Saturday 30 June 2012

End of June: a tour of interesting things and nice plants

How is it the end of June already?!  The garden feels good at the moment, and Ive finally found at least one moment to get the hammock out and relax.
I was thinking about waiting until July for this post, but I want to keep the Osgodby fans apetite sated, and Im off to Hampton Court on Tuesday so fully expect the garden to be littered with pots of homeless plants.

Currently Im uber tired and tapping this with one finger from a butch day of cementing the bricks round the edge of the new formal pond. Gosh its hard work. I fully understand why builders seem to need to have lots of breaks to rest and oggle ladies...

Garden wise things are ok.... somethings are uber lush others need a few weeks of warmth and sunshine to help them get bigger as I am a little concerned I wont get as jungly as I want by September.

Other good news is that the bees are getting hive now has a queen which is no longer a virgin, and is happily laying loads of eggs with lots of young waiting to emerge. We even spotted and marked her (Charles you were right you do mark her with a minute tiara). The other two hives are still looking sad, apparently without queens however I have put a frame of eggs into one so we will see what happens. Will we get any honey this year? who knows!

Anyway a tour of the garden...

This is Hydrangea macrophylla and a Fatsia looking lush and jungly

Im particularly pleased with this view at the mo as the banana has emerged, the bamboo to its left has almost doubled its size with new culms emerging, and the plume poppy which although being terribly invasive, has filled a gap nicely and is looking lush next to the Tetrapanax which is increasing in size. The Cape fuchsia is also bringing a welcome splash of colour behind the pond margins which have suitably padded out and meshed into a verdant swathe

Paulownia reaching for the skies again...

The other can see where I stooled it this year. Tetrapanax behind with a swathe of Tithonia and Ricinus planted underneath waiting to get bigger...

Ok so my greenhouse is still rather full.....mainly I have far to many pumpkins which need homes, and pots of soil of coco yams which havent emerged.

 Magnificent Sarracenia....S.flava 'red throat' and S. leucophylla behind. There is a fly just at the top of one of the biggest pitchers
 Sarracenia flowers....strange otherworldly things but very pretty
 This is the overwintered Kangeroo apple just starting to flower
 Arasaema tortuosa hiding under a palm leaf....
 Path is filling out...this year I have tried to bulk out an undergrowth of Polypody ferns. the stick on the right is a Musa sikkimensis....all my bananas are sulking at the moment and not coming into leaf :(
 Hardy begonias (B.evasonii) i love them at this time of the year as a mound of leaves with pink middles. They also proliferate easily as they produce bulbils in the leaf axes at the end of the year and pop up in random places
 At least the Basjoos are performing, huge lush new leaf *swoon*
 Acanthus....this is my 'oh nothing will grow there' plant, as invariably I stick an Acanthus in, and they seem to be doing well

This is the last piece of the puzzle still to do, although we have already moved tons of earth to level things out and put in the sleepers. Cocktail spot here we come!
New opium poppies open daily and are fought over by the bees and bumble bees which are going crazy for them
This daylily has such a vibrant red flower, and fits in well with the look Im wanting. Others can be a bit cottagey, but this one is a little Henri Rousseu
This is the only giant Echium I have had in flower for 3? years...I overwintered it in a pot and although still 6ft, isnt the 12-15ft Ive had in the past. However I hope it will set loads of seeds to get a new forest going
One of the first Dahlias flowering...I wasnt a fan of this one last year as it wasnt the electric pink I was expecting so I have moved it into a side bit for cut flowers... I like it more than I remember and may keep it. I dont know if I could throw out a plant?!
Giant thistle....Im very excited to have this grow as in the past the slugs get it. and yes it is as spikey as it looks
Tetrapanax, Persicaria 'Red Dragon' and Dahlia imperialist beginning to go into 2nd gear. Last year it was 10? ft by the end of the year
These 4 pictures make up a 360 degree view!

Pots on the side of the terrace...Im going for more foliagey than last year with the Ensete, a red foliage canna and the Musa lasiocarpa. However I also have a Datura, red salvia and Mirabilis longiflora to peek through

Finally the restof the terrace which needs a power wash and the pots finding final positions. I have a large Brugmansia at the back, and a Cauteleya which is doing the best Ive seen it now its in a pot. Schleffera, Puya, Agave attenuata and Americana

Happy gardening!

Wednesday 20 June 2012

voodoo magic

Ok so you need to look hard, but this is my Voodoo lily flowering for the first time in 4 years (Sauromatum venosum). I bought it when I was on my stag do in Amsterdam as it is an amazing plant, and can also do this thing where it flowers from the corm ie you don't need to plant it.

Although amazing I will always remember the first time it flowered, as one morning after waking up and going for breakfast I was met with this horrendous smell....think of a pack of dogs which have pissed all over your flat, have left, the windows have been shut and the heating cranked up to give it that special scent. mmmm, yummy.

I love it mainly for the leaf which it sends up late every year, a nice big tropical looking thing. A touch late for a secure survival as I always forget where it is and often almost put a spade through it. however its very pretty flower is with us for a few days..

Ive also been enamoured with Salvia 'black and blue' a new purchase from Brum... the photo doesn't do it justice but it has a great combo of the blue with the black stem making it a little primordial, and very jungle...

After lusting all last summer over Helianthus salicifolius I bought some from mail order early in the year....all the other plants I ordered came up, but the Helianthus didn't. Was I diddled?  did I have the Helianthus kiss of death? who knows....but yet again I swear I will never buy pots of earth mail order again. So after finally giving them up for dead I bought new ones from Cotswold Garden Plants (as recommend by Mark and Gaz, thanks!) They have a great choice, and I even got a Begonia luxurians which has been on my must buy list for ages. Mail order was quick and easy and the plants are fab, do use them.

Some poppys even escaped my cull and they have the most amazing deep magenta pink. Bees are currently fighting over them. I wish more could grow but I need the space to plant things...

 Red hot pokers... yes they can be a bit cottagey, but I think they do look a bit tropical and like giant Aloes... Flowering fabulously at the mo, salvia hot lips in the background

This was the big weekend project, new path and the final link to the Jubilee walkway. It was always an odd area, it was quite big but rubbly, then my brick storage area and not knowing what to do we stuck the objects trouve sculpture in the middle and a few hundred geraniums. Now the path snakes through to my artificial mound, and the old path has become stepping stones.

The species foxgloves are also looking good, this one has something ancient about it

So most things are now in (phew) but the weather sucks..... one week I'm sneezing from the cold I have as it was been so wet and chilled, then I'm too hot and sneezing from hayfever!

Ive been looking back at last years pictures and I think growth is at least 2 weeks behind what it should be, if not 4. I hope stuff goes big and strong before the wind and slugs destroy it. I am beginning to get the NGS worry seeping in, I hope it grows! needless to say I'm going to start piling on the pelleted chicken manure...

The dahlia bed with one battered Musa and aother that is almost dead from the wind :(

PS just as a side there is a great thread on HTUK about one persons garden development. Lovely garden, lots of bamboos and one to aspire to!

Thursday 14 June 2012

Gardeners World live Flower Show: adventures in Birmingham

Yesterday I was at the at Gardeners World Live at the NEC in Birmingham. In essence this is like a huge flower show but has the advantage of having them tv gardener folks from off telly being around. More importantly it is also a great opportunity to buy plants.

Loaded up and ready to go!
Having plated the majority of stuff that I had in pots, I could justify busying as many new plants as I wanted, and even bought one of them weely plant carrier things, which I have resisted for years, but was actually very helpful for carrying heavy purchases and tripping up older people.

I felt the show better than last year, as the show gardens were of a higher quality. Still not as good as you would expect at Chelsea of Hampton Court, but better than they were. The floral marquee was of course my favourite as it was crammed with nurseries, all with good displays and loads of plants to choose from.

The plant avenues in the main arena were also great to buy stuff from, but they were really just nurseries piling things high to sell cheap, but very helpful for getting some filler plants like Musa ensete to pad out the holes.
Bit in the main arena where the regular sellers were, it was all getting a bit bandito in search of sales...

TV folk were all around creating a bit of a scrum when they were filming (see above). I saw Alan Titmarsh, James Sinclair, Jo Swift Rachel de Thame, and Carol Klein....sadly I didnt get a chance to say hi, however I did hang out with some of the tv crew who came down in October who were having long and busy days.

It was good to hear them talk, Mr Titmarsh was particulalry engaging although he was a little taken aback when a lady from the audience asked 'Alan, can you tell me when I should prune my bush'

Everyone needs a bit of odd conceptualism...I rather liked this (perhaps it bows to my royal ambitions) but thought it would look good as part of landscaping a roundabout

Need I say more?

This plants name is 'Silybum' I had to take a picture to show that Helen wasnt making it up

interesting arid garden...I liked the wood sticking up at the back

windy walls

I liked this for the tanks used as mini ponds

Again nice use of verticle wood

Generally Im not a fan of the fuchia, apart from a brief obsession in my teens. I do howver like this Thalia type and bought a few as I think they can add to the tropical look

There was a Datura/Brugmansia stand however I must say I wasnt a fan of the doubles, they just look a bit blousy. I like their wild tropical jungleness...these seem a bit park displan

Giant restio

I wish I could grow ferns better (one day perhaps I will if I get an automatic watering system) this one was from Hawaii and very Jurassic Park

Pretty un named thing

This is to remind me that the one I bought last year will look better than it does at the moment!

Plantbase is one of my new favourite nurseries as he just had odd wild looking jungly things....

I bought one of these which should be a wild monster, although it will be cut down by frost,  along with a 'dead mans fingers' plant

I also bought a Eucalyptus which I plan on keeping pollarded for good young growth which is different from the adult foliage

Desert to Jungle also had a good stand with all the tropical favourites, I bought a Schleffera from them