Monday 30 September 2013

September lushness

Suddenly October is about to appear, its getting dark sooner and wearing of coats and jumpers is a necessity. The garden seems to be getting greener and lusher with the ricinus at about 6-8 foot high, daturas becoming ever bushier and nasturtiums filling every available gap and pushing their way across paths. Finally dahlias are at their peak, but with the cooler temperatures cannas tend to be more leaf than flower.

So a celebration of the end of September

 Next year I think it will be all about the pots, as they nicely solve the problem of rubbish dry soil....

 Below is the Kalopanax which Anna Pavord wrote about, its beginning to mature nicely
 The Nicotiana tabacum is still growing (this one is supposed to get to 8ft) and is joined with lots of Marvel of Peru which is perennial with me and a welcome space filler when I remember where I planted them!

 thankfully now its cooler the thrips seem to have disappeared having trashed the Brugmansias leaves all summer
 The Helianthus salicifolius have suddenly gone into flowering mode and turned into giant monsters! I prefer them as towers of leaves as they are suddenly a bit out of place
 The Nicandras did a good job of self seeding everywhere and grow so so fast to fill gaps with statuesk poise, I would definitely recommend them

 Nasturshums self seed and get everywhere which is fabulous, as the circular leaves and lush green provide perfect contrasts

 The strange seedpod of a Datura which a very kind visitor gave to me
 Look I can do vegetable growing although there is only so much chard a boy can eat....

Saturday 28 September 2013

American escapes

After the garden opening we escaped to America for some R&R first staying with my Aunt and Uncle in Indianapolis and then finishing with a few days in Chicago.  It was quite a nature filled break, as they live next to a nature reserve and it was great to see so many familiar garden plants growing in the wild such as Tradescantia, Catalpa (Indian bean tree) and loads of Solidago (Golden Rod) growing everywhere.

Chelone, or turtle plant


One of the many Helianthus type species with a honeybee

Solidago, of which there were a few different species

I would not like to come across this weeding


With the recent press and NGS fame, gardening wise it is funny how everyone now seems nervous about me seeing their gardens! There are very different pressures to London as my Uncle has to contend with rabbits, deer, poison ivy and marauding Germans.  He has a great ethos to his gardening choosing natives which cope better with the local conditions and wildlife which is a great ethos when you have so many great natives to choose from, and when so many alien plants escape so easily into the wild.
He also has these monster, and very scary looking bumble bees which loved the obedient plant
I was recently reading a book by Piet Oudolf, and am getting more and more drawn into his style of planting and the new perennial movement as it fits with my naturalistic approach and driving through Indianapolis it was interesting to see where he came from and how so many houses really are just built in the middle of a big square of grass with a few trees...hardly any garden at all.  However there were good splashes of prairie type planting  which was great to see, and seeing so many familiar plants in the wild was inspiring.

Chicago was the opposite of Indianapolis in that there were hardly any gardens to be seen, and I can imagine how so many people living there must be disconnected from plants. Even out in the suburbs where there was more space and empty housing plots generally these were just left empty or paved for parking. There are some good cooperative projects, but the lack of plants rather struck me. Of course they also have the lake, the vastness of which is astounding and difficult to me a lake should be something like the one at Crystal Palace park where you can take a pedalo out on and see the other side.

Prairie planting in the hart of the city, with great use of the borrowed landscape

Of course there was some good planting, and I was struck with how good the planting in the tree pits of their main avenues was...fabulous exotic style plants and interesting things.

So an interesting trip, and despite being an escape from gardens and plants some interesting things to be seen...also some fantastic art and culture (including a whole intact submarine) and some Ganeshas to fuel my obsession...

Wednesday 18 September 2013


After the big day we escaped to see family in Indianapolis where we messed about on boats seeing bald eagles and osprey before a short break in Chicago...more to follow later. It's funny to come back to the garden as England is now cold, wet and has been windy and the perfectly manicured and preened garden has grown again getting lusher and a bit blown around.

However whilst I'm getting back in the swing of things some more pictures from things at their NGS opening best courtesy of the Laceby paparazzi.

 In all Mum made 40 metres of bunting

 Gosh there were lots of people!
 Thank you paprazzi!