Sunday, September 23, 2018

Perfect Pots

Although we are keen outdoor gardeners we had often had a poor success rate with house plants, sometimes joking that rather than having green fingers we had the touch of death. This probably came from concentrating our efforts on the garden outside rather than those in the house.

In recent years however, this has changed. The main reason was the addition of a conservatory in the summer of 2013 and a new interest in growing plants in doors. Typically we have steered away from the more usual house plants, opting to grow several agave and aloes.

Of course with house plants, comes the need for pots. In the garden we have used a number of unusual pots or repurposed other objects for something more unusual. However in the house we have not always been able to find the perfect pot.

I'm sure we are not alone in wanting something a little different from the typical pots available, and neither are James and Eleanor at who fell in love with the styles from 1960s Germany. They have set out to bring back a number of these classic designs from the same factories as the originals.

They very kindly sent us the Fernand, amodern plant pot manufactured in Germany by Otto Keramik exclusively for them.

The Fernanda names means 'Adventurous' and features a very bright orange glaze poured on top of a light summery matt blue base as the glaze is applied by hand, each pot is totally unique.

Fernanda from
An instant hit in out kitchen, with the vivid orange complementing the orange bull from Habitat.

As well as a number of other contemporary interpretations of mid century German style they also have a number of retro pots available for sale.

A selection of the pots available
This really is a lovely piece, very well made, with great colours echoing the 60s, I'm sure one or two more of their pots will find a way into our home, and with prices from just £12 these instant classics will not break the bank.


Friday, July 06, 2018

Garden Miscellany

Looking through some of the garden photos we've taken recently, there are those odd photos that roused our interest but not so much to dedicate an entire post about them.

So it's best to combine then in one post instead. A few of our garden miscellany...

Not many gardeners nowadays would recommend or deliberately plant running bamboos near fences or in such a tight space (gardening shows here in the early noughties seemed to have the penchant for doing just that).

Well we have several of such and as part of our maintenance of these plants is to leave surrounding paving stones loose so they can be lifted every so often, to check on rhizomes bidding to escape. Any rhizomes that do just gets cut off then the stone put back into place, easy peasy!

As well as growing plants we also like growing koi from small fish and these lot were maturing inside our growing on pond all of last year right up until a few weeks ago when most were already big enough to be moved to the big pond. And with space created in the growing on pond....

We just had to buy new ones to grow on. Eat up and get big boys and girls!

The Schefflera rhododendrifolia we have on the first raised bed near the koi pond always does this every spring. Not all of the buds survive though but it's a fascinating phenomenon and keep the plant looking 'lush' rather than umbrella like.

And to finish this miscellany...

The first time flowering of this Yucca recurvifolia, fantastic isn't it?

Mark :-)

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Hong Kong: Goldfish, Flower, and Bird Market

We spent a week in May exploring the urban jungle of a city that is Hong Kong. Suffice to say that we took so many photos and even more potential topics about our visit that it's almost too daunting to start this series. But if I get the ball rolling...

Perhaps if I begin by featuring our visit to three quirky markets that were adjacent to each other: The Goldfish, Flower, and Bird Market.

I first heard about the Goldfish market many years ago so when we pencilled in a trip to Hong Kong this was one the first ones I've jotted in as part of our itinerary. Despite the name 'Goldfish' they sell so much more than that but practically anything that is alive and can be kept in an aquarium. So it's an aquatics market, but there's something very quirky about this living pet fish market...

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Post Mortem Embrace

As I was tidying and removing some of the dead plants still dotted around the garden last weekend I noticed this in our utility area (i.e. where some dead plants are also stored to be sorted out later):

It's like the long dead Cyathea australis giving the newly dead Yucca thompsoniana a cuddle,  a post mortem embrace. Perhaps it is giving it commiseration or a welcome to plant hades.

The Yucca came to us many years ago bare root and needing TLC so it stayed in the greenhouse for quite some time. Not long after being repotted it flowered which took up a lot of energy from an already ailing plant. And instead of re-rooting, all pre existing roots that it had rotted away instead. It was a slow death for the poor plant as it lingered in the greenhouse for years, finally succumbing this spring despite being given special care all through those times. Nevermind. And so the remaining trunk is now stashed with other architectural lifeless plant bodies in the utility area.

And speaking of demise after flowering, one of my favourite bamboos in the garden, a very slow growing one yet so beautiful with its bright yellow culms with green stripe on its sulcus is flowering...

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

In Beautiful Brugge

This is going to be a bit of a retro post, rewinding back to the 5th of May when we spent a long weekend in the beautiful medieval city of Brugge.

It is one of those cities that is achingly beautiful and truly lives up to its hype of being breathtaking to behold.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Woburn Abbey Garden Show 2018

On the 23rd and 24th of June was the wonderful Woburn Abbey Garden Show. A show that is familiar with us, having been to several of its previous editions, we always had a great time, plus it was on our 'neck of the woods' so we were just all too happy to go again.

To quote their press release:

Woburn Abbey is delighted to announce that BBC Gardeners’ World TV presenter Adam Frost and BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood are headlining this year’s remastered Woburn Abbey Garden Show on 23rd and 24th June.

Now in its 9th year, the ‘Gardeners’ Garden Show’ attracts around 5,000 visitors and has become an important diary date for gardening enthusiasts. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Happy Caturday

Twinkles, who will be seven this week.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Win tickets to the Woburn Abbey Garden Show

A great show we have visited before.
Win 3 tickets to the Woburn Abbey Garden Show on the weekend of 23-24 June, when the Abbey will come alive with horticultural inspiration. Remastered for 2018, the ‘Gardeners’ Garden Show’, headlined by BBC Gardeners’ World TV presenter Adam Frost and BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood, has become an important diary date for gardening enthusiasts. Set just over an hour from London in 42-acres of the Abbey’s beautifully landscaped gardens, the show offers unparalleled access to award-winning exhibitors and nurseries that have been handpicked by Woburn.  To win, simply reply to this post telling us why you would like to go and we will select a winner on 19 June. (please make sure we are able to contact you)
Show highlights include Q&A sessions with BBC Gardeners’ World’s Adam Frost and Pippa Greenwood, rare access to the Private Gardens of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, live cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef Rachel Green, free garden tours with RHS qualified gardeners, live entertainment, artisan foods, shopping, gardening advice, informative talks and a fabulous line up of RHS Medal winning nurseries.

Monday, June 04, 2018

The Garden in early June

May was quite a busy month for us with two trips away - updates to follow in due course. But with us away the garden continues to launch into its summer mode.

The bottom patio is looking extremely lush at the moment. We have been thinning out the grape vine and Clematis armandii that cover the pergola to get a little more light down to the ground. 

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