Friday, 8 June 2012

Go go go: planting for 2012

After a mammoth effort of weeding, turning the soil, pulling out Forget me knots and waving flags at the Queen on Tower Bridge I think I have broken the spine of new planting. I love this time of the year and being creative with planting as it feels good to suddenly realise where plants are going to, and go from having lots of forlorn pot bound plants to having a fresh looking garden littered with empty plant pots!

Every garden should have lots of bunting on standby for a special occasion!
The Jubilee has been fabulous, and we were lucky enough to have tickets to be on Tower Bridge and also had a party on the Monday for strange people in red white and blue to wander the garden, thankfully making the right noises about the garden. We have even renamed the new summerhouse as the Jubilee pavilion and completed a new stretch of the path which is now the Jubilee walkway.
The Jubilee woodland walkway! now all we need is her Maj to come and open it

We were also lucky to have a dinner with Philip and Nick who had the most lovely established small garden (they should certainly open for NGS). Part of going round was to help chop up one of their established bamboo’s....I thought this would be easy but when I saw it they had a 20ft? Bamboo growing in a dustbin which was immense. Much brute force, and pretending to be big and strong followed to free it and then saw it in half and then quarters....all before the appetisers! Our hosts were very generous and we left full with a dustbin and a half of bamboo. This has been reutilised to help frame the ceremonial route to Ganesh which I’m rather pleased at

ok, this isnt a great picture but being there in the flesh you begin to feel a bit more ceremonial...not quite Bali, but not really Camberwell
I have had a few surprises this week as well as most of my Datura inoxia seem to have survived, most Eucomis and even some Dahlias I thought were lost have emerged, rather slug eaten, from the depths.
In terms of some big numbers and key bits of my planting for 2012 that has gone in so far:
18 Dahlias: perfect for late summer and NGS and I already have about 12 dotted, but now have a new bed devoted to Dahlias, mainly reds but also some electric pink and yellow cactus blooms
25 Ricinus: although it seems a lot I could have done with 35, I am trying to be selective but Ricinis will form a backbone planting for the garden and are key for the jungly look
16 Tithhonia: again I need lots more, and am glad I had a back up pot of seeds!
25 Kangaroo apple:  I’ve another 20 or so to go in; as again this is a backbone plant....I find them really helpful fillers as they are so easy from seed, quick growing, big and exotic
18 nasturtiums: I regretted not planting more last year as they are great understory plants...I grow the big brutish climbing/trailing ones that are more foliage that flower as they cover the ground underneath the ‘upper story’
12 Cannas: I’ve only ever grown a few Cannas, but been unlucky with buying plants which had the virus. In particular I have 6 Canna musifolia and C. Russian Red which I’m looking forward to growing as they will hopefully get huge and give that big leafed feel
7 Bananas: 4 big Musa Sikkimensis and I Basjoo, 1 Ensete marelii (although I think I will buy some more!)
Okra: something new for me, and recommended by Ms Klein. Should be interesting
Shoo fly plant (Nicandra physalodes) again a new one to me, but hopefully a good filler
And also lots of: Mirabilis longiflora, Ipomea, lots of Verbena bonarensis (Mum saw and wanted a big area of it), Leonotis leonurus. There is of course still loads to go in including some Datura metel, and about 30 pumpkins which I have no space for at all, but that is the fun of gardening
So hurrah to lots of planting, now is the exciting bit seeing it grow!

new dry garden in foreground (this is infront of the shed) and Dahlia bed with abused bananas in the background

I felt like I should get a gold star for putting in the sticks....I always leave it too late, but seeing a bag of 15 sticks for 99p in the 99p shop I couldnt resist and am ready for floppage... 

Pots at the side of the terrace...this year it is mainly foliage with Musas and a tall canna

Dahlia merkii...the first one to come out this year!

First Opium poppy...Ive felt bad pulling loads out as they self seeded everywhere but cant stop progress...

I really like the vibrant red salvia as the red cuts through the green and grabs your eye. Its set of nicely agains a delicate Miscanthus gracilis

and 2 water lilys are out! hurrah!


  1. are you doing an Open Garden this year - I cant wait! persuaded my mum to grow tithonia in her greenhouse so I'm getting some of that for myself today.

  2. Indeed! the first Sunday in September (2nd)

    good luck with Tithonia,it was my first year with them last year and I was so impressed i will grow them every year!

  3. Impressive plant list there Clive! And looking forward to seeing how they do in your garden in the next few weeks/months, I'm sure you'll give us some updates!

    It was a hectic Jubilee week wasn't it? Felt very festive. Just shame about the weather but it didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the participants.

  4. Looks amazing! And I think you will enjoy the Nicandra--it IS a great filler if you have room and has cool black spotted leaves and then the gorgeous blue/black bloom/pods.

  5. Thanks for the tip about Nicandra, things sometimes look and behave very differntly to how they are supposed to!

    Anyway, I hope the rain helps all the establish quick....