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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

What's in the Box and Bag?

Through the years we've had blog posts before answering the question  'What's in the box?'. This time we've added a paper bag for good measure...

First one was something I spotted at a garden centre near where I work. It's not that unusual anymore but I was instantly drawn to it's standard habit and very fine cut leaf form.

Fatsia polycarpa 'Green Fingers'

I suspect it's standard habit is a result of being grown in a small pot for quite some time, and that the fine cut leaves won't stay as is as it gets bigger but we shall just have to wait and see.

The next one is something we have grown before but lost after a few years. Looking at photo archives last year I was reminded that I must have this plant again. It took awhile to find a nursery that had them in stock but search was eventually rewarded. Loree over at Danger Garden featured this a few years ago as her plant of the week with the reminder to cut it back regularly to keep it under control and be rewarded with the fabulous red stems. 

Rosa sericea subsp. omeiensis f. pteracantha (Chinese Winged Thorn Rose)

So what's in the box and bag? Two not so new additions to the garden.

Mark :-)

Monday, June 21, 2021

Two Unusual Gunneras

Large leaf Gunneras seem to be extra popular in the UK this year, and there are a lot of questions and discussions floating around forums and Facebook groups about them. Mainly the discussions are centered around how to tell the difference between Gunnera manicata and Gunnera tinctoria.

I won't go in that direction as personally I've found such topics tedious, however I will highlight instead two lesser known and relatively obscure large leafed Gunneras that are starting to get into the exotic plant circulation here:

Gunnera insignis - from Costa Rica and the photo below was taken earlier this year at Tregrehan Gardens in Cornwall

Gunnera insignis

Gunnera killipiana - from Costa Rica and was collected at high altitude elevations by Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones. Photo was taken at their nursery Crug Farm Plants and was also featured in previous editions of Chelsea Flower Show

Gunnera killipiana

Both stunning big leafed plants and much more ornamental than their well established but hardier Brazilian (Gunnera manicata) and Chilean (Gunnera tinctoria) cousins.

Mark :-)

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!