Monday 21 April 2014

Busy weekends: the April garden and beginning the big plant out

The garden is a very demanding mistress at the moment, one that wants more of my time than I can give and I have had a very long list of things that need doing. Fitness is also an issue and I am not half as butch as I think I am.... The weather is also very mild and everything is growing including the Cannas and dahlias, and so this weekend I have begun planting out all the tender things and some Ricinus seedlings. Last year is was so cold and wet which meant things sulked forever and only got going really late in the season, so this year I am hoping for the opposite, and by getting things out early I hope they can take advantage of the warm weather and begin to establish.

Everything seems to have survived, the only plant which is near death being a  Musa sikkimensis which was gnawed by a fox.

6ft Musa sikkimensis planted out with  big clumps of Canna musifolia around the base

I am in 3yr old Geranium maderense has just started flowering.....a beautiful plant which is currently about 3ft tall. I have never got them to flower as the frost always gets the growing point. hurrah! Behind is a Gunnera which I am trying in a pot
This continues the bog plants in pot theme with a Petasites doing better here than in the ground, although the monopeds like it...

A large pot of Canna musifolia and you can see it beginning to burst into life. It is a strong plant and you can see how much it is beginning to distort the pot.

New leaves of Stauntonia hexaphylla intertwined with a still flowering Cobea making its self at home by self seeding around the garden. fabulous alien flowers

Bog bean...

Large ajuga blending with the Forget-me nots which have carpeted everything

Nicotiana tabacum...leaves look rubbish but their flowers which are at head height are rather interesting

Eccremus which has a beautiful exotic flower....

The Tetrapanax forest looking jungly...

 I have about 5 giant Echiums which are flowering, the tallest growing about a foot a week which is great apart from if they are growing into the tree!

Planted out Ricinnus seedlings

Iris confusa looking so elegant that it is like you are in a Japanese woodcut
So lots more to do! there are still piles of Cannas to go out and although the Ensetes are coming into leaf they arent rooting yet....


Last weekend we were hanging out in Nice where all the other English people were very obvious with their shorts and white porcelain legs!

This was one of the most exciting plants I saw, a huge flowering Xanthorrohoea...

The new public park is working out very well, with rumours that locals are preferring to hang out here rather than by the sea. I *love* the misters which attract hoards of children....I would love to have control of the buttons which turn on the fountains.....

I dont know what this is but assume some type of penstemon?

Another new one...

View from the chateau...I want to be there now eating my tenth patisserie of the day!

Friday 4 April 2014

The RHS Great London Plant Show

This week saw the second RHS Great London Plant Show which also featured an evening opening on the first day which apparently went down very well bringing in a plethora of the under 70’s to drink and be merry amongst the flowers.

I went first thing on Wednesday morning with my good friend Peter who was like honey to the bee whenever he saw something labelled as ‘rare’ as he has so much space to fill on his terraced Kings Cross garden.

Going early was actually really nice as we were the first people in the second hall and had a nice long peruse of the Jaques Amand stand which was heaving my 11am...I like them as they have lots of unusual things and the hardy orchids that I bought last year is still alive so I must be doing something right. The Arisaema fetish is also lurking in the back of my mind and I bought 2 more, A. Concinnum and A. propinqum with a vision of a well watered collection in pots.

For the first time I sat in one of the talks on the upstairs landing on unusual fruit and veg (I had thought this was just a place for ladies to dose after a hard mornings plant hunting). I was actually inspired and went out to buy a Yacon straight afterwards....this is a South American tuber, looking much like a sweet potato but tasting a bit pear ish. I am more excited about the foliage as it gets to about 4ft and has big exotic looking leaves...apparently it is closely related to Helianthus. I also learnt about how Szechwan pepper can grow in the UK which was quite exciting (I still remember my numb mouth from a plate of Szechwan pepper and chilli with chicken garnish in Hong Kong.) However the plant grows to be a large bush/6ft shrub and I don’t have the space.  

Overall I thought that it was a good show and I loved the daffodils which I could see myself collecting in later years. I seemed particularly drawn to the expensive ones with flat coronas however hate the ruffled salmon pink split corona ones which just seem monstrous.  I didn’t feel there was much new there and a lot of the regulars were present from Chrysanthemums (I tend to smell petrol when I walk past this stand) to Agapanthus however it was nice to see the London Beekeepers have a stand. Alison, the regular who I usually never see although thought it wasn’t that exciting but Peter and I had a good morning. I also think that the RHS is still going in the right direction with the shows late opening and also things like putting the exhibitor lists online which is really helpful. Thank you RHS, keep it up!

 I always like a restio and had fantasies of lots of big pots with huge fountains of them, however my reality is more like a graveyars

We were rather taken by this Coryalis

Step away from the hosta display......Peter already has hundreds of hostas as he keeps them looking nice by dosing his whole garden in DDT every year, mine look nice as they shoot then get mauled by slugs.

 UG: Im not a fan of these monstrous

I do love a Puya in a pot

This was my one big discovery...Euphorbia doniii...has fabulous foliage a bit like meilfera however is herbaceous. Sadly they didn't have any for sale, however I will hunt this one down 

Spiky plant

Coral flower

This one perplexed Peter and I as a great plant or just a novelty? it is actually a clematis which is really small

I was rather taken by the color of this Kale as it was really interesting, could make quite a feature if planted on mass

Jeffersonia: another new one to me

*Love* these...but I would feel bad killing it


mmmm snakes head fritillaries....I once saw a field of these in the wild near Reading and it was so exciting

Finally an orchid we didn't know about....Peter went a bit gaga for it but on mass they don't look that special