Trip to Tokyo for the Cherry Blossom

In April 2018 we were back in Tokyo to see the fantastic cherry blossoms.

Our Koi Pond

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

Singapore Botanic Garden

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

Colourful pots

The summer of 2016 saw the addition of a number of colourful pots tp the top patio

Phoenix from the Flames

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

Monday, August 24, 2020

Fascicularia bicolor ssp. canaliculata

Fascicularia bicolor ssp. canaliculata
Fascicularia bicolor ssp. canaliculata 

Several years ago a pot grown Fascicularia bicolor ssp. canaliculata was starting to look in need of attention. It had been part of the patio display we feature occasionally however it was time to divide and repot. Looking back we featured this plant six years ago, and its come on well since then.

Deciding on what to do we remembered that as well as being quite happy in a pot or the ground in good conditions, that it also grows as an epiphyte in its natural habitats. As a result we decided to see how it would respond in the adjacent Taxus bacatta tree. We have been asked how we attached it and created a suitable planting spot, but the reality is somewhat simpler. We left the existing rootball intact and lodged it in a three way fork in the branches. 

Several years later (we suspect over ten years but are slightly hazy on the timescale), and it is looking happier than ever, and is gearing up to flower again this year. Other than any leaf litter that builds up this doesn't get any special treatment. 

We have recently decided to try a small plant further up in the tree, hopefully this will establish in the branches too, but time will tell.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

An Afternoon At Luton Hoo

 Luton Hoo is a large stately home and now a Hotel on the edge of Luton. The house was built by the Third Earl of Bute by the architect Robert Adam, whilst the gardens were designed by Capability Brown. The gardens are often said to remain very accurate to Browns design although the passage of time is evident in places.

A view of the house as you approach down the long drive.

We had gone for a belated anniversary celebration, originally planned for April, world events had postponed our visit. But along with tea and cake, we had to have a look round the gardens too.

Views of the formal gardens by the terrace

Although a small pool there were quite large carp in the water.

From the formal garden you pass though a large gateway into the parkland

All round the garden are magnificent trees.

View back to the house
The garden has a lot of large cedrus

There are quite a few areas that hint of the gardens past, such as this aging pergola leading to a leveled area that is now just laid to lawn.

All through the wooded areas are elderly trees, some of which have seen better days. 

Another great cedrus with Mark for scale.

As the gardens are not heavily used by hotel guests we pretty much had the place to ourselves as we walked round. The gardens in places do feel like they need some significant tree work and some replanting, however for a 250 year old design that has been left relatively true to the original it is quite a magical place to walk round.

And of course the purpose of or visit was for afternoon tea!


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Yucca Potosina

When Mark arrived home from work yesterday there was a large parcel waiting for him. Usually Mark has full knowledge of anything we have ordered, and generally is the one selecting and ordering plants for the garden.

But unbeknown to him I had spotted an unusual Yucca available from Hardy Palms, Yucca potosina. Y. potosina is a Mexican Yucca from east/central Mexico, typically from circa 1,500m  (5,000ft) elevation so not without some hardiness. Its not widely available in cultivation so was quite pleased to be able to surprise him with something fairly unusual. 

Yucca potosina
Mark opening up the parcel

Yucca potosina
In the conservatory

Yucca potosina
Ready for potting on.

A large Y. potosina in habitat (source: Wikipedia)

Although not tender, Y. potosina is generally regarded as hardy to around -5C for younger plants, with more hardiness for more established specimens. As such in our garden this will be kept in a pot and moved for winter.


Monday, August 17, 2020

Conservatory Update


We haven't shared an update from the conservatory for a while, there has been a lot keeping us busy in the garden itself, and work commitments during Covid have been a little more unpredictable. Still rather than making excuses for the lack of an update, here we are with a look round in 2020.

Long standing readers will recall the summer of 2013 was quite an eventful time for us, both personally and in the garden. The garden fire was a significant hurdle to overcome, and with it coming at the same time as the house renovation lead to a very busy period for us. The positive from that year was of course the changes we made to our home, significant remodeling of our living space, the addition of the from porch and of course the conservatory that we added to the back of the kitchen.

This space, whilst fairly small (slightly less than 3m deep by 5m wide) has become a haven for us. a place to grow some of the plants that would not enjoy winters in a greenhouse, and also a tropical spot for us in winter. With the back of our home being north facing, we don't usually get too hot in summer, which is a typical complaint of many conservatory's.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Pyrrosia sheareri

Outside the jungle hut we have a selection of ferns, one of which is Pyrrosia sheareri which comes from Taiwan.

Pot grown for the last three to four years it has proved reliably hardy for us (although recent winters have been reasonably mild in comparison to the years before.

Pyrrosia sheareri
Pyrrosia sheareri with Mark for scale

The fronds can reach up to 60 - 75cm, although ours hasn't reached this yet, the new growth is a lighter green before the mature leaves darken with a glossy almost leathery texture. Apparently it is fond of a free draining humus rich soil, we have grown ours in a pot and it seems quite happy so far.

Pyrrosia sheareri
I'm tempted to try and divide this, but as its looking so good and it has a reputation for being tricky to propagate, we may leave it for a while longer yet. 


Sunday, March 29, 2020

A Blue Pots update

Over the years we have regularly returned to the blue pots at the front of our house. Our front garden is very much on the small side, and when we move in 15 years ago it was a completely baron driveway, block paved and devoid of all live. Over the years we have made a few changes - although the need for a parking space has always limited what we were able to do. A few years back we erected railings and planted a cherry tree. But the long term feature has been a series of blue pots that have featured more than a few times on the blog.

With visits out and about curtailed we thought we would turn our attention back to the pots. The succulents have filled out, and seem to like the south facing position up against the house. There is a radiator on the other side of the curved wall for the bay window which presumably leaks some heat over winter. That said the last few winters have been pretty mild,so we haven't had many low temperatures or much in the way of snow to worry things.

Mark giving everything the once over.

The Cherry - prunus nigra has started to fill out and help give the small spot some height and a bit more of a garden feel.
Three years back  and the plants in the corner by the porch were filling the space, however by yesterday they needed a little more room.


2020 - we spaced the pots out a little more.

On the other side of the bay window, not quite such dramatic growth, although everything seems to be thriving in the pots.

Trichocereus terscheckii by the front door. Often gets comments from passers by.

Aloe polyphylla

Echeveria rosea

It's been a while since we last blogged, work commitments, travel and simply spending time in the garden has meant less spare time in recent years, however we will try and not leave it quite so long until the next one!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Perfect Pots

Although we are keen outdoor gardeners we had often had a poor success rate with house plants, sometimes joking that rather than having green fingers we had the touch of death. This probably came from concentrating our efforts on the garden outside rather than those in the house.

In recent years however, this has changed. The main reason was the addition of a conservatory in the summer of 2013 and a new interest in growing plants in doors. Typically we have steered away from the more usual house plants, opting to grow several agave and aloes.

Of course with house plants, comes the need for pots. In the garden we have used a number of unusual pots or repurposed other objects for something more unusual. However in the house we have not always been able to find the perfect pot.

I'm sure we are not alone in wanting something a little different from the typical pots available, and neither are James and Eleanor at who fell in love with the styles from 1960s Germany. They have set out to bring back a number of these classic designs from the same factories as the originals.

They very kindly sent us the Fernand, amodern plant pot manufactured in Germany by Otto Keramik exclusively for them.

The Fernanda names means 'Adventurous' and features a very bright orange glaze poured on top of a light summery matt blue base as the glaze is applied by hand, each pot is totally unique.

Fernanda from
An instant hit in out kitchen, with the vivid orange complementing the orange bull from Habitat.

As well as a number of other contemporary interpretations of mid century German style they also have a number of retro pots available for sale.

A selection of the pots available
This really is a lovely piece, very well made, with great colours echoing the 60s, I'm sure one or two more of their pots will find a way into our home, and with prices from just £12 these instant classics will not break the bank.