Tuesday 28 August 2012

Garden opening details, and some pictures to entice you in!

This Sunday sees us open the garden, for the second time, as part of the National Gardens scheme and is your chance to have a nosy, see some interesting plants, and have some lovely tea and cake whilst raising money for charity!

NGS says:
24 Grove Park
Camberwell, London,  London,  SE5 8LH
Sun 2 Sept (2-5.30) Adm £3, chd free
 A garden to surprise and delight with pond, sunken terrace and bold, big leafed planting of exotics that reach for the sky in late summer, achieving a crescendo of colour with dark dahlias, ricinus, bananas and tetrapanax. New interest this yr from a huge secret garden with more jungle plants, developing potager and cutting garden. Greenhouse with carnivorous plants only for the brave to investigate 
As featured on BBC Gardeners' World
We are at the Chadwick Road end of Grove Park, exact location is found here  Driving should be relatively easy as there is lots of street parking, and we are about 10 mins walk from either Denmark Hill or Peckham Rye Rail stations.
Eating wise we are lucky to have lots of fab local restaurants, my favourite close ones 5 mins away are Ganapati (Indian), Victoria Inn (pub food), and Begging Bowl (Thai) however save lots of room for cake!
Come last year? Come again! See how it has changed: A lot has happened in a year as we have probably cleared and brought an additional 1/3 of the top garden into cultivation, and a lot of the structure and planting has been radically tweaked and changed. That Carol Klein off the telly also came round and I had my 7 minutes of fame on Gardeners World... (I can do autographs if you want) however the banana tree that she helped me overwinter was the only one I had which died, touch of death she has!
Bees: this is also my first year of being a bee keeper which I do jointly with my friend Charlie...you can read my blog of earlier exploits and swarming as it has been a bit of a baptism of fire. However, things are now under control and we have 2 hives (which are very tucked away) and Charlie will be on hand to talk bees and hopefully show people the hives.
Please do come! And if you are a blog reader do say hi (I will be the one looking flustered trying to eat a bit of every cake)
Anyway, to tempt you in here are some more pictures.....

This is the scene at the moment as Steven scours receipe books for the winning NGS combination.....

Salvia, voodoo lilym, Asarum, nasturshums and Blechnum chilensis

Leonotus leonoris

Amicia zygomeris
Cuphea ignea

Ganesh wating to say hello!

Tithonia and hedychium densifolia

Rudbeckia 'Herbsonne'

Thanks for looking!

Monday 20 August 2012

Almost there.....reflections, before and after

So the day is almost upon us (13 days to go! details here), everything is in place and I’m now doing all those niggly little things that you wouldn’t usually do unless you have lots of scruitnous visitors... So corners are tidied, steps that wont collapse have been built, and empty snail ravaged corners have new plants in them. I think things are looking good, and am pleased at how things are coming into place....in the last week the Tithonia have started flowering along with 80% of the Dahlias and they are only going to get bigger. I am worried about the Cannas which don’t look happy or about to flower, most Ricinus are ok (ish) and any gaps are being watered lots and given encouraging words (yes I have turned into a crazy person standing alone in my garden asking plants nicely to grow)

So a good opportunity to wander round thinking how things have changed to remind myself how they were...and everyone likes before and after photos!

The following show the front corner of the garden starting about 4 years ago....initially it was all just beds around the outside and new turf over solid cloying clay. then over the years I have secretly stolen bits of lawn when no one was looking!

Spring a couple of years ago
This is it today! I'm pleased with its exuberance, with the palms giving a structure and kangaroo apple padding it out
This is looking up the garden, again about 5 years ago when the turf was new and the garden was a thin bed around the walls....

A year later as things started going in, Tetrapanax is the only thing in the same place

Things today....view towards left hand corner and a hidden seating area, greenhouse where the shed was and things looking nicely jungly

This is the other corner about 5 years ago...

Then the pond went in 3? years ago

Then things today, pond marginals have softened the edges radically

Then the new land! this is the view at the top of the steps just less than 2 years ago

Mid clearing, cutting back the 6ft brambles and hops, then 5 skip loads of rubble and a lot of recycling of bricks...

15? months ago, new structure going in. Ganesh was in first as the creator and destroyer god which felt rather appropriate. He now forms the main focus as you enter the 'ceremonial alley'

View today

Then this is last years view of the other end of the new territories just after clearing it of brambles and debris

This was after the structure had gone in with initial plantings, today it is really bushy and you cant see through! (Grr to eblogger that seems to be having issues uploading pictures so I cant show you what the view is today!)

Then finally the far corner, this whole bit was still nettles in spring...last year we covered a lot of it with black weed membrane and grew pumpkins though it. However it was a mistake to let those settled seed as even seedling stinging nettles hurt!

Then the view today....we've made raised beds all by the fence and the pond is the one we discovered and then relined.

P.S. I must plug Victorias garden which is open this Sunday in Wandsworth. Her garden is fabulous and one Im really looking forward to seeing again.....lovely design, plants and company. Oh, and fabulous cake!
PPS I also want to plug Amultree exotics as I have just received a fabulous order from them....they had a 50% off sale which was too good to miss and my 'oh I will get a couple of things' turned into a bit of a haul. It was also the most exciting delivery I have ever had as it came on a pallet and looked like a huge chunk of jungle had been fork lifted out and dumped on the road. The truck stopped traffic, there were irate drivers and heavy machinery, what more can a boy want! I'm also now the proud owner of a large Butia capita and Washingtonias which are suitably filling the terrace. Hurrah!

Thursday 2 August 2012

1 month to go before opening! OMG!!!#!#!!!##

How quickly this year has passed....I have no idea how it is suddenly August with exactly one month to go before we open for the NGS on Sunday 2nd September (2-5:30 pm, put it in your diary!)

Am I ready? Well kind of...

Does the garden look fabulous? Of course!

Will I have Caster Oil plants that are more than 2ft tall, tall Solanums, and Cannas in full bloom? Mmm...I will get back to you on that one

Will Steven make the most fabulous cakes? Of course! I do need to start some quality control and testing first though ;)

Will the bees make enough honey to have piles of jars to sell? Errr no

Will I have any honey? Erm, not from the hives, cheaper and easier to get direct from Fortnums...

Will visitors have a good time? Defo!

So things are kind of ready, everything is planted, I’m even up to date with weeding and slug/snail massacring.  It is certainly a lot less stressful second time round, it is just a half day in my life...the garden will also keep growing and changing every day, and I’m sure whatever state it is in on that Sunday in September there will be nice things to see and good tea and cake to be had. I look forward to the final preening, showing people round and things looking fabulous!

So here is the garden on the 1st of August

Cannas growing more with each sunny and hot day, all newly under planted with Cuphea ignea

Crocosmia (scarlatii?)

 Canary creeper...self sowed everywhere and has just got to the rampant phase...

Giant thistle which really needs staking, but Im not brave enough to face it!

This is the Dahlia which I had thought was heading for the compost heap, now the most floriferous thing around. I think I will keep it

Rudbeckia Herbsonne....about 5ft this year, hopefully bigger next

 Helianthius salicifolius...well worth hunting down

Last weekends project, giving the Garuda a proper perch on a 8ft fence post

Salvia uliglosa flowering for the first time, a bit more prairie than I thought it would be but I like that it is about 5ft....

Sunflowers have self seeded around (I grew them last year for cut flowers)

 Paraserianthus lophanthus....a new one for me, very quick growing with fabulous Acacia/Mimosa type leaves

 Perrenial Ratabida

Lobelia tupa, Crocosmia, Tetrapanax and Plume Poppy

A frogs eye view

Salvia patens back again....such a special blue colour

Flowering Eryngium, pink salvia, Paulownia and Arundodonax

Pineapple Lily

Im rather pleased with my pots as it is getting very jungly with the Musa lasiocarpa, Ensete and Canna inter spaced with a vibrant red salvia and white Datura flowers...

Its not quite weather for a corner sofa! Schlefera taiawanna, Cyperus, Musa and Cannas

 The Solanum that survived! interestingly in year 2 the leaves aren't as big

Fuchsia 'Oriental' with the only unravished Nicotiana in the garden

Brugmansia...overwintered as a 5ft stem now flowering away. Scent is rather delicious.

Ensete looking superb and so much better in year 2. I was amazed at how easy it was to overwinter (I tried the American method of cutting off all the roots and leaves, leaving it upside down to drain and then leaving it dry all winter). I am therefore a convert and bought 2 more this year, and have 4 more on order! Out of all the more tropical stuff it is also coping with the weather really well...I think this is because where it comes to there is a steep diurnal range, so hopefully it is more at home here than other Musas....