Our New Koi Pond

Regular readers will have followed the progress of our Koi Bond build, heres the finished result

Bright White and full of Light

As well as rebuilding in the garden we had plenty going on inside as well, one aspect was the new conservatory.

Singapore Botanic Garden

Whilst in Singapore we visited the botanic gardens, a fantastic explosion of tropical and exotic plants.


One of the key events of 2013 in our garden was an unfortunate fire coming from a neighbours garden.

Phoenix from the Flames

After the fire came rebuilding and our new Jungle Hut is better than ever!

Singapore SuperTrees

On our trip to Singapore in 2013 one of the highlights was visiting the Gardens by the Bay, with the magnificent SuperTrees

Monday, July 25, 2016

Suburban Jungle Maintenance

A real, wild jungle is almost maintenance free (or rather self maintaining, striking its own balance). 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pergola, Sicario, and Festive Lights

Funny how you can get inspired from the strangest of places or circumstance, like after watching a very violent film...

Last year after watching the film Sicario, I took note how lovely the pergola was that was featured on the film festooned with garland lights but with big round bulbs, rather than tiny fairy lights usually seen on Christmas trees. I won't go into much detail on what happened under that pergola in the film for the benefit of those who haven't seen it but suffice to say it was very memorable. Anyhow, I jotted it down as a garden idea for 2016.

Fast forward to June and in the midst of searching online for something similar to what we have seen on the film, we have received an email from Festive Lights giving us an opportunity to review one of their products. Lo and behold, there it was in amongst their products are the lights very similar to the one I was looking for, how lucky was that!

So I immediately requested for them and they sent them straight away for us to install and try.

They sent us a 15 meter bundle of the 5 meter festoon warm globe lights, interconnected with an outdoor battery pack as its power source. The length was perfect for our existing pergola on the bottom patio, to arrange them in a similar fashion as to how it was on the film (with a bit of slack on the wires as they hang randomly across the pergola).

We would have preferred lights that were mains connected as they tend to be brighter but this turned out to be fine and sufficiently bright running on size D batteries. Plus, with no wiring involved on to mains electricity, connecting and installation is much easier and convenient to place practically anywhere.

We are pleased with how they look installed on the pergola and how they illuminate the area when it gets dark. Makes hanging out at the bottom patio a tad bit nicer during the night.

Unlike the film, no violent endings on our pergola please! Or anywhere else for that matter!

Mark :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dusk in the Jungle

We haven't been that good at posting photos of our own garden recently. But that doesn't mean not much has been happening, in fact it's the other way around. It is summer after all and it's easy enough to get so immersed in doing things in the garden that taking photos gets sidelined.

Plus there's also a little element of being temporarily selfish too, taking delight in keeping most things to oneself and having a breather from sharing what you see, of one's own personal space.

But time's up now for being selfish and here's a quick look of how our jungle is looking like in early July, with photos taken at dusk today.

The lighting contrast was less than ideal this evening and many of the shots we took turned out blurred. Thankfully a good chunk still turned out fine and good enough for sharing.

We've been having so much rain recently, not that unusual for Britain of course and the ferns especially have been loving it! Much to our delight...

Some cutting back on the other plants in the jungle needs to be done in a week or so but we're mostly satisfied how things are growing so far.

Mark :-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 - Show Gardens

Our coverage of this year's edition of Hampton Court Flower Show continues with a look at the show gardens. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 - Floral Marquee

The 2016 edition of the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show opens today. Set in the sprawling grounds of Hampton Court Palace, it is the biggest flower show in the world with its many features and opportunities for shopping: food, sundries, and of course plants.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Woburn Abbey Garden Show

Last Saturday we decided to check out the Woburn Abbey Garden Show. It's been three years since we've been and being only twenty minutes drive from ours, a couple of hours spent there sounded really appealing.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

And so we embrace Instagram!

And we finally embraced  Instagram! If you use it do follow us @aegarden for more photos of our garden and garden adventures.

We're rather late to the Instagram party I know but do we really need another social media to be preoccupied with? But after having a look and seeing the simple format of basically sharing photos I thought why not? Seems simple and fun, what's not to like I suppose!

Photos we've posted there so far (we haven't been there long just to show a 'sample'):

On other updates, we've had a double whammy that affected our blogging recently: our internet connection went down and our camera broke down....technology eh! Both sorted out now thankfully, with a new router and a new camera. Our old router must have been overheating for quite some time before it gave up the ghost. Its white casing has noticeably took on a brown-ish tinge in the middle when we spotted it after inspecting all the connections. But of course it was the last one we checked which added to the delay of it all. Anyway, I'm glad it's just the router and we didn't have to resort to getting a different provider and new set of connections.

As for the camera, it took a lot of abuse from us as we used it in the garden rain, soil, and shine. Hopefully this new 'weatherproof' one will prove tougher and last much longer. We shall wait and see...

And back to Instagram, hopefully see you there!

Mark :-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Yay! and Yikes!

Yay that our Kumara plicatilis (syn. Aloe plicatilis) is flowering...in the summer!

It's not much and the display isn't spectacular by no means but still very pretty, considering that this is the first time it has flowered for us during the warmer months, not during the winter.

Love its coral colour!
It's one of the few remaining original plants we bought in Cornwall the first time we went there almost ten years ago. It used to live in our lounge during the winter wherein it flowered then, in tune with the inverse season in the Southern Hemisphere. It started off as a single fan with no visible trunk and grew slowly to how it is now by virtue of being kept in a pot. The last two winters however it lived in the minimally heated greenhouse during the winter, hence experiencing some relative chill when before it was warm and cosy in the the house at the same period. This has obviously re-set its rhythm and now it is flowering when it is supposed to be, in the summer.

Yikes!! This Yucca linearifolia is about to flower and the spike is growing really fast. So fast that I only spotted this a couple of hours ago and we both go past this plant at least twice a day, and so many times during the weekend.

Nothing bad with it flowering as such but blue yuccas tend to look worse for wear afterwards, for an entire season as it recovers from its floral display after putting so much energy to it. 

As this yucca is already well rooted and established in its spot I'll leave the flower spike be and enjoy the spectacle. Had if it's just been planted I'll cut the spike off so it can put its energy in re-establishing itself.

Hopefully none of the other blue yuccas will follow suit and flower this year, or in the near future. I much prefer then with perfect heads with blue spheres of leaves.

But I think I spoke too soon...

Oh no!
Yikes again!

Mark :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rain Didn't Stop Play

The weather forecast here over the weekend was adverse. A little disheartening last Friday especially as we were both really keen to start sorting both sides of the top patio, where the fences are that demarcates the boundaries of our property. The top patio is the last area of our garden needing a makeover, from its original state anyway. I suppose the conservatory built two years ago was a major change but it needed more than that.

Plan B was already in place in case the weather was too wet but we were hoping Plan A would still be feasible. Fortunately that was the case and the weather turned out to be good enough to get a lot done especially last Saturday. Phew!

From the house facing the garden to the left is a border that already contains some plants in the ground. They are on the whole effective already in screening and framing the garden. However, the planting is in a straight line, lacked depth, and you can walk from the side entrance down to the garden in straight line. A little bend on the pathway would make for a better journey. So we lifted more flagstones in the centre to create the bend and add depth in the middle of the border.

As it was, before we got started
First in was one of the four tall trunked Trachycarpus fortunei we bought earlier in the year to improve the screening.

The palms, subjected to bondage when delivered earlier in the year
Slabs were lifted
First palm in
A few more slabs out to reveal the new layout of the border
Then next would be the fibre stripped Trachycarpus wagnerianus at the front but that will have to wait until next week or so as it will be a big hole to dig. The palm would be a nice plant focal point in this border. Both palms are the two definite plants on our plans, we haven't figured out what else to put in the new spaces we created, apart from 'decorations' (to feature on a separate post).

The fibre stripped palm will be planted on that bare spot beside it, jutting out of the border

To the other side of the garden, opposite the border/fences above almost nothing is planted apart from a clump of bamboo near the house. This area usually is the home of some of our potted palms during the summer until the area finally gets planted up. That time has come finally. 

We've always wanted a row of trunked palms here so the next two of the trunked T. fortunei went here as well as a T. wagnerianus that's been languishing in a pot for years, finally liberated. Our largest Jubaea chilensis was also planted out, so no more lugging it in and out under cover as the seasons change! J. chilensis, the Chilean Wine Palm has a big girth of a trunk and grows gigantic however is very slow so I don't think we'll have to worry about it destroying the brick wall anytime soon. The tough trachies will also provide it some extra shelter during the colder month.

Again we lifted paving slabs, loosened and fortified the soil underneath them then positioned the palms as they will be planted before removing their pots which had to be cut off in situ. Blocks were then started to be built in front of them to form a low raised bed.

The raised bed will have grey sandstone coping, rendered then painted white which will tie in the top patio to the raised beds in the koi area. The palms will have better root run, all within the raised bed and underneath from where the paving slabs were removed.

Saturday was cloudy, humid, but dry enough to cement on the base blocks of the raised bed. Sunday was much more damp but there was enough interval in between light showers to put on the second layer of blocks. They had to be covered by the end of the day to let them set even if did rain during the night.

Next weekend we can put on the coping stones and do the rendering, weather permitting again hopefully!

Mark :-)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Table is Set

I didn't get to finish the planting of the succulent table the other evening so the following evening I finally managed to and here it is now...

And it was oiled too! Until I saw again what it looked like last year did I realise how much the wood has aged to grey. Nothing wrong with that and such a finish is nice in its own right too but I much prefer it in a deeper sheen like how it was before. Two coats of Danish oil later and that deep sheen was restored.

If you notice on the background that the area by the fence is still in disarray. The pot display on the patio is as good as finished already but both areas where the fences are still needed some extra attention, which it got this weekend...

Mark :-)