Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kindness Through Ginkgos

Just a few days after the fire in our garden, imagine my astonishment when one of the builders summoned me from upstairs telling me that there is a delivery of plants waiting for me downstairs. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Long and Dirty Weekend

We all love a good, long bank holiday weekend don't we, especially if it's a dirty one. Quite literally on our case as work continued in the house all weekend. On Saturday as the builders carried on working and made more mess (the good and welcome sort, meaning things are moving on, yay!) I shut myself in the bedroom (more to prevent too much dust in the room really) for most of the day and just....relaxed. I haven't done something so lazy for a very long time and boy did I need that. Laying in bed and marathon watching episodes of Tales from the Crypt was thoroughly enjoyable.

Ginkgo with an aura.... Ginkgo biloba 'Beijing Gold' and Dasylirion quadrangulatum
Then later in the afternoon, once the builders have left for the day I had a sudden craving to go to a....department store! We didn't buy anything, not yet for anything that we bring home will just get dirty anyway so it's best to avoid any buying until the house is finished. What the department store did provide are glimpses of clean furnishings, and sort of a reminder of what a dirt free living would be like again and a glimpse of a finished product. Again I needed that little trip, refreshing and inspiring. And whilst we sat down for some coffee just before we headed home I smiled when I remembered how similar my behaviour was to when we were still doing the big pond project. When things got a bit too hard and dirty then we would often make little trips to nurseries and gardens to gain inspiration and refresh ones motivation.

Which then reminds me, literally as I write this post that we ought to reveal the result of the big pond project very soon....

So come Sunday, we did lots and lots more cleaning in the house. Although dust and dirt will continue to settle in the house for the next few weeks it's always better to be on top of it.

And come Monday, we decided to turn our attention to another place that needed tidying up - the areas of the garden that were affected by the fire.

Clear up of the area has been slow due to the house taking priority but steady as we go bit by bit on some evenings after work. The builders who will be in charge of clearing up and rebuilding the 'Jungle Hut' are the same ones renovating our house so whilst house work is ongoing then they have very little time to devote to our garden. We did say though that we could do with restoring at least some of the privacy back into our garden by getting some of the new, replacement fences up which they did a few days ago.

From nothing to something, this climber is ready and raring to smother its obelisk all over again.

Thank goodness the Magnolia denudata 'McCracken's Variegate' is fine
So some of the new fences are now up and we have some privacy in the garden again. The rest of the fences will have to wait for now as well as the levelling and finishing off of what's up already.

And the inside of the Jungle Hut has been tidied up already and almost ready for demolition. We have salvaged what we can salvage, cleaned what we can clean, and most important of all cleared out and binned as much as needed to be binned.

As for the burnt plants, some are making a comeback whilst some are well and truly lost. But the clearing out of the dead plants and organic debris has been very minimal until this Monday when we went full steam ahead in cutting back.

The aim is to clear out as much as we could, in stages and leave the plans for replanting until most of the clear out has been done and when we have an almost blank canvass again. The less clutter the more likely we will be inspired and planning will be much easier.

A very special view
So lots of cleaning it was but my goodness there's just so much to look forward to here! I've never been so excited to be so.... dirty!

Mark :-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Home and Garden

Yesterday I found myself deciding whether to start cleaning the double glass doors that used to lead straight on to the patio, or trim and tidy up a few plants in the garden. I chose the former. Normally I would choose the latter or any gardening related task for that matter over any house chore that doesn't need urgency. But not this time.

Macrozamia communis

Monday, August 19, 2013

Win £500 to spend on a LazyLawn installation!

To celebrate the successful opening of the new LazyLawn show gardens in Chiswick, we’re offering one lucky reader the chance to win £500 to put towards their own professional LazyLawn installation.

The new show gardens, which are located on Sutton Lane North, feature a range of contemporary LazyLawn that has been installed to inspire homeowners in to transforming their existing gardens in to a LazyLawn that will be loved by all the family.

The new show gardens are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and on Saturday, 9am to 1pm.

If you can’t make it to the show gardens, you can view LazyLawn’s impressive product range on their website.

To enter this competition simply follow @lazylawn on Twitter and tweet us with a picture of your garden and why you deserve to win the prize. Don’t forget to include the #alteden

Remember to make sure we are able to contact you if you do win.

Terms and conditions: This competition closes at 23.59 on Saturday 31st August 2013. Any entries received after this time will not be counted. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter. By entering this competition you agree and consent to your name being published and by taking part in the competition, entrants are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the Terms and Conditions and agreed to be bound by them. The winner will be selected at random from all entries and will be announced here on the blog. Please make sure we are able to contact you if you do win, as we will need to provide your contact details to LazyLawn to arrange your prize. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Gems of Chaos

The sweet chaos that is having one's house renovated...

Yucca recurvifolia
Chaos - that's possibly the best word to describe our lifestyle at the moment. Or perhaps the word 'disrupted' as we modify our usual routines to adapt living in a house that is currently lacking in facilities, and surroundings, both in and out of the house strewn with mess, dust, and building materials.

You wouldn't want to walk with thin soled footwear in our garden at the moment...
Who says the road to beauty and order is always convenient, neat, and tidy anyway? Heaps of sacrifices now will eventually pay dividends once all the building works have been done, with the end results of it we are both very excited about. Something to look forward to and sees us through as we currently live through chaos, albeit a self inflicted one.

So how extensive is the work ongoing in our house at the moment? This will give you some clue.
The patio nearest to our house, by virtue of being the closest to where all the work is happening is looking chaotic too. With plants living along side a myriad of debris, rubble, and building materials, gone are the aspirations of making this area neat and tidy for this summer. Rather, the goal for now is to just keep as many plants in this area as healthy and individually looking good as possible. Besides, once all the house work is done (and the affected areas of the garden tidied up at least from the fire we had last month) this patio will receive a makeover soon to tie it in with the changes in the house.

The past, present, and future of the top patio...
But despite the chaos and the minimal attention we've been giving the garden and plants, it's still wonderful to see most of them doing so well and looking good even if they are not displayed in an aesthetic sort of way (rather very functional). The gems of chaos I call them...

A pair of potted Magnolia dealbata
Brahea armata
Euphorbia 'Portuguese Velvet'
Lindera macrophylla
From bare, leafless trunks to lush in two months. So glad they flushed again this year - Cycas revoluta
Knickers the poser
An accidental border of exotics
Left - Farfugium 'Bumpy Ride'', Right -  Farfugium 'Argenteum'
The red poles will make its final appearance this year
A pair of Pyrossia sheareri
Brachyglottis repanda.....
Such gorgeous leaves don't you think so?
Summer haze...
Our priorities are understandably in the house at the moment but we're glad to see that most of the plants are happily getting on just fine despite the bare minimum attention we've been giving them. The warm, sunny days interspersed with heavily rainy days certainly helps and makes it easier for us in maintaining the garden too with the little spare time we currently have. 

Oh and a little preview....

Mark :-)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cornwall Up North

A couple of weekends ago we paid our good friend a long overdue visit to spend some time and see his garden. We've always had hints that he has a beautiful garden but he has been elusive in sharing photos of them before. Despite knowing him for several years now and having been visiting some nurseries and plant fairs together, we were none the wiser on how his garden actually looked so our visit was that extra exciting as we'll finally get to see what his garden looked like in the flesh.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Electrical Rationing

Oh la la! To live on just one electrical socket....

The renovation work in our house is in full swing which involves a full house rewiring. Although they have started earlier in the week they haven't finished it yet until other things are done first which means...

A random photo of succulents...
We currently have very little electrical power in the house. Just enough to power the boiler for hot water, koi pond filter, fridge, and one socket, but not enough to power anything else including the computer.

So no computer, no wifi, no tv (aaarghh!), heck we don't even have power to our cooker (which isn't too bad, a perfect excuse to eat takeaway or eat out every night!). This is only temporary though and we're hoping to restore some normality to our lives by the weekend (what is normality anyway?). And if all goes well we have full electrical supply again by early next week.

Had if not for this electrical rationing we would have been on full blogging mode this week, especially as we have so many updates to share including a visit to a most fabulous private exotic garden 'up north', which looked so good it made us feel more like we headed 'west' instead when we arrived there.

And thank you so much to everyone who has sent us well wishes. We're both absolutely fine and so looking forward to the replanting of the affected areas, rebuilding, as well as a few other changes that lie ahead. And thank you too to those who have been most generous to us in sending or offering us plants, your gesture is very heart warming!

Wishing everyone a great weekend ahead and once we're (safely) electrified again then the blog will be back to normal (again, what is normal anyway?).

P.S. This blog was written whilst within the realms of the golden arches...

Mark :-)