Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cotswold Garden Flowers

A couple of weekends ago we paid Cotswold Garden Flowers a visit to see what treasures they have for sale in their nursery. It is owned by well known plantsman Bob Brown and although the nursery itself is leaning more towards cottage style of gardening they have an extensive catalogue of plants which includes many new, rare and unusual ones, most coming from exotic locations. Fortunately the nursery owner is an extensive collector of plants, enterprising, and always on the lookout for the newly sourced and introduced hence a nursery that has a treasure trove of botanical gems.

The stocks and what's on offer in this nursery are ever changing and you're bound to find something new each time you visit. If only it was much nearer to us! We try to visit at least once a year and catch them in some of the plant fairs they attend. Our visit was certainly rewarded and we saw so many gorgeous plants

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Garden in May

So how has our garden been doing in the merry month of May so far? The last week has been a very productive week for us when it came to getting more things done in the garden. I know on our blog then entire length of last week was dedicated to Chelsea (as it was ongoing then) but behind all of that we have been busy sorting out our own turf. 

Painting in progress
As soon as we got back from the event on Monday afternoon Gaz did a quick blog and then we started painting the jungle hut for the remainder of that evening. And painting was the main highlight of the week and a close second was actual planting out of newly acquired plants as well as the usual tidying up.

One other good thing about Chelsea is that it reminds you that it's time to do the 'Chelsea Chop', which the Lysimachia 'Firecracker' received
Our garden is not looking too bad at all, progress is relatively quick at the moment and lots of familiar sights are resurfacing once again. Here are a few more random snaps of our garden in May...

The painted lady is back! It's funny how one can easily associate or assign a gender even on inanimate objects and somehow it just feels right to refer to our red pergola as a 'she'. Well it's lipstick red and I'm so glad to see this pergola loud and proud once again, like how it used to be. Okay, side trellis may not be up yet but that should follow soon.

All the Scheffleras in the garden are busy flushing away and I ought to take a photo of them one by one. This one is the Garden House Schefflera rhododendrifolia. I think the lighting was perfect on this spot when I took this photo. 

All the rock daisies in the garden seemed very happy this year, happy enough to flower profusely. The ones nearest to the pond are Celmisia spectabilis.

A lot of our taller Trachycarpus fortunei are flowering this year too. I must try and take photos of all of them as it's quite unusual.

The Gunnera tinctoria by the bottom patio pond seems to be doing extra well this year, looking much bigger than it usually does on previous years and it's still not showing signs of maxing out size yet.

Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis 'Soft Caress' softly caressing a log of moss...

The jungle hut holding it's own right amongst the jungle-y foliage.

Schefflera aff. myriocarpa seems set to be multi-headed from this year onward.

Always brings a cheer to see these little bright fellows. And at this time of the year you get to know too which are males or females.

Oops, I must fish out those dead Fatsia japonica leaves.

Rhododendron 'Viking Silver' living up to its name.

Just a few images for now as a little update on our garden which will also set the tone for some of the topics I will blog about for the remaining days of May and in June. 

Mark :-)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chelsea 2014 Fresh Gardens

Fresh Gardens... for innovative and modern concepts in garden design...

Personally this is a section of the show that I have to quickly pre-condition myself as we approach it, to remind myself that this where avant-garde and out of the box designs are encouraged. To be more open minded and look beyond what meets the eye...

Funny enough I am a fan of modern art and contemporary designs and take delight in visiting museums and art galleries catered to such genres. But no need to prepare oneself as you expect it there. But in a garden show? Why not!

Or rather, why??

Anyway, take a look at some of what's on offer in the Fresh Garden Category, with simple and 'realist' commentary from yours truly!

The Mind's Eye Garden - Gold Medal

Our favourite of the lot and rightfully deserves its Gold Medal and Best in Category accolade. It's one of the few Fresh Gardens that actually traverses both a garden and a 'fresh take on a concept', and very well too and by no means an easy feat. This garden was to illustrate what it may be to be blind, rather than a garden for blind people. From within the perspex box water cascades over the sides distorting the view. Along one side coloured plastic changed the way the garden appeared. Interesting ideas and well executed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chelsea 2014 Show Gardens

The large Show Gardens are arguably the main stars of the Chelsea Flower Show. Okay I hear some grumbling out there that it should be the Floral Marquee exhibits but you can't deny that this is the main draw for a majority of those visiting the show, as well as those who keep an eye on the media coverage.

Medal results are out and there are loads of photos with long commentaries out there so I'll make this one simple. Without further ado here are some (or most) of them with a few simple commentaries from yours truly... 

RBC Waterscape Garden designed by Hugo Bugg - Gold Medal
RBC Waterscape Garden
We both loved this garden, with its beautiful planting and angular and architectural hard landscaping. The attention to detail was amazing and we weren't surprised at all that it won Gold.
RBC Waterscape Garden

The Telegraph Garden designed by Tommaso Del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz - Gold Medal
The Telegraph Garden
I must admit, when I first saw the graphical presentation of this garden I was underwhelmed but it turned out to be a lot better once executed in real life. So much so that we put this as one, if not our favourite of the show gardens. The attention to detail is astounding, the materials used and planting were exquisite. A very elegant garden.
The Telegraph Garden

The Telegraph Garden

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chelsea 2014 Artisan Gardens

Tucked away from the main show gardens are a smaller series of gardens known as the Artisan Gardens. These are all built on a tiny plot, but despite the small scale many of these really do pack in ideas, great design and interesting plants. The brief is to use natural materials in a sustainable way.

We were lucky with the weather, perfect conditions to enjoy the gardens.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A quick preview of RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Mark and I have just returned from the the Chelsea Flower show, so much to see and so many people to chat with. It was great to catch up with a whole bunch of fellow bloggers, nursery folk and designers, some we have met before and some new face too! As you can imagine we have taken loads of photos between us, and it will take a little longer to sort them all out, however here are a small sample of some of the gardens that caught our attention.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day May 2014

It's the middle of the month and time once again for Bloom Day! Here's some of the plants currently in bloom in our garden...

Euphorbia deflexa has been giving us an explosion of yellow blooms for quite some time now
This one has just started - Celmisia spectabilis
Dainty sprays of pink - Thalictrum sp.
Now this one is a little bit annoying. It's supposed to get taller and taller first but it barely gained height from last spring and at only 2' tall it is flowering (in itself very unusual for such a small Cordyline australis)
Towering Disporum longistylum
Lone flower from our Rosa sericea subsp. omeiensis f. pteracantha (what a long name, phew!!)
Good old Lilac - Syringa vulgaris
Relatively big leaves with dainty yellow flowers - Saruma henryi
Like little yellow spaceships - Epimedium sp.
And of course our Kniphofia northiae still doing its triple thing
We join Bloom Day and is hosted by May Dream Gardens where all the links to bloooming posts are to be found.

Mark :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Greenhouse Tidy Up

One rainy day last week I took the time to tidy up the greenhouse down by the bottom of our garden. This is where most of our succulents live in the winter and with many of them out already acclimatising in the garden now is the perfect time to give it some spring cleaning.
Their home needs cleaning!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Three Pokers

Usually we only have one a year...
It started with this one and we though this would be the only one...
For the first time, this year we'll have three!

The two others quickly followed. Now we have a threesome!
Kniphofia northiae

Three pokers, three times the plant fun!

Mark :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

From Australia With Love

And here they are, from Australia with love!
Tree ferns from Down Under! Seagrave Nurseries
Finally more tree ferns, Dicksonia antarctica have arrived to satisfy the ever increasing and persistent demand for them here in the UK.

There seemed to be a shortage of them this spring, because of some rule changes that bought about delays in their arrival. I haven't really explored yet what these rule changes were that caused the delays but it seemed to be about the way they are shipped here. Along the lines of less frequent shipment but in bigger batches. I'm not sure if this will cause any long term shortage as such as in theory it should even out but with the delay it certainly felt like it.

Several sizes were available, in this photo you'll see sizes from two to six feet
Eight feet ones

Especially as we're extra conscious about the supply this spring as we're after several as part of the replanting and makeover of our jungle area was affected by fire last year. We were hoping to get tree ferns last Easter Bank holiday as usually by that time most exotic nurseries here have them already in stock. Very few had any then. And we continued ringing nurseries around but they had very little to nothing in stock. It didn't help that we were after particular sizes either.

Pre-ordered tree ferns ready for delivery
All of them did mention about shipping problems, that there were delays. Nothing to do then but wait.

And finally they have arrived. First ones to receive their order was the Palm Centre. A week or so later was Seagrave Nursery. Actually their shipment only arrived yesterday and we paid them a visit today.

The sight of all those trunked Dicksonia antarctica stacked and grouped together were mesmerizing! We were both like children in a sweet shop, albeit the sweets were mostly just one kind but came in different sizes.

Gaz making a choice and checking out the height
Decisions, decisions!
Wrapped up and ready to go home with us
We made our choices and arranged for delivery. Two did come home with us and are currently soaking in water to hydrate them and get them primed for planting.

Thoroughly hosed with the base in a bag full of water
Another one left to soak for several hours
Where the tree ferns will go
Tree ferns will be the main planting and provide structure to the jungle area/fernery and with their arrival we can finally move on and truly sort out this section. It will be heavy work but I'm excited and can't wait to get them planted!

Mark :-)