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

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Non Exotic Interlude

So we needed to add a few more goldfish on the raised pond by the bottom patio to give it a bit more impact. The resident goldfish there, although very healthy and seemingly amorous enough, don't seem to procreate successfully. More likely any eggs produced are promptly eaten or filtered away...

On our way to a nearby garden centre we took an impromptu diversion towards Wrest Park, an English Heritage property near us.

Friday, July 03, 2015

A Walk Through The Garden

Photos don't always make it easy to work out how parts of the garden relate to each other, so here's a short video walk though the garden. I need to be  a little less shakey holding the camera :)


Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Garden in July

Its the middle of a heatwave at the moment, and overall the garden does seem to enjoy the warmer weather, although the extra watering takes sooooo much longer.

Regardless the garden is starting to fill out - too much so in some places where those extra plants squeezed into a gap in spring didn't really have a gap to squeeze into! 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Pimp My Deckie

Some of you may recall us mention a challenge a while back to customise a deck chair, Out There Interiors are running a competition to customise one of their deck chairs, never one to shirk from a challenge we decided to enter.

So a few weeks back two brand new deck chairs arrived, and then sat challenging us to come up with something interesting, unique or "Out There". The rules did suggest that the deck chairs could be de-constructed, upcycled or changed and didn't have to remain as a deck chair. 

Our initial thoughts were to maybe take that to heart and perhaps create some sort of performance art, perhaps have a bonfire - a reminder of the large garden fire we suffered in 2013. But we thought that perhaps that wasn't really something to celebrate. My initial suggestion of a phallic image was also quickly vetoed (not fair, I was always quick good at drawing....)

So what to do... Well we wanted to capture our garden in some way, and with us being a pair of bloggers we were sent two chairs, to create one each for the competition. We thought that our two designs should combine somehow into a single image.

But still what should that image be, we considered a floral design, as that's summery right? and likely to attract votes from a wider group of people. But any of you who have read this blog for more than a few posts will have picked up that we are not really floral people.

And then inspiration hit, coming at us like a bolt from the blue! Mark has spent almost every waking moment recently potting on succulents for the patio just by the house. He literally has been out there till after dark, with constant checks to me as to whether this plant will look good in this pot etc

So with me having seen just about every single succulent known to man and probably a few that even the likes of Loree from Danger Garden or  Gerhard from Succulents and More wont yet have seen (I bet that will tempt you to read the future succulent post!) I came up with an idea.

Still with me so far...? Not just any idea but hopefully the winning design kind of idea (remember how modest I am).

So I thought how about an Agave, we could create one half each on our deck chair, checking that the two will come together to make a single image.

Agave 'Sharkskin'
So with a supply of fabric paint that's exactly what we did, and considering neither of us have done much in the way of painting since school we were quite pleased with the result!

And now the shameless bit, if you are on facebook please give our entry a "Like", Likes mean prizes! (press like on the photo they have uploaded).


Hampton Court Show Gardens 2015

Time to have a wander through the show gardens at Hampton Court. With the show having its 25th anniversary this year we were expecting a high standard of show garden.

The gardens were mixed in with the trade displays a lot more this year. Whilst I can understand the thoughts behind this it made finding the gardens a little trickier. The day was extremely bright and the contrast levels have impacted on the photos.

Living Landscapes: Healing Urban Garden

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Celebrates 25 Years

This year marks the 25th year anniversary of the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. And this year, much like in previous years the show was grand as ever! It is the largest annual flower show in the world and set in the sprawling grounds of Hampton Court Palace, there are so many things to see and so much to do that it is not unheard of that a full days visit is not enough to see everything. And with the summer heat currently hitting most parts of the UK, the temptation to just be there, have plenty of pauses, soak in the festive ambience, and just enjoy being there is very high!

We had a fabulous time yesterday, seeing as many of the attractions as we could, catching up with familiar faces and meeting new ones, lots of drink and nibbles, and culminating it by witnessing a grand fireworks display that ended the evening.

Here's a little preview of some of the things saw yesterday:

Lots of show gardens of course (blues, greys, and white are the common theme this year)
Peek and you will be rewarded
Only one had a 50's hairdo. One had a Madonna look late 80's
No wet Miss Sweden this time!
Not bad!
Lovely! And the colour scheme was an antidote to all those dull dark blue and grey palette almost all the other show gardens had
Exhibits in the Floral Marquee were delightful as always
Lots of plant hopping happened here in the Floral Marquee!
More spikyliscious!
Oh and lots of lush and leafy things too!
The lovely people at Stihl gave us an extra warm reception!
More show gardens of course
And a grand fireworks display to cap the day and evening off!
More on the show gardens and scenes inside the floral marquee to follow soon!

Mark :-)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Not Much Left Now!

As we enter summer and the growing season continue to progress (yes, even when summer solstice has just gone past) the potted plants under cover tend to also go on an exodus outside.

That includes the potted succulents in the koi shed. Not much is left there now. It started off like this during the winter:

By last week it was like this:

This weekend:

The only ones left are the ones that are either too small to make it outside and needs to grow on a bit first, needing TLC, or simply just waiting for a pot appropriate for it.

So where did most of them go? Those who are 'friends' with me on Facebook will have a clue already. Let's just say I haven't been collecting these goodies without a plan all along.

One thing that has piled up inside though are the plastic dishes that used to line them. Quite a nice happy looking tower it is I must say, very rainbow and very appropriate for the current turn of events too!

Mark :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One Word Wednesday


Monday, June 22, 2015

Jungle Days

With the summer months the jungle part of the garden takes on its usual lush appearance and so far this year it seems better than ever. We have had a mixed summer so far, some warm days and lots of wet ones too, as such the garden seems to be responding well.

We have a number of ornaments in the garden with the pergola covering the bottom patio has a selection, with carved African birds hanging from the beams, and some other inhabitants on the ground below. 

This concrete tortoise was a gift from my parents, my sister is also the proud owner of one.... (thanks Dad!)

Whereas this one is made from metal coming from recycled oil drums.

Trachycarpus martianus
 The Trachycarpus martianus by the bottom patio is kept in a pot, its borderline hardy but we have decided to keep it pot grown and move under cover in winter. It seems content with this arrangement, and whilst it would grow faster in the ground, we dont want to risk it if we had a repeat of the bad winters we had between 2010 and 2012.

The pergola is covered by a grape vine, as well as Clematis armandii, the Schefflera on the right hand side is now well over 8 feet tall and similar across. This seems to be growing faster this year, so much so that it may need hacking back. If we do then we must try and get the propagating technique right. 

On the other side of the old koi pond from patio the Gunnera also seems to have enjoyed the mix of rain and warm weather and has taken off this year.

The other aspect of the Jungle - The Jungle Hut had to be rebuilt following the fire in 2013. Now it doesnt look like anything happened in this part of the garden, with a wall of green greeting us from the verandah.

All in all the garden seems to be enjoying the early summer well. Lets hope it continues!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Labelling Solution

To label a plant or not, that is the question...

Actually I've asked and explored that question before. And now I'm revisiting the topic again, this time on a different tangent.

My memory on plant names isn't as good as is once was, especially with an ever increasing amount of plants we're collecting as well as increasing mental demands from work. On several occasions I've found myself very grateful of plant labels that are still intact when the need to know the ID is there, memory in limbo and the label was there to the rescue. 

But the idea of putting labels on everything still puts me off.

Plus the other problem of finding labels that are not obstructive to the eye and at the same time long lasting and won't fade away in time and exposed to the elements.

Then I had an idea, why not use a technology on hand already to do the labelling and cataloguing for me? The digital camera!

So that's what I've been doing recently, take photos of plants with their original label then discard those without any extra information on them. The images are then stored on separate folder and are also stored online so I can access the folders easily when away from home.

This way I can go back at the photos to find the exact names and ID's and I won't have to worry about labels fading away or being a distraction when looking at a plant.

The minor disadvantage though is that you won't have instant access to the name of a plant you've forgotten about, you'll have to refer to the ID album. And if you change it's planting position or it's pot/container you may have to take a photo of it again with a label.

It's not an original idea but it's something that's happy with. Now why did I not think of this before??

Mark :-)