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!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cut and Paste

One of the things we have resolved to do more this year is to use as much of the existing plants we have already for planting out rather than buy more. Easier said than done as resistance can be difficult when visiting nurseries. But doing so frees up storage space and efforts when preparing the garden for the winter months.

There are several areas in the garden that will need some replanting and plant editing, which includes the first raised bed in the koi pond area. In this bed was a rather sprawling Kniphofia caulescens. It's a good looking poker with blue leaves but they tend to only look good for a couple of months or so. The rest of the year it looks scruffy as it accumulates dead leaves which takes a long time to tidy up, plus the dead leaves seems to harbor aphids in our garden. With time being a premium enough as it is for us, it was time to let it go and be replaced with an equally good looking and much less maintenance plant. And that plant was going to be one of our existing potted Yucca rostrata.

I didn't get the chance to take a photo of the Kniphofia clump before I dug it up but to give you an idea on what it looked like pre-removal is this clump of the same plant on the third raised bed:

The plant that was dug up was a much bigger clump so took awhile to be removed, but finally after all that a suitable hole was prepared:

Ready to home this little beauty:

As it was going on a raised bed with good drainage already I didn't add extra grit on the planting hole. And based on our experience Yucca rostrata does very well on ordinary garden soil with no extra modification as long as the area doesn't get waterlogged. Also it's best not to tease out the roots when planting as they are brittle, breaking very easily if prodded too much which can set back the plant.

And voila!

A new Yucca for a predominantly blue leafed and yucca bed! A relatively quick cut and paste job.

Mark :-)

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Plastic Fantastic

A recent post on Piece of Eden wherein a plastic flower was mentioned has reminded me of our recent stopover at Beijing Airport en route to Tokyo. In the central departure area past the security there is this garden:

It looks cool and a relaxing enough spot and not that dissimilar to some of the gardens found within Changi Airport in Singapore.

On closer scrutiny though you quickly realize that the only things that were not 'plastic' (or inorganic more appropriately) were the gold fish and the water. Yep, all plants were plastic on the main area. But strangely at the back of the display were real ones.

Still it's an oasis in a place that can get chaotic during peak times. And to round up this quick post, a sign that made me smile:

Mark :-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Déjà vu Marché aux Fleurs

Supposed to be out and about in the garden today but alas rain has stopped play and I'm indoors now keeping myself dry.

So what else to do? Reminisce and write about it! I make it sound a bit negative but it is a wonderful thing to do, especially life can get so fast paced that looking back can become very tricky...

Not today anyway.

Only a few days ago we featured our visit to Marché aux Fleurs on our most recent visit to lovely Paris. Around the same time Loree of Danger Garden has featured it too. Now is my time to wade in as I share my take of this central Paris plant and flower market!

First things first, before we actually got in to the market we checked out one of the quirky knick knack shops we passed along en route and spotted these mini succulents and pots, nice! Forgot the name of the shop though, oops!

Although we can bring plants across the channel, we went away without buying any of these cute beauties. Now on to the market.

With spring finally descending upon Paris then (with London remarkably behind), there were lots of colour already going on in the market. Ahh Paris in the spring time!

And once in awhile you have to take customary 'pose with the plants' shot, with Gaz for scale.

Walking through the pathway I can't help but admire these vistas...

My favourite though were the stalls selling exotic plants and succulents.

I was intending to bring one of these back with us but alas we didn't get the chance to pass by here again the next day, Alocasia 'Stingray'.

Hopefully they'll still have some available on our next visit!

Mark :-)

Friday, April 27, 2018

Yorkshire Break

As mentioned earlier in the week we had a trip up to Yorkshire last weekend catching up with friends and exploring a little part of this county.

The first stop was the village of Saltaire. Saltaire is a Victorian model village built by mill owner Titus Salt. Salt moved his factories out of the nearby industrial city of Bradford, he wanted a healthier life for his employees and built a huge new factory, homes, schools and other facilities for the people that moved there. The village is now a UNESCO world heritage site. The name of the village is a combination of the founder's surname and the name of the river


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Is it Safe to Say Spring is Here?

This time of the year everything is bursting back into life. Its been another slow year for Spring to arrive, looking back into the archives we have complained about late springs before, so maybe its not really late and we are just impatient!

Now we are a few weeks past the clocks going forward the evenings are also light and bright, and we can actually spend some time in the garden after work. Although usually tempted to find a job to do it is an enjoyable way to just wind down after three quarters of an hour on the train.

So whats looking good in the garden now...

Pieris japonica
The bright pink flush on this Pieris appears on a few other plants and to the casual observer looks like flowers. Almost like the flowers on this potted Rhododendron, (potted to give it the soil conditions it likes, our garden is just a little too alkaline for rhododendrons to do well).

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Treeferns Awaking

With spring feeling like it has arrived here in the UK the garden is breaking its winter slumber. Admittedly its a little delayed on a typical year, but at least its finally here!
My favourite new growth is nearly always are the tree ferns, with Dicksonia antarctica being the most showy at the moment. The other less hardy tree ferns are waking, but are still in the greenhouse, although they really should come out soon.

Dicksonia antarctica
Dicksonia antarctica
Dicksonia antarctica
Dicksonia antarctica

As regular readers will know we have a tree fern patch in the jungle area of the garden, and this area is bursting with the new life. Currently the area is easy to navigate as we have tidied up and removed last years fronds, the snow and frosts had browned them off this year. With the fronds removed we can actually walk down the pathways, which will soon be tricky when the crosiers are fully extended. Still for now it makes enjoying the new knuckles an easy and rewarding task!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Yorkshire Revisited

Almost five years ago we wrote about friends garden in Yorkshire. Well last weekend we went "up North" for a visit and although the garden is only just waking up in April it was a delight to revisit this gem.

An old beach tree that was removed due to disease lives on as these characters

As you enter the garden a greenhouse that most of us would be very proud of greats you. full of tempting exotics tucked away for winter periods. Bananas were just starting to wake up. Unfortunately I go carried away in talking about the plants to actually remember to take a photo inside.


The stone cottage would typically be surrounded by cottage style plantings, however a backbone of hardy yuccas and tetrapanax and an understory of far more interesting plants provide a much more interesting feel.

A brave cat surveys her territory

The garden has a great addition with a valley style portion to the side of the house, with a covering of large deciduous natives, the exotics give a Cornish feel to this garden. Something we remarked on in our previous blog.

 The dappled spring sunlight filtering through a stand of bamboo.

One of the other garden kitties "helping out" by stripping the bark
Once again we were delighted to visit our friends garden, and we promise not to leave it quite so long for a follow up.