Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fine Disarray

Our top patio is a bit of a jumble at the moment with lots of pots scattered around as we start preparing for the coming cold months ahead. I have been grouping some of the plants, mainly based on where they will be going during the winter, so it will be easier once we get into full swing of shifting these tender/borderline hardy plants under cover.

I don't mind though, in fact I quite like the way this 'temporary display' looks as I get the chance to see some of these plants more individually, and in a different angle too, and enjoy this short, rather avant garde arrangement of plants. A fine disarray me thinks!

One of the plants I'm especially fond of at the moment is this Aloe plicatilis, which is one of the first plants I brought back from our very first trip down to Cornwall many years ago. It was a small, unbranched specimen back then with a perfectly symmetrical appearance that looked like a menorah. Since then it has grown slowly to what is now a multi-headed plant. A special thing about this particular plant is how unfussy it has been when it comes to being overwintered. I have been putting it every winter indoors, in a room that doesn't get any sunlight all winter and is only illuminated by artificial lights and it sails through fine, just making sure I keep it on the dry side. Most aloes detest the lack of winter sun and will die even if kept in a warm spot, but so far this has been an exception. It has stunted it's growth though but that's a good thing as it remains a more manageable size. I might be kinder to it this winter and put in a sunny spot for a change.

More, more, more! Another batch of building materials came in on Friday. This is our sixth delivery from this company this year (they have to be staggered as there's nowhere to put them all in one go) and they know exactly where to put things now with very little supervision. Quite fun to watch though as they unload the pallets!

Also, whilst doing a bit of cutting back on another part of the garden I noticed that one of the leaves I took off a Trachycarpus fortunei is '360 degrees'. Now this phenomenon is a rarity and highly desirable, but only really if all of the leaves of that palm exhibit the same trait, not just one or two like this palm had. Oh well, the leaf was in the way so it had to go.

Here you go, just a little snippet on what we've been doing so far garden wise. Winter preparation continues and I'll blog about it along the way. In reality, there's not much to do compared to how it has been in previous winters, and that's a good thing, and preparation is generally very relaxed this time around. 



  1. Great plants. I still love that Aloe. You are so lucky to have one that you can grow like that. Your neighbors probably can't believe the deliveries you keep getting. I know mine couldn't a few time.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. A fine disarray indeed...and I hope my fan aloe grows up to be as pretty as yours!

  3. Your fan aloe is amazing. I like to watch plants grow over the years, and I love when they turn into interesting characters! Your preparations make me feel a bit guilty. I am way behind on my to-do list!

  4. So many cool palms and cycads...Has the aloe ever flowered?

  5. I love the 360 leaf! And I agree, a very fine disarray indeed. I very much admire your dedication in nurturing all your tender plants through the winter, I wouldn't have the patience for it myself. The results of all your care are amazing, but I will stick to admiring from afar rather than being tempted to emulate!

  6. Thanks Cher! Most of our neihbours are fascinated with our activities and take interest in them (or is that being nosey, lol). No untoward reactions so far, and our nearest neighbours have been very supportive too :)

    Loree, I'm glad the Aloe has done well despite the lack of special treatment. It's a cherished plant from our first trip to Cornwall, especially the other aloes that came with it didn't do so well.

    Thanks Debs, once you get the bug to start moving plants you'll be able to do it in no time at all :)

    College Gardener, the aloe flowers every year, sometime between December till January hence it is indoors when it does. Flowering induces it to split and become multi headed :)

    Thanks Janet! Once you're settled in your future new place/garden I bet you'll start venturing again into more tender/borderline hardy plants, even if some are just treated as annuals :)

  7. Wow. I've wondered what you do in the winter. Sounds like a labour of love!

  8. Your plants look wonderful, grouped like this. And so very healthy too.

    Our trachycarpus always has tatty ends to its leaves. I imagine this is because we've never worked out how much water it needs. Any advice?


  9. I would love to "rummage" through all your pots to see what you have in your collection. I continue to be amazed by all the wonderful plants you have.

    That Trachycarpus fortunei is incredible. It would make great wall art if you could preserve it somehow--like embedding it in lucite or something.

  10. I don't think I'd cope with having to move and protect plants for Winter they way you do - makes me thankful for our mild winter weather. That Trachycarpus fortunei is magnificent. It doesn't mind the cold obviously.

  11. Hi Holley, it's not so bad this time around, the amount of winter preparation we have to do is much less than the previous years. I suppose practice makes perfect so shifting some of the plants have become a winter routine :)

    Thanks Esther :) You can brown bite your Trachycarpus leaves, just removing the brown tips and leaving most of the leaf intact. This palm is gross feeding and appreciates lots of water in the spring and summer. It is drought tolerant but does love being well fed and watered (but not waterlogged) during the growing season.

    Given the chance, I would love to rummage on your collection too Gerhard :) You've got loads of nice plants in your garden! It's too late to preserve the leaf (or at least make an imprint)...oops!

    Missy, your location is fab, just looking at all your exotic plants :) Trachycarpus fortunei is hardy in our location and is a useful backbone to our garden too!

  12. You have just lovely plants. I think same as Sunray Gardens that your neighbor are surprised after seeing this beautiful plants.


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