Tuesday, June 30, 2015

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show Celebrates 25 Years

This year marks the 25th year anniversary of the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. And this year, much like in previous years the show was grand as ever! It is the largest annual flower show in the world and set in the sprawling grounds of Hampton Court Palace, there are so many things to see and so much to do that it is not unheard of that a full days visit is not enough to see everything. And with the summer heat currently hitting most parts of the UK, the temptation to just be there, have plenty of pauses, soak in the festive ambience, and just enjoy being there is very high!

We had a fabulous time yesterday, seeing as many of the attractions as we could, catching up with familiar faces and meeting new ones, lots of drink and nibbles, and culminating it by witnessing a grand fireworks display that ended the evening.

Here's a little preview of some of the things saw yesterday:

Lots of show gardens of course (blues, greys, and white are the common theme this year)
Peek and you will be rewarded
Only one had a 50's hairdo. One had a Madonna look late 80's
No wet Miss Sweden this time!
Not bad!
Lovely! And the colour scheme was an antidote to all those dull dark blue and grey palette almost all the other show gardens had
Exhibits in the Floral Marquee were delightful as always
Lots of plant hopping happened here in the Floral Marquee!
More spikyliscious!
Oh and lots of lush and leafy things too!
The lovely people at Stihl gave us an extra warm reception!
More show gardens of course
And a grand fireworks display to cap the day and evening off!
More on the show gardens and scenes inside the floral marquee to follow soon!

Mark :-)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Not Much Left Now!

As we enter summer and the growing season continue to progress (yes, even when summer solstice has just gone past) the potted plants under cover tend to also go on an exodus outside.

That includes the potted succulents in the koi shed. Not much is left there now. It started off like this during the winter:

By last week it was like this:

This weekend:

The only ones left are the ones that are either too small to make it outside and needs to grow on a bit first, needing TLC, or simply just waiting for a pot appropriate for it.

So where did most of them go? Those who are 'friends' with me on Facebook will have a clue already. Let's just say I haven't been collecting these goodies without a plan all along.

One thing that has piled up inside though are the plastic dishes that used to line them. Quite a nice happy looking tower it is I must say, very rainbow and very appropriate for the current turn of events too!

Mark :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

One Word Wednesday


Monday, June 22, 2015

Jungle Days

With the summer months the jungle part of the garden takes on its usual lush appearance and so far this year it seems better than ever. We have had a mixed summer so far, some warm days and lots of wet ones too, as such the garden seems to be responding well.

We have a number of ornaments in the garden with the pergola covering the bottom patio has a selection, with carved African birds hanging from the beams, and some other inhabitants on the ground below. 

This concrete tortoise was a gift from my parents, my sister is also the proud owner of one.... (thanks Dad!)

Whereas this one is made from metal coming from recycled oil drums.

Trachycarpus martianus
 The Trachycarpus martianus by the bottom patio is kept in a pot, its borderline hardy but we have decided to keep it pot grown and move under cover in winter. It seems content with this arrangement, and whilst it would grow faster in the ground, we dont want to risk it if we had a repeat of the bad winters we had between 2010 and 2012.

The pergola is covered by a grape vine, as well as Clematis armandii, the Schefflera on the right hand side is now well over 8 feet tall and similar across. This seems to be growing faster this year, so much so that it may need hacking back. If we do then we must try and get the propagating technique right. 

On the other side of the old koi pond from patio the Gunnera also seems to have enjoyed the mix of rain and warm weather and has taken off this year.

The other aspect of the Jungle - The Jungle Hut had to be rebuilt following the fire in 2013. Now it doesnt look like anything happened in this part of the garden, with a wall of green greeting us from the verandah.

All in all the garden seems to be enjoying the early summer well. Lets hope it continues!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Labelling Solution

To label a plant or not, that is the question...

Actually I've asked and explored that question before. And now I'm revisiting the topic again, this time on a different tangent.

My memory on plant names isn't as good as is once was, especially with an ever increasing amount of plants we're collecting as well as increasing mental demands from work. On several occasions I've found myself very grateful of plant labels that are still intact when the need to know the ID is there, memory in limbo and the label was there to the rescue. 

But the idea of putting labels on everything still puts me off.

Plus the other problem of finding labels that are not obstructive to the eye and at the same time long lasting and won't fade away in time and exposed to the elements.

Then I had an idea, why not use a technology on hand already to do the labelling and cataloguing for me? The digital camera!

So that's what I've been doing recently, take photos of plants with their original label then discard those without any extra information on them. The images are then stored on separate folder and are also stored online so I can access the folders easily when away from home.

This way I can go back at the photos to find the exact names and ID's and I won't have to worry about labels fading away or being a distraction when looking at a plant.

The minor disadvantage though is that you won't have instant access to the name of a plant you've forgotten about, you'll have to refer to the ID album. And if you change it's planting position or it's pot/container you may have to take a photo of it again with a label.

It's not an original idea but it's something that's happy with. Now why did I not think of this before??

Mark :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Blues are Looking Good

So many plants are looking great at the moment that it's difficult to choose which ones to highlight first.

But on my way to feed the fish yesterday I got struck by the 'blues' on the raised beds by the koi pond area. They are looking extra good and extra blue. Here they are...

Celmisia spectabilis flowering away with their daisy like blooms. 

Monday, June 08, 2015

Come Dine With Me?

Mark set me a two part challenge at the weekend, to build him a table with a planting area. Ok, so far so good, the second part was to recycle timber we had in the garden.

Hmmm well I know I do hang onto off cuts or useful buts of wood from projects long gone but do we have enough useful pieces of wood to build a table.

The table top was the easy part, we had several off cuts left over from the decking by the pond, fortunately we had 5 pieces roughly 4 feet long (about 140cm each) and several smaller bits. Ok so thats the table top, but it wouldnt be very impressive if it was just placed on the ground. A hunt in the shed and there was a decent sized bit of 2x4". Ok thats one leg....

Then I remembered we still had quite a lot of wood left from the old deck that is now home to the conservatory - result! enough for the rest of the construction.

A basic frame built from the old deck base.

Using a counter sink on the deck boards so the screws will be flush to the table.

Boards fastened on, its starting to look like a table.

Taking the rough edges off the old timbers.

A shelf was added under the table to support a planting area. This is lined with weed membrane to hold the compost in place. A free draining mix was used. A coat of decking oil was added to help preserve the colour of the wood.

Getting planted up and removing the excess membrane.

And ta-da! the finished table, all set for some enjoyable meals on the patio this summer. Both parts of Marks challenge were completed, 100% of the materials used for the table we already had in the garden or shed, all we had to do was add plants.