Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer in the White Room

The white room, you know, that room at the back of our house overlooking the garden? I must confess that up to now I'm still not comfortable using the word 'conservatory',  I'm not used to it and it feels weird saying but it is what it is...

Astrophytum myriostigma
Anyway, there are some summer plant activities going on in there too. Not as dramatic as the ones happening outside but active enough to be noticeable.

The Agave 'Cornelius' is busy putting out new leaves
The Pachira aquatica is growing away nicely looking very lush, with leaves not too dissimilar to my beloved Scheffleras
The Chamaedorea radicalis have been sending out flower spikes
Although one has been very sneaky...

Neither of us have noticed it before until I took the photo of the Bishop's Cap above, looked at the photo and noticed something strange in the midst of it all.

It turns out that one of the aerial roots of the Philodendron 'Xanadu' beside the cactus have leaped over its pot and has been inching its way out, perhaps over the past few days, or even weeks.

Triffid alert! A plant trying to invade the space!!

Philodendron 'Xanadu'
Good fun though! I'll leave it be and observe how far it will go or where it will end up. I'll leave it alone and will only start to interfere once it goes somewhere totally insensible (like the side of the door, or across the floor, etc). As for the plant itself, it is looking fine and dandy and enjoying its spot in the white room.

As for outside, well you won't be able to help but notice the very bright blooms of both the Eremurus and Kniphofia thomsonii var. thomsonii on the first raised bed, giving us a wonderful summer treat of hot orange and yellow colours!

Anyway, keep enjoying summer (we are!) and play well outside!

Mark :-)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Views From The Jungle Hut

The weather has been really nice here for the past few days, very summery! And one of our favourite places to sit in the garden and soak in the good weather (albeit in the the shade) is the jungle hut.

We love sitting in it, even more so than it's previous incarnation. Perhaps because it is much bigger than it used to be and we feel the seating layout is much better?

What is it like to sit in our jungle hut (more a veranda really) and what views do we have from there? At the moment they look like this:

Firmiana simplex  the Chinese parasol tree
Ficus carica 'Ice Crystal' and Fatsia japonica 'spiders web'
Staphylea holocarpa rosea

Schefflera and tree ferns

We're set to get some heavy rains from tonight lasting till most of the Saturday. Not complaining though as our garden needs the water after a string of dry and sunny days. 

But even on rainy days we enjoy hanging out in there, remaining dry and comfy as the rest of the garden gets wet. We just imagine that we're sheltering from the monsoon rains in a tropical rainforest!

Mark :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Knickers guarding bamboo trimmings

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scheffleras in The Garden

We grow several Scheffleras in the garden and feature them quite regularly but not always as a group. I was meaning to feature them collectively as they were all flushing away in the spring (which can be very eye catching) but never managed to do so (one did get extra attention though!), mainly because I didn't get the chance to photograph them all during that period. Quite a lot of them too have attained significant heights since they were planted which makes it extra tricky to take photos of their new flush without getting the ladders out.

Anyway, here are some of the Scheffleras growing in our garden and how they are looking at the moment:

Schefflera kornasii
Schefflera kornasii with Fatsia japonica and Schefflera rhododendrifolia in the foreground
Schefflera aff. myriocarpa
Schefflera aff. myriocarpa
Schefflera aff. chapana
Schefflera aff. chapana
Schefflera aff. chapana
Schefflera aff. chapana (same specimen as above)
Schefflera rhododendrifolia (Tregrehan) on first raised bed
Schefflera rhododendrifolia (Tregrehan) in the first raised bed
Schefflera rhododendrifolia (Garden House)
Schefflera rhododendrifolia (Garden House)
The two Schefflera rhododendrifolia above, as the name says are supposed to be the same, with the former from a rooted cutting of a plant growing at Tregrehan while the latter grown from seed from the specimen at the Garden House. I know that juvenile and mature leaves can differ but what puzzles me is that, if they are indeed the same plants then why are the colour of the new flush of leaves different? Hmmm...

Schefflera taiwaniana in third raised bed
Schefflera taiwaniana in the third raised bed
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi on third raised bed
Remember the Schefflera delavayi above? It featured a few weeks ago due to the gradient of the new flush of leaves, which most of them have achieved their final size for the season. Still looks good though I think and the leaves are certainly not dainty nor delicate.

Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Schefflera rhododendrifolia on the middle patio
Schefflera alpina (large leaf form)
Schefflera alpina (large leaf form)
The one above is newly planted, as well as the one below:

Schefflera pauciflora
Schefflera pauciflora
The Schefflera above is a new one from Crug Farm which we brought back from the Grow London garden show last week. What I did forget to ask them though is if this is actually the same as the one just above this (which we acquired last year) as both species are supposed to be closely related. Same or not I don't mind as I like them both individually.

Schefflera taiwaniana
Schefflera taiwaniana
This is our tallest Schefflera and the hardest to photograph due to its size and aspect. The top part of this specimen goes well beyond the top part of the pergola.

Taking these photos I also remembered that there were two species that we used to have growing in our garden but are no longer with us: S. multinervia and S. brevipedicellata. I didn't lose them due to cold winter temperatures  but rather both just seemed to have faded away for some unknown reasons. I'll reacquire them again at some point and plant again in the garden, to join these ones that seems very happy in their abode.

Mark :-)

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Car, The Commercial, and a Stunning Succulent Garden

It all started a few years ago when I saw the commercial for a Vauxhall Corsa (or Opel Corsa in the continent) wherein a beautiful woman was struggling to cycle up a hill and she was spotted by a group of...puppets driving the above car and promptly offered her a ride including her bike. Nice, catchy commercial it was but the plantsman that I am was more fixated by the planting on the place wherein the commercial was filmed. I thought, wow, where could that be? Masses of agaves, palms, cycads, and other succulents densely planted on a slope on the side of an inclined road. The uphill road and the planting was a perfect location to convey the message of the commercial as well as provide a beautiful back drop.

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Gardens

My initial thoughts were that it was filmed somewhere in the US but through the years I've noticed that a lot of car commercials here were filmed in Barcelona. Still it didn't cross my mind to put two and two together.

Fast forward to February 2014 and whilst researching and planning for our itinerary of gardens to visit in Barcelona I came across an information online, of a supposedly stunning yet little known cacti and succulent garden in the heart of the city. That despite its prominent location it is still obscure and rarely features on any tourist guide.

I jotted the name and the location of the garden and when we were in the city on our way there the public bus passed by a familiar road and almost instantly I recognised that this was the road that was used in that commercial! What a coincidence! After my wondering then who would know a few years later I would get the answer to my question. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Solstice to Remember

Or rather I should say a long summer solstice weekend to remember!

It is Sunday night as I write this and as I look back over the rest of the weekend that's just gone past I couldn't help but say how fabulous it was. It felt like we've just been on holiday!

Thursday night we went to the Grow London garden fair and had some green (and not so green) fix and came home with three beautiful plants.

Illicium majus
Gaz couldn't resist a tall specimen of Illicium majus.
Friday we had planned to go out again but decided at the last minute to just stay home, relax and recover from the working week, and do loads of gardening. The sun was shining and it felt so warm that it was so conducive to be laid back and do light pottering in the garden (which we did).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Grow London - The Contemporary Garden Fair

Today will be the official start of the Grow London - The Contemporary Garden Fair, a three day gardening event in Hampstead Heath, London but last night they held a preview evening for those wanting to have an extra early look on what will be on the fair. The preview evening was also to raise some extra funds in aid of the Garden Museum also in London.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Foliage Follow-Up June 2014

Our Foliage Follow-up this month (a follow up to yesterday's Bloom Day) is going to be a bit unique. Instead of highlighting individual foliage plants I will be sharing instead a few snaps showing the interplay of foliage in our garden.

I mentioned yesterday that I felt I struggled a bit looking for a decent collection of flowering plants in our garden. As I was about to finish doing that post I realised that I didn't do too bad at all and I still came up with a sizable collection of what's in bloom for the month of June.

Foliage however, now that we don't have a shortage of. So much so that when thoughts of cataloguing individual plants growing in our garden I immediately dismiss it as that's going to be a huge task. Interesting but not worth my time (even my plant geekiness has its limits).

Just to spice this post up a bit I won't be naming any of the plants featured on the photos. Anyone out there up for the challenge of trying to name as many plant as they could from what can be seen on the photos?

We join Pam Pennick of Digging as she hosts Foliage Follow-Up for the month of June!

Mark :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day June 2014

Time flies so quick and it's the middle of the month again which means Bloom Day!

Taking photos earlier in the day I was thinking that I bet loads of other bloggers are bedazzled by a large selection plants currently in bloom for them, being June and all. Whilst I was relatively struggling, or at least it felt like that anyway as I searched the garden for what currently in bloom.

Well it's a mainly foliage garden so what else can I expect? That's not exactly a bad thing now when it's deliberate and preference.

Still I think I cam up with a decent selection...

Kniphofia thomsonii
Nice to see the lovely, hot, orange blooms of this poker again, looking more like Aloe blooms rather than a poker. I have to say though that at the moment I'm confused by the name of this plant. Is it: K. thomsonii, K. thomsonii var. thomsonii, or K. thompsonii var thompsonii? Anyone out there can shed a light? Well whatever it is it is fab nevertheless.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Favourite Plant of the Week - Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

As I was watering the garden this evening I caught glimpse of the Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei growing on the raised in front of the jungle hut and saw that it was flowering...

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

and then I noticed the gorgeous scent coming from it.

Knowing how short lived Magnolia blooms can be, this one being no exception I immediately grabbed the camera to capture photos of this fleeting beauty before it becomes too late.

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

This magnolia is a dwarf form of the tall and big leafed species and flowers even at a small size. Ours started flowering at just a foot in height which is quite an exceptional character especially compared to the species and other big leafed magnolias. Since then it has bloomed for us every year.

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

I'm loving the way it has grown and looks at the moment, looking more like a standard or even a parasol, jutting out of the raised bed, looking very exotic, and commanding attention whenever we pass by this area.

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei

If space is limited and you fancy growing one of the big leafed magnolias then this is the one to go for.

Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei - our favourite plant of the week!

We join Loree of Danger Garden in celebrating our favourite plant of the week.

Mark :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Miss Photogenic

So many plants are looking very beautiful in our garden at the moment, with it being early summer and all. One in particular has been especially catching my eye over the past few weeks. And with it catching my eye it has also been inevitably getting lots of attention from our camera too.

Just like in a beauty pageant, every candidate may be beautiful but only one will be deemed as the most loved by photographers and their camera - Miss Photogenic.

If I'm going to give that accolade to a plant over the past few weeks then it will have to be this particular Schefflera delavayi growing in the third raised bed in the new koi pond area.
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi

Schefflera delavayi
It caught my eye at this stage and when I started taking photos of it
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi

Schefflera delavayi

Schefflera delavayi

Schefflera delavayi

Schefflera delavayi

I've featured this plant several times already on our Facebook page and Twitter account so if you follow us there you would have seen some of these photos of the same plant already. At the risk of being over repetitive I'm featuring it again as a stand alone blog post.

Schefflera delavayi
It is currently looking like this

Schefflera delavayi

But I can't help it, I think it's just so photogenic! Currently my 'Miss Photogenic' of a plant!

Mark :-)