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 20, 2014

Fling 2014: Chickadee Gardens

One of the highlights of the Garden Bloggers Fling was to visit the gardens of fellow bloggers. This can be a strange experience as sometimes the layout of the garden or the size and perspective of the garden is different in ones mind to the actual garden. Chickadee Gardens is just five years old, although the garden feels much more established than that. Tamara grows a wide range of natives and maintains an environmentally friendly garden, that has been certified by the Backyard Habitat Certification Program.

Tamara's home is unusual compared to the neighbours, having a more 'Spanish' feel which combined with the planting, blue skies and garden decor created a wonderful place to escape.

Fling 2014: JJ De Sousa

I thought about how best to cover the fling, should we cover it chronologically, by location, type, by day, or even by colour? In the end we thought we would dip in and out of the various gardens, not having a plan as such but posting about the gardens and locations as the mood takes us. Perhaps something will remind us of a garden and so we will cover it. We are not going to set any goals, we may not end up covering them all, or perhaps it will take us up to the Fling in 2015 before we get to the end.

So without further ado the first garden to share is the garden of JJ De Sousa, garden designer and proprietor of Digs, an eclectic shop selling a wide range of interesting home and garden accessories. Sadly we didn't get to visit the shop too.

The garden wraps around the home, which is centred in the middle of a 77'x127' lot. 

JJ De Sousa

You enter the garden via an orange gate of carrots. Well why wouldn't the gate be carrots! Which gives the first clue as to the favourite colour of JJ!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Beautiful Experience

We just got back home from attending the Garden Blogger's Fling last weekend in Portland, Oregon and we had such a great time! It was a truly wonderful and unforgettable experience for the both of us and we give out our huge thanks to the organisers of this year's fling: Heather, Jane, Loree, and Scott who pulled out all the stops to come up with such a well organised, fun fling.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Morning Glory in the Garden of Sean Hogan

On our first morning in Portland, Oregon we spent some time perusing and relaxing in the private garden of horticulturist Sean Hogan, who is also the owner of Cistus Nursery located in the same city. The sun was shining, the weather was glorious, and just to make it perfect we were immersed in the beautiful personal space Sean has created.

We arrived in the city the evening before wherein Loree met us at the airport and took us to Sean's place. Afterwards we all went out for dinner but as it was well dark already by the time we got back we had to wait till the morning to have a proper look of the garden. I have to say even in the dark you can make out the silhouette of the beautiful plants and you can tell already that it's a beautiful garden. So come the morning, after a lovely breakfast we sat out to relax in the back garden.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2014 - Floral Marquee

Our coverage on this year's Hampton Court Flower Show continues with scenes inside the fabulous Floral Marquee!

Monday, July 07, 2014

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2014 - Show Gardens

We had a fantastic time spent today at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, catching up with friends and taking inspiration from the plants and displays at the Floral Marquee and of course the Show Gardens which were divided into different categories.

The weather was sunny and warm, simply perfect which made the day extra enjoyable and very conducive to admiring the exhibits and other features the show had to offer. There was a brief spell of rain showers later on but we were inside the floral marquee when it happened and the rain stopped just before we needed to leave. How's that for perfect timing?

The show was huge as always and there were so much to see but we managed to peruse most of it during our relatively brief stay there. As usual we felt we could do with another day spent there to fully savour this huge show but as most of you would know by now there is another 'event' we will be attending for the rest of this week coinciding with the
remainder of the show

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Lazy Summer Days

Ahh Summer! You dream about it all winter and when it actually arrives it's something to savour. I know summer heat can get intense and even oppressive on some parts of the world, which effectively prevents nearly anyone from doing anything outdoors from late morning till late afternoon. Here in the UK it rarely gets that uncomfortably warm even on sunny days where temperatures rarely goes above 30C. Okay, stretches of sunny and dry weather are not guaranteed here either (sometimes we don't get it at all, like in 2012) so when you do get it, it is an extra incentive to enjoy it.

Even Twinkles is enjoying summer in the garden
So far this summer is proving to be a really good one (by British standards).

Product Review: Evolution Aqua Evo 55

Our koi pond has been up and running for just over a year now, and so far things seem to be working as intended. We were recently offered the opportunity to add an Evolution Aqua Evo 55 UVC by Swell UK. Evolution Aqua have been developing a range of good quality pond accessories over recent years with a full range of filters and accessories for koi keeping. A UVC on a pond system helps to reduce algae by killing the algae as the water passes through the UVC, it also helps steralise some of the bacteria in the water.

The Evo 55 is simple to fit, it comes with fittings to connect to flexi-pipe however as we have a rigid pipe based system we needed to use slightly different fittings. Fortunately these are of a standard size so single screw into both ends of the UVC.

All our filter equipment is connected to water proof power supplies, although there shouldn't be any water splashing about in the filter house we wanted to be extra careful, and so far this has worked well. It was a simple job to connect the power to the UVC.

With the filters operating for a the last 15 months, it looks like we had the right approach in over filtering and under stocking. The fish have really benefited being relocated from their old small pond, growing well and also having fewer problems. Cleaning the filters has also worked out as we had hoped, not taking too much time as its such a simple almost automated process. At first I had to follow the instructions each time but now it just is second nature.

We are hoping the water quality and clarity continues to improve as the filters mature and with the addition of this UVC. 


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Ten Minute Blog

Gaz gave me a challenge if could do a blog in ten minutes. Always up for a challenge, I took it on as it's a good opportunity for another random mix sort of post, albeit a really short one especially as I was on a timer...

Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis
One of the nicest, best performing bamboo you can grow in the garden!

Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex 'Plena'
Grown mainly for it's spring flowers but well worth it for it's interesting and relatively large foliage too.

Peltoboykinia watnabei, Tradescantia 'Blushing Bride', and Begonia
Weeds most welcome! I didn't plant anything here on the periphery of the pot and at the base of the palm but much to my surprise the 'weeds' that did grow on it were nice ones and definitely most welcome!

Dicksonia antarctica
Some of the tree ferns are currently still churning out new fronds and I spotted this pair just this afternoon. It looks like a number 8 or an infinity to me and I take it as a sign of goodluck!

It's almost time's up so this will be it for now. So I can do a blog in ten minutes after all, didn't realise I could until now without resorting to being wordless. A miniature self discovery!

Mark :-)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

An English Deviation

We were on our way to a garden centre last Sunday when we spontaneously decided to deviate away fro  our intended route and go to a nearby English Heritage property instead which is Wrest Park.

Now this is not the usual sort of garden or attraction we go to nor gets featured in our blog but the interest in heritage properties and landscape is there (it's just that we don't talk about it that often) so it wasn't that hard to make such a spontaneous decision. And on top of that we signed up to become members too, deciding right then and there. Which means we must make an effort to visit more English Heritage sites to make the annual membership fee we paid worthwhile. Which means more period and historical properties will probably make its way to our blog over the next year or so (maybe...).

Wrest Park is a country estate with a grade 1 country house and a sprawling grounds with formal gardens and outbuildings, some of which were constructed during the Baroque period, reflecting the style distinct of that era.