Monday, May 23, 2016

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 - Outside and Inside the Floral Marquee

A few scenes from outside and inside the Floral Marquee...


RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 - The Fresh Gardens

Conceptual and modern take on what a garden is, the Fresh Gardens...

The AkzoNobel Honeysuckle Blue(s) Garden

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 - Artisan Gardens

Small but packs a huge punch, the Artisan Gardens...

Papworth Trust, Together We Can

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 - Show Gardens

Before we continue our feature of plant attractions in Geneva and in our own garden, we'll make way first for our coverage of this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

And we start with a selection of photos of the main show gardens...

The Watahan East and West Garden

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Petit but Very Nice!

Whenever we visit a city we find out first if they have a botanical garden that will be convenient to visit. Our trip to Geneva was no exception and they do have a botanical garden that is rather centrally located, or at least a twenty minute leisurely walk from Mont Blanc bridge. 

Geneva Botanical Garden is bordered to the east by Lake Geneva and is directly connected by beautiful parks at the city's right bank (Quai Wilson lake promenade). It is worth bypassing public transport and just walk along the bank towards the botanical garden from the old town as the sceneries going there are beautiful.

The botanical garden turned out to be much, much better than we anticipated. In fact it is one of the nicest ones we have been to in Europe apart from the UK. It is petit but very nice! You can tell that it is a well funded one, not surprising considering that Geneva is a very affluent city in the first place. We spent a wonderful afternoon there exploring it's several glasshouses and outdoor spaces.

To start of a series of features is a quick look at the first glasshouse we saw as we entered this lovely garden - the Temperate Glasshouse.

A compact yet pretty glasshouse
A Phoenix canariensis is right in front of the main entrance to this glasshouse which is probably just wheeled straight in to it during the winter months.

Looking back from the entrance
Then looking in you are greeted by towering plants.

Each alcove is designated it's own climactic zone and planting scheme. Their plant collection is modest but they are well maintained.

And then there's the canopy/elevated walkway...

From there you get a different view of their 'spiky zones'...

After a good look around it was time to explore the other areas. Looking back...

Petit but very nice!

Mark :-)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Growing up, I've always heard about the famous Flower Clock (L'horloge Fleurie) of Geneva and have wanted to see it in the flesh one day. That day came thirteen years ago and when I saw it I exclaimed to myself...

"Is this it??"

Underwhelmed, I have put it in amongst the most overrated tourist attractions out there. Attractions that have gained popularity and status much higher than the impact they actually produce once seen in the flesh. It's up there with The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen and The Mona Lisa in Paris (ducks for cover...).

But now, thirteen years from that moment, returning to Geneva older and (hopefully) more mature, I am more forgiving with my thoughts. It's not too bad. It's the symbol and principle behind it that counts the most I suppose.

The display consists of around 6500 bedding plants and is changed four times in a year, coinciding with the seasons. Here's a few more detail shots.

And I can tell you that it is still a very popular attraction. The photos looks like the area is deserted when it was actually far from that. It took so much effort and timing to take these tourist free photos and I managed to irritate a several other photo takers for being in their way for a....funny enough a tourist free shot.

Mission accomplished, photos taken, it was time to move on...

Mark :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dinner is Served!

Dinner is served!!!

Who needs real food when you have beautiful plants to visually feast on?

Anyone for a second serving?
Although Twinkles doesn't seem to agree. She didn't look pleased with the substitution to her usual grub...

Meanwhile, busy busy times in the garden with so many things to do and so much to be excited with. One of which is the top patio where I'm busy figuring out the pot display for this year.

I'm on a mission to minimise the use of plastic pots there from this year onwards so lots of repotting are being done, including this Nolina longifolia which looks much better now in a glazed pot.

Pot display in progress
However, I'm happy to keep using them for the rest of the garden. Especially black ones that are much easier to blend in.

Mark :-)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Danish Interlude

Spring is now in full swing and all of us gardeners are in a flurry of activity preparing the garden for the growing season ahead. With all the growth happening now I don't want to dwell too much over winter hence I'll keep this post short and sweet. Short for a botanical garden visit blog post anyway...

In March we had a long weekend in Copenhagen and naturally we paid their centrally located botanical garden a visit. March is on the cusp of spring already but it still felt wintry when we visited, but at least it was sunny.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Less Plastic, More Fantastic

Is my dictum for this year, at least for the top patio...

This Agave geminiflora is looking fabulous. It deserves the the dignity of a nicer looking pot.
Last year I did a sort of 'whimsy' style of displaying potted succulents and was very pleased with the result. And as a bonus it received good feedback too. By going with the anything goes style of displaying pots (but actually carefully displayed) I justified to myself that it's ok to mix in ordinary plastic pots in amongst the ceramic, glazed, and terracotta ones. The end result turned out fine and I was happy with the outcome.

However I can't keep denying to myself that those cheap nursery plastic pots don't bother me. Most of the key plants on display then were in those plastic pots and if I'm going to do a similar display again this year I wouldn't be able to ignore/tolerate them this time.

So why did I keep them in plastic pots when replacing them with glazed ones were easy enough?

Answer: because plastic pots are light.

Plastic pots have there uses and many advantages too, one of which is being light hence easy to move. With most of our succulents and xerophytes not hardy enough to remain outside all year round they will need shifting indoors before winter sets in. The bigger specimens are tricky enough as they are to shift and it'll even be more difficult if they are in heavy pots.

Both Agave geminiflora and Agave ocahui will have new glazed pots this year
But aesthetics will win this year and I'm determined to have less plastic on display at the top patio. It'll be more effort to move them later on but I'll cross that bridge nearer the time.

Work in progress
For the rest of the garden however, I don't mind them quite so much and tolerate them far more.

Mark :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spring Growth

For all intentions I was hoping to snap a few more photos today for this blog post about some of the exciting spring growth happening in our garden this week. However the weather has turned from gloriously sunny and bright to grey and drizzly, not conducive to taking photos.

Still I'm glad it is rainy. I don't mind it being rainy on weekdays whilst at work. And besides, it's much better for the garden to have bouts of rainy days interspersed with sunny ones.

I'll have to make do with the very few I managed to take last weekend...

Loving the dainty new growth of Acacia pravissima. Mind you the old growth ain't too bad either.

This climber took awhile to get going but this Holboellia coriacea looks like it's set to romp away this year, and put on a spectacular show of blooms too.

All our tree ferns are showing signs of movement as well but the potted ones like this Cyathea cooperi are expectedly ahead. They did overwinter indoors.

And Saxifraga stolonifera seems set to conquer a large area. Easy enough to pull them out where they are not wanted and how could one not love their bright spring colour?

Next weekend is forecast to be sunny again, and better opportunity for taking more photos!

Mark :-)