Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Plans and remembering things at their peak

Things are cold, and summer seems a long time ago...so as I wander around the garden I am trying to remember how things were and plan for this years extravaganza....

This is the same view....above is today and below at the peak of summer

Saturday, 21 March 2015


A slow day gardening, pondering and planning whilst the effects of last night’s special ‘Gin and Hogarth’ evening at the Tate wears off.
Things in the garden are hotting up and now we are past the Spring Equinox the days are getting longer than the nights. This has embedded a slight fear of being behind and as such I have released my sleeping Enstes into the light and planted my Ricinus seeds.

These are the Ensetes which have been stored in a dark frost free place since the end of November when they were dug up (see before and when they were prepared here). 
The next steps were to clean them up and cut away the dead/rotting leaves. They aren't really potted up, more loosely rested on pots of fresh soil.....burying them would probably just encourage rot. But they now have light and warmth
This is inside the polythene greenhouse on the terrace...the experiment has gone well and there have been no negative effects of the cold at all. The bananas and Hedychiums have kept their leaves, Begonia luxurians looks healthy as does the Brugmansia.
In fact the Brugmansia gave me a surprise by flowering!
 The Musa sikkimensis on the terrace has also been unwrapped.
Good news in that the Giant Echiums all seem to be ok......
The other project was to plant a giant bamboo to give some protection from the neighbours...
This seemingly simple job turned epic when the 'soil' was just buried rubble and reminded us of clearing the land of old..... this picture is misleading as the rubble was HUGE at least the size of a mini....
Daffodils because its spring, innnit!
Tetrapanax waking up
Fatsia polycarpa
I've got the key, do you have the secret?
Grrr to the cold, hurry up spring!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Lemons like you have never seen them before....the Menton lemon festival

Last week we were sunning ourselves in the South of France and so took ourselves off on a day trip to visit the Menton lemon festival not really knowing what to expect. Menton nestles on the border with Italy and so has a good climate for growing lemons and indeed when the festival was founded in the late 1800's Menton was the number one lemon-growing region in Europe.

What we found was one of the lemon marvels of the world! On the theme of 'The tribulations of a lemon in China' there were lots of different structures made from oranges and lemons. Words can not describe, so....

This is my surprised face at coming across a lemon Panda!

Menton itself was lovely to wander with a great ancient old town

We have one lemon tree in a pot that so far has survived about 5 years of winters with minimal protection. It has also now started producing lemons and we have had 2 gin and tonics with Camberwell grown lemons! They are good, relatively east plants to grow as the scent from the flowers is intoxicating. You will need some good protection, but they aren't as tender as people think.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The February RHS Show

Yesterday I went to the first London RHS Show of the year and was impressed! It was busy, things felt different to last year and there were a lot of extras going on. There seemed to be two places where talks were going on, you could do potato print art works and even make a sculpture out of mashed potato!

There were of course lots of things to buy...I had my annual thoughts of 'oooh, perhaps this is the year that I start my Arisaema collection' however in a moment of sensible clarity I realised how a) I couldn't remember which species I had actually already bought and b) perhaps I should try and perfect the growing of the ones I have already before killing new ones. This clarity was not shared by my companion whose new tact was to simply buy all the most expensive things on offer...

I am however more drawn to start a polypody collection...these ferns are very reliable, cope well with drought (you commonly see them growing in walls) and also appeal to my botanical urges as there is often a lot of Latin going on 

The sharpest elbows at the event were all around the potatoes as there were lots of opportunities to buy your stock for the year.

Why am I always drawn to the snowdrops that cost £20 a bulb???

I do like a nice neat line of Hepaticas

mmm nice big fuzzy tropical leaves
Yeee Ha! it was potato skittles rather than a barn dance, but who knows what happens after closing?

Late February

Things are changing, it's lighter in the morning, spring flowers are pushing through ands all the many thousands of sycamore seeds which litter the garden are germinating. When the sun shines it makes you think that the worst of the winter is over. However, when it rains you never want to go outside

I think I have about 14 giant Echiums...mostly self seeded. So far the frosts have been kind, but it doesn't take much to rot their growing points

The Cyatheas are also alive, with only the new growth being blasted

The new temporary greenhouse seems to be working

This is it inside....the Begonia luxurians and Brugmansia are still all ok

The odd flower of Petasites

The garden becomes more and more open...frost saw off all the Cobea. Fingers crossed they will come back from the ground

This was an experiment last year....putting in all the tallest sticks I could find to help lift the climbers (here a Murhanbeckia and Kiwi) off the fence to better hide the neighbours and make more of a feature of it. Hopefully the climbers are now holding the sticks more in place