Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bee........... Happy!

The bees are loving the cardoon flowers.

They get in and sort of roll around,

then become very still.

Love watching them.

My Cycas Revoluta, has had the most amazing flush. I have had this a number of years now and although it has flushed most years, it has excelled itself this year. It is huge, the fronds are enormous and for me it has flushed a lot earlier than it has done before.

I don't think I have done anything different,

I love my garden.

Variegated Agave Americana a very neglected plant, I occasionally water it as I walk past, but every year it gets bigger and bigger, I wish it was hardy, it would look amazing in the arid bed. I think next year it may need to be re-potted!!

My Agave Montana has just opened up some new leaves. I find them fascinating. The marks made on the leaves whilst they are wrapped around the central point are really defined, but, the amazing thing is they remain for years.

Quite fascinating.

My two newly planted 'spikeys' like where they have been put.

The garden is enjoying the rain, even though the work I need to do would be a lot easier if it was dry and cool!!!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Water v Rain

No amount of watering with a hose can do to a garden what rain can do.

I have decided that rain is the rocket fuel for plants. The pot above had been at the front of the house, since I moved it to the patio it has gone mental.

This year I decided to grow some of my Eucomis in pots. I am so glad I did as they look amazing and you can really see them properly.

Dahlia. When I was a youngster and mum and dad grew dahlias in their garden I hated them. They always seemed to be full of earwigs. But now I love them, and I don't have the problem with earwigs. You can get some really beautiful ones now, I just have to master the art of overwintering them.

The Paulownia is heading for the sky.

Stunning Cardoon, I have had loads of flowers this year, probably about 12, all the insects and bees love them.

The lower 'jungle' bed.

Looking back up the garden under the Trachy.

Phormium, must be close to 20 ft.

Evolving side bed.

The new Butia is still in its pot, I have to remove the large bush before planting it, but I'm tempted to keep it in a larger pot as I like the height it is.

The Arid bed enjoying the rain, I sometimes forget to water them during the summer. Living in the UK I assume that because its cooler they don't need the water as much. But you can literally see them grow after its rains.

Pond, don't you just love the Zebra grass.

The other side of the arid bed, so green.

In the process of dismantling the coal bunker.

Not had much chance to get out in the garden this week as I have had my mum staying. I do miss it.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Three Years Growth

1st year just planted

2nd Year

this year

Side view, just planted

2nd Year

this year

Its only when I see these that I realise just how quickly they are growing and how I need to put plans in place to raising the lid on our winter protection.

The size of my Agave and Yucca Rostrata in just three years astounds me, bearing in mind this is the UK

It gives me a big buzz, but to be totally honest, all I do is weed, feed, water in the summer and protect in the winter!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Sack of Coal!!

Just to the left of this photo is our final coal bunker. It was moved here 4 years ago when we had our bio mass boiler fitted. We put all our remaining anthracite into it with the plan of using it on the front fire in the winter.

So for four years it has sat here, full of coal and totally unused, so as it hasn't been touched for such a long time we decided to give it to someone who would use it. The lucky recipiant was our neighbour who has a solid fuel Rayburn.

So this morning my local coal man started to bag it all up

This is just half of it.

Then we passed it over the fence, as simple as that! Heavy work but its done now.

We are now trying to get rid of the coal bunker, but I don't hold out much hope, so I have sprayed all the nuts and bolts with WD40 to help, I hope, when we come to undo them and will take it apart later ready to go to someone or to the tip.

In May I bought two new cactus, Pachycereus pringlei and Trichocereus macrogonus, well, today I actually got them planted, without to much damage to myself.

I had to move the large trough at this end just to be able to reach to plant it and found a rather unpleasant surprise underneath the trough................. a nest of rats!!! We have been inundated with them this year, I have never known such a bad year in the 29 years of living here. I have no idea why, except possibly the neighbours who moved out earlier this year took there cats, so we now have no cats in the row of cottages!! Maybe we will have to get another one????

Wednesday, 5 July 2017


Don't you love it when a delivery comes? Especially a BIG one. So big I had to leave it on the doorstep whilst I went to get the sack truck from down the garden!

Then wheeled it through the house, threatened the dog with death if he cocked his leg on it!

 then started to unpack. I'm sure I only ordered a plant in a 25lt pot!!

Well the pot is 25 lt, but the plant is way beyond that, a Butia Catarinensis, double trunk too. It is far bigger than I expected, ordered from Hardy Palms which is only down the road in Bristol.  It is native to Southern Brazil and is small compared to Butia capitata (now B odorata) apparently the trunk rarely exceeds 6 inches width and 3 m in height, the span rarely exceeds 2 m, which is perfect for my garden. It is considerably hardy, good for me, and will make the perfect palm for the 'small European garden', well I hope thats me too.

Compared to my Butia Capitata this is HUGE!

my Butia, been in the garden 3 years now!! The fronds are stiffer, I hope it will get bigger but they are notoriously slow growing.

So the new plant is going somewhere here

opposite the Arid bed. Since my friends Mark & Gaz's garden from Alternative Eden was in the Gardeners World magazine,

I have decided I need to sort myself out. They both work full time and have the most amazing garden, I am sure they do lots and lots of work to keep it to the standard they have got it too. But the majority of there plants are hardy!!! I can't keep lugging plants in and out of the greenhouse.
This last winter was the worst for me as I lost 5 large bananas, a staple in my garden. I think it was because I had a new heater that actually kept the greenhouse at a steady 10c whereas my old heaters I am certain only managed 5c.

So to add to my Loquat, Trachycarpus x 2, Brahea armata, Schefflera taiwaniana, Chamerops humilis x 2, Phormium (of course), Cardoon,  Dicksonia Antarctica x 2, Paulownia x 3, Rheum,  Tetrapanax Papyrifera 'Rex' and a Fig!.  These are what I consider the 'big' plants, looks a lot but it isn't.
I don't mind a few Ensetes, and of course Alocasia and Colocasia. I underplant with Dahlias, Cleomes (love these) Cosmos, foxgloves, not very exotic but I love them.
What I really would love would be some bamboo, but I am terrified it would take off, my garden is only 13ft wide and I have 'OK' neighbours, but I think if bamboo started arriving in there garden I would not here the last of it!

So sometime this year I shall dig the majority of this bed out, I need to go through the soil with a fine tooth comb to try and remove all the bind weed (lol!) then replant, some of the plants will stay, but I would like this bed to be a good foil for the arid bed, hence the new palm, which has really excited and inspired me.

Watch this space!