Sunday, 29 April 2018

Boring? I hope not!

I was on one of the many forums I go on, finding information and new ideas for my tropical look garden. There was a discussion about the types of plants people use to get the effect. I mentioned that I used a lot of annuals. The response I got from one member was :-


It quite flummoxed me, so much so, I never even responded.
Since then I haven't blogged, and to be honest, I have commented that much on the forums either. I thought, maybe it is boring and people won't be interested. So I continued in the garden but just followed the forums.

I know I am lacking structure in the garden over winter and it is something that I would like to improve. But due to the frost pocket I live it, I have lost a lot of rather expensive plants over the years.

I saw a garden a couple of years ago that had a lovely Loquat 'Eriobotrya japonica' in it. An impressive plant/shrub/tree with very large leaves that looks very at home in a tropical setting due to its large leaves. So I bought 2!!! Well, it was buy one, get one free.

They where slightly bigger than I had anticipated, but once planted, especially since the neighbours, have had the top half of the garden's fence done, I think the look quite good.

What I hadn't really thought about, was actually how big they will get, but with judicious pruning, I am hoping to keep them an 'OK' size.

Having planted these, and bearing in mind how many seeds I have sewn this year, (keeping costs down)

I realised how much you can do with seed grown plants and how amazing it is that something like this

Can grow to something like this, that is taller than me (5ft 10) in just 5 months!

Plus, I don't have the hassle of lifting heavy pots or digging out heavy plants to move them into the warmth of the frost free greenhouse for winter. The other advantage of course, is, I can try different seeds as well as my favourites. 

But then this last year I did dig a couple of plants out...

Cyphomandra corymbiflora, was dug up in the autumn, although it is big and wide it is also light so easy to move.

A bit of a challenge for me to overwinter as there where so many leaves, every time you knock against it, it gives of a very strong smell.

I also dug up my Sonchus arboreus ' Tree dandelion', and Solanum betaceum 'Tamarillo', both have been badly affected by whitefly

this was back in February, they are on the right and I have had to remove most of their leaves and spray them to eradicate the whitefly. Which I didn't, but I think I have saved the plants, we will see.
Note to self:- read up on how to reduce whitefly in greenhouse!! 

Its been a tough old winter, I have lost most if not all of my elephants ears, there corms are mush. Yet the cannas I forgot to get out seem fine. We will see.

So do I have a boring garden? No, I don't think so, it might be empty in the winter, but in all honesty how often do we go outside at that time of year and by growing annuals I can bring in a lot of different types of plants, it might not be everyone's choice, but it suits my garden.

Plus I have my arid bed, which has come through the winter remarkably well, more in my next post.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

What a Beautiful Day.

Just what the doctor ordered. We had our first bar b que of the season today, it was 'lush'.

I uncovered the arid bed, and boy hasn't everything grown,

The Aloe Striatula, is enormous and even though I cut off two branches before I covered it in the autumn, it has now really out grown this space.

The Yucca Rostrata, is smothering my Aloe Polyphlla so along with the Aloe Striatula we will be moving both.

I think someone has been feeding my Agave Montana something that has made it grow even during our winter, it is enormous now, looks so healthy.

The Dasylirion Serratifolium is looking decidedly lopsided, I think that is because of the poison I had to put around it last year to kill the creeping violet.

Pachycereus Pringlei has sailed through its first winter

as has Trichocereus Macrogonus

My daughter was over so we decided to dig out and move the two Aloes, this turned out to be a bit of a disaster as I stod on the gravel the back board gave way,

I slipped and put my hand out and impalled myself on this, it down right hurt!

The Arid bed has only been constructed since 2015, but we used the wood from around the old veg beds and they had been around for quite a few years. The reasons for this being we weren't to sure whether we really where going to like it.

This was just after t had been set up, you can see just how much everything has grown.

So a bit of a 'bodge job' to keep it together until we can get some new wood.

We managed to dig and remove varying plants

and I think it looks loads better.

Some of the plants have been moved to the raised bed by the pond

more to be added later.

But a good start to the gardening season, I had a good day.

Friday, 13 April 2018


I am sick to the back teeth of rain, if anyone turns round in the height of summer and tells us we are having a drought and you can't use your hose pipe I will not believe them, the ground round here is saturated!

It seems to have been a long grey winter, we had sun one day last week and I would have got excited had I been at home, but I was up at mums.

So the weather forecast has threatened sun with temps up to 13C this weekend, so I have washed the bar b que (just in case) and unwrapped the palms.

My Butia, which is the slowest growing in the garden seems to have faired quite well.

I think wrapping it in a duvet in the really coldest period has helped, and its all looking relatively good.

My other Butia looks magnificent

as you can see the fence is still waiting to be repaired, we have the concrete gravel boards and the neighbours actually have had the fence panels in there garden for about 4 weeks now, not sure whats going on.

The Brahea armata  which I always though was relatively tender, seems to sail through winter.

I protected the growth point with a duvet and as you can see a new spear is growing away.

It seems to love the wet winters we have.

Compared to previous years we are well behind, I have my blog to compare, I find it really interesting to look back and see what was happening at this time last year. To save you looking I had already jet washed the patio and decking and it had been dry enough for me to treat the office and the decking!
And we had been having problems with Rats as well.

Back after the weekend to let you know what went on.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Rats!!!!! Again!

We have probably had rats all the time. Living in the country its to be expected.  April last year was when I last blogged about them, but they have been an ongoing problem, getting closer and closer to the house.

My neighbour last saw them walking along the high wall behind our boiler last autumn. I made a concerted effort to seal up and bait all the probable areas they could be nesting. I thought I had succeeded!


This is the front of the house, behind and to the right of the window-box and yes that is heading under the house!!

30 years we have lived here and never in that 30 years have they ever been at the front of the house.

We are fortunate to have solid floors and no cavity walls, so that hole has been baited and blocked.

K was over for the weekend and has helped me saw up loads of wood I have had stored behind the greenhouse. As the wood store at the front was getting low we thought we would carry it through and get it stacked! That won't be happening! As we where re-stacking the existing wood I realised that there had been some serious excavation work under the log store, yep the rats have something serious going on under there too. That too has now been baited, but we will need to run the log store down as I may need to get professionals in and the store, as big as it is may have to be moved!!

I really, really dislike rats.

We have no cats in any of the local cottages now, could be a reason why the rats have increased, but all neighbours have been informed about the poison, incase you wondered.