Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Plants in the Blue Pots Update

Funny how a post, like this one can have several working titles. The first one was 'Front of House Plants Update' but it was the exact title we used we we first gave an update last July. Then the second one was 'As I Weed at the Front of the House' but thought...nah! So went with the third.

So how are the plants in blue pots at the front of our house doing? Generally very good. A few changes since July but everytihng that is there now, except for one more recent addition has sailed through last winter fine with no extra protection at all. Being at the front of the house they must be tough enough to not need any protecting during the winter but at the same time reap benefits from what is perhaps the most sheltered outdoor spot in our property (south facing, gets winter sun, and gets radiant warmth from the paving and house bricks).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Upright Again

The Yucca desmettiana that lives on the grey sandstone pot on the pillar by the entrance to the koi pond section has been living upside down for months, since the latter part of last winter. It keeled over after experiencing days of strong winds and was left like that until we had the time to sort it out.

Last week was the time...

I wasn't that surprised that it fell over, seeming as it has a habit of crawling or 'snaking away' as it grows, like this clump we saw at Barcelona Botanical Garden early last year.

Yucca desmettiana
With it being top heavy it was easy enough for it to catch the strong winds and fall over.

It was reasonably well rooted but the way to move forward was to try to reroot it higher up on its existing trunk. So it was reburied much deeper. Cross fingers it will re-root and re-establish itself.

Voila! It's to one side I but quite like it like that!
If it does it should be fine where it is for a few more years, until it gets tall enough again to catch the strong winds and fall all over again.

For now it is secure. And besides Twinkles Is keeping a close guard of it!

Mark :-) 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ephemeral Beauty

We grow Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex 'Plena' for it's relatively large and uniquely shaped foliage. But for a moment in the spring you get treated to the sight of their pretty white blooms too.

Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex 'Plena'
And if you are lucky enough to see those blooms, relish them. Or even better take photos as those blooms do not last at all. They are so delicate that a strong gust of wind or heavy rainfall (or watering) can damage them so easily. And even without disturbance they only seem to last for a day or two.

So many times before I've only noticed they have flowered by seeing their petals scattered all over already. It's not always easy to time it while their blooms are still intact and looking pretty. So when I spotted in the two areas we have them still having intact blooms I had to grab the camera and immediately snap them. It was then or never...

Their blooms are ephemeral beauties. And perhaps the shortest lasting flowers that I know of in our garden.

What about you, any ephemeral blooms and beauties in your garden?

Mark :-)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Colour Above and Colour Below

Some plants are equally beautiful from above and from below...

Like Rhododendron 'Wine and Roses' for example. This was first sold a few years ago in large quantities as an all singing and dancing must have gift for mother's day. And why not being an evergreen, hardy plant with lovely bright pink blooms and deep green foliage.

Last week

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Favourite View

My current favourite view and part of the garden is also the most difficult to photograph.

Why? It is a narrow space and it's not easy to find a spot to photograph it well. Plus getting the timing right when the lighting is fine for taking photos is not simple either.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hop and Skip to a Pond Makeover

Saturday morning is usually a recovery period from the working week that's just gone past, a period when it's not always easy to make a decision on anything definite to do in the garden. Or even whether to go somewhere else instead or not unless there was something arranged beforehand.

Sometimes the best antidote to a cloudy head is an aimless walk in the garden first thing in the morning. And last Saturday I found myself wandering down towards the pond on the bottom patio.

Hmmmm....that Gunnera tinctoria is waking up nicely and looking good....

Which made me then think that it's been quite awhile since I last walked on the edge of this pond. And there are views of the garden whilst stood on it that are a treat by virtue of how infrequent I stand on it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Surprise Hit

Whenever we highlight certain plants in our blog it's not always easy to predict what response they will elicit. Some will be hits while others will get a lukewarm response (not that it matters anyway, we highlight plants depending on our mood). One of the plants that surprised us by being a hit was the Stachyurus we featured on our bloom day post a few days ago. We received questions and queries about it (not counting the comments on the blog). To be honest I don't know why when we only showed two photos of it, both close-ups of its tassels of blooms too. A rather pleasant surprise.

Anyway, we got hold of this plant at one of the HPS meetings we attended last year. The one wherein the speaker was Colin Ward of Swines Meadow Farm Nursery with a consequent plant sales after his talk. We bought it for its large glossy leaves with the late winter blooms not even registering as a bonus for buying it. 

When I did the bloom post I didn't have it's full name. I've since dug out its label from my 'label bin' and this surprise hit of a plant is Stachyurus praecox var.matsuzaki.

It's just leafing out for the spring, mature leaves will be much larger
Have to say I found this plant hard to photograph in its entirety even if it's still only small and in a pot. But the bench turned out to be an adequate back drop.

Stachyurus praecox var. matsuzaki
So looking forward to it fully leafing out and must find it a permanent spot on the ground soon!

Mark :-)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day April 2015

As a mainly foliage garden we never really have any moment wherein the garden has exuberant floriferous displays. And when I took photos the other days I wasn't surprised at all that our floral offerings this month are rather meagre. But upon walking around this afternoon I spotted that we actually have a lot more in flower than I previously gave the garden credit for!

Alas I didn't have the time to take more pictures, the chance may have to wait till the coming weekend. With today being very sunny and the warmest day of the year so far the priority till it started getting dark was to water the garden.

But better have a few to present than none!

Beschorneria septentrionalis about to bloom.
 The variegated Beschorneria septentrionalis remained outdoors all winter. Although it sailed through fine it's no longer looking as pristine as it ought to be. Blemished but very much alive. And now it's about to bloom. Hopefully it will send out offsets after.

Stachyurus sp.
Helleborus 'Anna's Red' still at it with its pretty blooms!
Think pink! Staphylea holocarpa 'Rosea'
These blooms are so hidden and so easy to miss - Asarum caudatum
We join Carol of May Dreams Gardens for this months Bloom Day! Click on the link to see what's blooming in the garden of other bloggers this month.

Mark :-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Catch Up

Although the past three weeks I have been mentally preoccupied with something else and spring 'happened' some time during that period it feels like there isn't much to catch up on. Nothing unusual but compared to some of the blogs we read from across the pond, spring growth here seems much later. But things will level up later on.

Two white variegated Aloe brevifolia and a baby Dyckia marnier-lapostollei
Two weekends ago the clocks moved forward signalling the start of British Summer Time, typically it was a rainy and blustery weekend hence we welcomed spring with indoor gardening.

Ahhhww! Baby frog taking shelter (or was it trapped?) from the winds
Then last spring bank holiday weekend it was only on the Monday that the weather was really good, most of it was rainy. Still at least it wasn't bad enough to deter gardening. Cutting back was the main activity.

Then pretty much the same last weekend, but this time mulching and fertilising came in to the equation. But at least new growth is much more visible.

Buds are just starting to enlarge on Daphniphyllum macropodum

Syneleisis aconitifolium
And shuttlecock ferns, Matteuccia struthiopteris nicely spreading out and sprouting....
Even through the dense fibrous trunk of a tree fern.
I was squeezing my brain thinking of any nursery near us worth visiting but it still feels too early in the season. Best to wait, otherwise a visit might just entail looking at pots of soil.

Come May, so many options!

Mark :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tale of Two Springs

The working title of this blog post was 'Testicles on My Head'. Gaz was daring me to go ahead with it, and usually I would oblige but at the last minute opted not to. But let me at least explain why which will also explain why I disappeared for almost two weeks.

I thought this Rheum bud would be appropriate. Just use your imagination...
Since the beginning of this year I had the task of writing an academic paper looming over me and although I was happy enough to ignore it for months the deadline was still fast approaching till it couldn't be set aside any longer. Typical me, nothing like the last minute to get me going! Although I specialise on haematologic (blood) cancers my task was to write about testicular cancer instead, so as to be both a challenge as well as refresh my knowledge seeming that the last time I got involved with anyone affected by it was back in 2008.