Sunday, 29 November 2015

Winter is coming....

So last Sunday night we had the first frosts, not a little gentle dusting but a full on kill everything frost.

Although it looks like most of the garden here is tender, there are actually only a few things that need to come in namely:Brugmansias and Musa sikkimensis which were moved under cover with the huge M. sikkimensis being pushed up against the side of the house and wrapped in fleece.

Although they look like they are bubble wrapped this is only on one side to keep the worst of the rain off and to keep the fleece becoming sodden

Cannas and Hedychiums in pots were all cut down and put in the plastic
greenhouse to keep them dry

The big thing to do was sort out the Abyssinian bananas, Enstes, which have a slightly unusual way of keeping them safe namely

1)      Cut off the leaves and dig up

2)      Cut off the roots back to the basal plate
3)      Hose to wash off remaining mud and cut off dead bits

4)      Store upside down for a week or so to drain off excess moisture
5)      Keep somewhere entirely frost free until spring!

finger crossed all survived ok

The terrace before the big winter take in *sigh*

Near the end..everything in pots cut down the base. emptyness!

and after....all clear with the polythene greenhouse in the corner and Musa's pushed up against the house

Inside the greenhouse, hopefully all dry and warm!

Sunday, 15 November 2015


I have just managed to escape to Thailand for some r&r, and sadly sitting at home in London just in my pants with the heating on full is not quite taking me back to the holiday spirit. More on lush jungleness to follow..

Back in London and all is blowy, very blowy! who knew that the wind could knock a good size Ensete in a very heavy pot off my high shelf! The light is also so grey and muted as oppose to Thailands to colour extravaganza.

Next week I will do the big take in, and in readyness, at the height of my jet-lag have reassembled my little polythene greenhouse (bad idea, it took a long time and I was grumpy). Things are now decidedly over, but with one or two bits of colour poking through

Dahia imperialis knocked over by the wind but just starting to flower

Salvia just starting to flower

A sunflower that didn't get the memo

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Fading out: autumnal elegance

It is hardcore autumn at the moment, the ground is covered with leaves, it's misty and things are dying back faster than they are growing. I have broken my apres garden opening fast and started gardening again, planting out a large schleffera and clearing out the compost heap.

Compost heaps are magical things...sometimes things rot super fast, and other times it seems to take forever....surprises on my clear out were a 6ft banana stem that was completely unrotted after 8 months, and lots of Helianthus stems from this time last year. I always think of my grandfather when clearing compost as I helped him a couple of times on his allotment....him ancient but incredibly agile and moving compost like it was snow. Me 15 years old, huffing and puffing and terrified as he told me to keep watch for the rats nests that he was sure I would find (I never did).

I am trying to enjoy the garden whilst it is still looking amazing, but it is sliding to winter with the Paulownias dropping their leaves and new vistas opening up. Things are also now dying faster than they are growing and I think I will need to do my big take in towards the end of the month if not before.

Yacon flowering!

Hedychium greenii

Cuphea cynea?

All sorted! I feel like a proper gardener!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Size matters: giant jungle plants (and me being small)

This has been a monster year for many plants which are bigger than ever! Some pictures of how big things have got with me for comparison

Giant Paulownia...all the growth is from this year as I cut them down to the ground in spring

Giant Miscanthus 

Musa sikkimensis

Musa basjoo and Canna musifolia which are all at about 6ft

Musa sikkimensis bedded out and a Ricinus at about 7-8ft

Big Tetrapanax leaf

Steven lost in the Dahlia imperialis

RHS London Show: Shades of Autumn

Today was the last day of the RHS London plant show, and I was impressed coming away with a  good plant haul. It was a lot of the usual stands but in general the show was well laid out between the two halls with some good quality displays.

Rudbeckia 'little henry'
After not buying any plants for ages, the plant buying juices were flowing strongly. Mainly I seemed to be attracted to unusual edible plants buying a wasabi, edible ginger (zingiber mioga), black raspberry and seeds of Tamarillo and Achocha vine

Coming right Achocha...a new one to me, an annual vine growing to 5-6m with these odd fruits which can be eaten raw, stuffed or stir fried
I also was rather enamoured with this Tierella 'Emerald Ellie' which I think will look rather exotic when it bulks out a bit. As usually I was drawn to the Polypody ferns, and as usual when I found one I liked I had no idea if I had already bought one.

Today's haul

I was also enamoured by a Petrocosmea, which was new to me but wonderfully exotic looking, and as a I have a new office with space for plants I can grow more houseplants, yay!

Then in terms of other things which caught my eye....

A fabulously coloured Dahlia, nice leaved Rubus and rather erect grass