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, September 12, 2016

Railings at The Front Garden

I was going to post about the progress of the plants at the front of the house but whilst collating photos for it I've noticed that we haven't featured the railings we installed in the same area earlier in the year. So the plant post will have to wait for a little while for a little railing interlude.

Now the space at the front of our house is tiny as most of you know, and we have to be extra creative and resourceful to make the area nicer and distinct from our neighbours. So far we have added several plants in blue pots and in September last year we planted a cherry tree in the ground. So far so good and we're not doing too bad in introducing plants to the limited space that we've got without sacrificing parking. However a little push further with jazzing up the front never did harm.

We've been considering putting up railings for a long time but never managed to until recently. Mainly because we weren't sure how our next door neighbour will react at the restriction of having railings on one side of their parking space. Second is the effort of putting one, as it will involve digging, chipping away at solid concrete, and cutting metal. But as if we're not used to hard work...

But it's our place so why be so bothered with our neighbour's thoughts when the railings will be within our boundaries? Also, railings will nicely demarcate our property, will be sympathetic to the age and style of our house (1930's), and another way of adding that 'extra' without using up too much space.

So one spring weekend we just went ahead and installed the railings.

We're really pleased with the end result and even Knickers seems to approve!

Going back to the cherry tree, we were sent a solar garden uplighter by the kind folks from The Solar Centre to try and review. First of all, the appeal of a solar light was there as it won't involve wiring back into the mains of the house hence installation will be quick, in minutes actually. 

The solar panel itself is discrete and almost disappears amongst the pots and the light itself looks contemporary. For the size of the light, it is powerful enough to softly illuminate the cherry tree once dusk hits for a good few hours. 

The verdict is still out how long will it light up once the very short length of daytime in winter fully kicks in. But more likely it will not be long as we're noticing it shortening already as it is. Still we think it's a great product for soft illumination and with a performance a very good improvement from your usual solar lighting.

The completed railings (taken back in March)
And back again to the railings, much to our pleasant surprise our neighbour was the first one to complement our new addition. Even their visiting parents went out of their way to talk to us and complement how it enhances our house. Other neighbours too said the same. 

Up next soon will be an update on the plants at the front of our house!

Mark :-)

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

A Different Style of Stripping

It's been over three years ago since we gave one of our Trachycarpus wagnerianus a full Brazilian treatment, how time flies!

Here's how it is looking now...

And a few more angles of the same plant...

We haven't removed any more fibres and old leaf bases since then and it is due some soon, which we'll hopefully tackle in the next few days (not that it's a big job!).

However, a couple of month ago we spotted this in a nearby garden centre...

We think it looks good too, a different style of trachycarpus stripping. It looks very 'tropical palm' as well.

There is definitely more than one way to skin a ..... trachy!

Mark :-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Colour on the Top Patio

Last year I created a mixed display of mainly succulents in pots on the top patio. I really liked the effect that was achieved and had so much fun preparing the display. Inspired by that I decided to do something  similar again. This time bigger, better, more colourful, more vibrant, and more dramatic

I love it! I'm in love with it!! And I really, really enjoyed making the display and looking at it!

Monday, August 01, 2016

A Quick Peek...

...at some of the succulents that didn't make it out of the greenhouse this year.

The top patio is once again home to a succulent display, similar to how we did it last year (albeit on 'steroids' this year, coming up on a post soon). And because we haven't really bought that many plants this year, at least compared to our usual rate of plant buying in previous years, I used a lot of what I had already to make the display.

Still a few didn't make it out for various reasons. Here's a quick peek:

Some of the succulents are either too small to be displayed this year, or extras that don't need to be out for now. As you can see at the middle shelf, we also have an excess stock of pots that didn't make it out this year.

After just saying we haven't bought that many plants, the above two photos are new purchases. I couldn't resist picking up the possibly Aloe ferox above because of its vivid red spines. Not that I need another one but it was hard to resist!

A closer look at some of our small succulents...

and finally...

The sole survivor of a batch of three. It's looking promising and has put on a lot of growth this summer. Aloe 'Hercules' - thanks Gerhard!

Mark :-)

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.