A New Project

During the latter part of 2020 we started a new project, making over the bottom patio pond.

Snow !

Snow may look pretty but we would prefer to see it from afar.

Will Giles Garden in Norwich

Fondly remembering the great garden of the late Will Giles.

Our Koi Pond

Regular readers will have followed the progress of our Koi Bond build, heres the finished result

Trip to Tokyo for the Cherry Blossom

In April 2018 we were back in Tokyo to see the fantastic cherry blossoms.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Favourite Plant of the Week - Monstera deliciosa variegata

Monstera deliciosa variegata

An easy choice this week, and a houseplant rather than one out in the garden, Monstera deliciosa variegata.

We have had this plant for a good few years, it doesnt get the really large leaves that some do, and came back with us from a holiday in Madeira, where they seem to be everywhere. We had asked for one at one of the many plant stalls in the Market in central Funchal, using a photo of one we had seen in a garden to explain what we wanted. They were all out on the stall, so the owner had pop home to get one for us to collect later. 

Monstera deliciosa variegata

This is kept in a North facing room, so although fairly bright, it doesnt seem to burn with the lack of direct sun.


Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Favourite Plant of The Week - Brassaiopsis hispida

It has been a while since we last featured a plant of the week on the blog but we really couldn't let this week go by without featuring Brassaiopsis hispida.

Brassaiopsis hispida

The new leaves are fabulous, and despite the cool spring are now racing away.  Still relatively new to cultivation, Brassaiopsis hispida is borderline hardy in our location, so at the moment these go away into the greenhouse for us.

Brassaiopsis hispida

Brassaiopsis hispida

Finally we have a variegated plant, which we are hoping will be stable as it matures.

What is standing out for you in the garden this week?


Tuesday, June 01, 2021


 We posted this teaser image on facebook yesterday.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

May at Alternative Eden

This time  of year is one of my favourites, as the garden wakes up and all the fresh new growth hints at what comes ahead. Spring has been cool, so the garden seems a little behind this year. But regardless of that, I thought it was a good time to share a few photos of whats looking good at the moment. 

The top patio is a little chaotic at the moment as a result of the new pond project. But I dont think ill grow tired of this view. 

Persicaria runcinata 'Purple Fantasy'
Persicaria runcinata 'Purple Fantasy'

View from the middle patio, the Ficus carica 'Adam' towards the right hand side seems very late to get going this year. 

View along the main pathway from the house to the jungle. 

The trachycarpus are all full of flower buds - with some still full of last years seed.

Aesculus parviflora
Aesculus parviflora

Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Schefflera rhododendrifolia

trochodendron aralioides
Trochodendron aralioides

Jungle Pathway

Enjoying just watching the garden "do its thing" this year as the pond project is occupying much of our free time. Fortunately the garden does seem to know just what to do!



Friday, May 28, 2021

Petasites frigidus var. palmatus ‘Golden Palms’

We have grown Petasites frigidus var. palmatus ‘Golden Palms’ in the jungle part of the garden for well over ten years. In recent years it seems to have suffered from drier conditions, but with Covid-19 enforcing working from home rather than the office the garden has benefited from more water as one of us has been about during the day a lot more. As a result we have seen it spread and recover significantly, and were rewarded with some superb leaves this spring.

Petasites frigidus var. palmatus ‘Golden Palms’
We must remember to keep up the watering regime this year!


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Pond Update

Theres a strange smell in the garden at the moment! We are having the new pond fibreglassed, and whilst we will tackle most jobs in the garden this is one to leave to the professionals. 

The pond was lined with insulated board, partly to help with heat retention if we cover in winter and also to give a smooth finish to the walls. 

The slightly unusual shape is more obvious now, This was a result of extending the existing pond without demolishing the entire structure, and also to keep the excavation away from the roots of an established magnolia grandiflora on the the left hand side. 

I suspect many pond keepers would have sacrificed the tree but it has taken us about 12 years to get it to the size it is now, and so the pond wasn't excavated next to it. I think we got the dimensions about right as we didnt spot roots poking through the soil where we stopped the dig.

The final finish will be black, but that wont be until later today.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Multiheaded Trachycarpus

Whilst exploring at Pinetum Gardens we spotted a rather unusual Trachycarpus fortunei, one with seven (yes Seven!) heads

Checking it closely it has a single trunk at ground level before branching into the seven heads, all roughly aligned in a row. 

As to what has caused this oddity, we dont know, perhaps the growing point was damaged as a young plant and this was the result.

What ever caused this its a rather unusual looking plant and one that will be of interest over the years as it grows taller.