

Ensete ventricosum: I am very happy to have about 7 of these fabulous beauties, all slowly getting bigger year by year

Jiffling things around: the garden is definitely in the editing phase of things as things that aren’t so good are moved and others given space. Tricky to do, but essential

Year of the soil: this has certainly been the year I have invested in the soil! I can’t think how many bags of manure I have bought but I do think if you can get the soil right a lot of the rest follows

Echiums: we were so lucky to have so many monsters survive to flower. Hurrah!

BBC Instant Gardener: it was great fun to have the BBC film for an afternoon!

Things getting big: it is lovely how things are padding out and getting big, it is feeling very jungly!

Things that weren’t so good
 Vegetables: I am still a rubbish fruit and veg grower

Slugs and Snails: we were smited by great plagues

Dahlias: after 2 good years they now sulk and aren’t there amazing fabulousness

Im not big in Austria (yes I am still grumpy!)

Plans for 2016
More editing: I need to be brave and move a big clump of bamboo!

Colocasias: I see some big pots full of them

Persicaria orientalis: a current plant lust

Bees: taking off honey as soon as supers are full to better appreciate the different seasons honey

Art: I see the creation of some new idols and friends to terrify the unsuspecting visitor

Whatever you plan to do I hope you have a fabulous 2016

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Thai jungle

The thing that inspires me most with my type of garden is pure unadulterated jungle. I am to try and replicate this type of naturalism so that when you go outside you are escaping to something wild, and certainly not a manicured English garden. The easy things to take from this is about the lack of flowers, and when they are used they are sparing. There is a lot of green and big leaves, and leaves with interesting shapes with a lot of repetition. 

You feel small and know how nature is certainly boss.

An iridescent blue selaginella (similar to moss)

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Thailand: royal splendor

Last month we escaped to Thailand for some R&R and as many mango and sticky rices as we could manage.

In Bangkok we went on a great tuk tuk food tour which stopped at their huge flower market which late at night was heaving with people. The orchids, all at about 75p for a bundle made me swoon, If I lived in Bangkok I would be just like Elton John with  gazillion flowers in the house refreshed daily.

Many of the flowers were for offerings...

Masses of roses all at about £2 each.

Crazily our guide was most enamoured with the few air conditioned shops selling flowers we were more familiar with  like hydrangeas. No no no! stick with your exotica!

Then back to the Grand Palace for some proper Thai gardens....amazing pots and well clipped trees *swoon*

Sadly I did't manage to fit any in my suitcase....