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!


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Pond Update

Theres a strange smell in the garden at the moment! We are having the new pond fibreglassed, and whilst we will tackle most jobs in the garden this is one to leave to the professionals. 

The pond was lined with insulated board, partly to help with heat retention if we cover in winter and also to give a smooth finish to the walls. 

The slightly unusual shape is more obvious now, This was a result of extending the existing pond without demolishing the entire structure, and also to keep the excavation away from the roots of an established magnolia grandiflora on the the left hand side. 

I suspect many pond keepers would have sacrificed the tree but it has taken us about 12 years to get it to the size it is now, and so the pond wasn't excavated next to it. I think we got the dimensions about right as we didnt spot roots poking through the soil where we stopped the dig.

The final finish will be black, but that wont be until later today.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Multiheaded Trachycarpus

Whilst exploring at Pinetum Gardens we spotted a rather unusual Trachycarpus fortunei, one with seven (yes Seven!) heads

Checking it closely it has a single trunk at ground level before branching into the seven heads, all roughly aligned in a row. 

As to what has caused this oddity, we dont know, perhaps the growing point was damaged as a young plant and this was the result.

What ever caused this its a rather unusual looking plant and one that will be of interest over the years as it grows taller. 


Saturday, May 22, 2021

The Japanese Garden at Pinetum Gardens

 As we continued our garden visits in Cornwall, we revisted Pinetum Gardens (Previosuly known as Pine Lodge and also Pinetum Park) in St Austell, a garden that is in many ways a series of gardens rather than a single whole, although the combined garden is an enjoyable place to visit. We featured the garden after our last visit in 2013, however for this post we wanted to feature just part of the garden - The Japanese Garden

The entry to the garden is through a Torri inspired gateway and a path that just begs you to follow and explore. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Lamorran House Garden

 The next garden from our Cornish trip is Lamorran House Garden.  Close to St Mawes, on a south facing slope overlooking the estuary for the River Fal, the garden has an enviable microclimate. According to their website, the last recorded frost was in 1987!

We have visited the garden a few times over the years, although we haven't previously blogged about it. Since our last visit there has been  change in the head gardener, with the current incumbent being the affable and extremely knowledgeable Jacob Howard-Endean.

We entered the garden via the patio in front of the Lamorran House, and immediately felt transported to the Mediterranean. The garden is heavily influenced by Italy, due to the Italian background of one of the owners.  

Thursday, May 20, 2021

St Just in Roseland Church

One unusual "Garden" visit in Cornwall is the church yard at St Just in Roseland. The church dates from the 13th Century and is built by a tidal creek, local legend claims that Joseph of Arimathea brought a young Jesus to Cornwall, and that he landed at St Just in Roseland. Regardless of legends, the location really is stunning, with the graveyard and ancient gravestones hosting a delightful garden. 

The church is one of Cornwalls most visited, and facilities, including new car parking and a tea room have popped up adjacent to the church grounds.

St Just in Roseland Church

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Trewidden Gardens

 A new garden for us in Cornwall was Trewidden. We had previously visited the Nursery on the site (Now at Penbeth Plants).

Trewidden is fairly classic Cornish Estate garden, connected to the large house, with walled gardens and informal pleasure gardens.  On entering the garden, fairly quickly we met a stunning group of tree ferns.

The gardens are fairly typical estate gardens, established Victorian and early 20th century plantings, along side slightly more recent additions.

A plant we would love an ID for if anyone recognises this one.

An un-named Cordyline clump.

In the middle of the garden is a pond, surrounded by Gunnera. 

Also by the pond is a Butia odorata planted in the 1890s showing significant wear and tear!

The high levels of rain fall creates wonderful mossy scenes.

metasequoia glyptostroboides

A Metasequoia glyptostroboides looking very much like it should be on the set of a horror film!

During our visit the rains decided to remind us why Cornwall is usually so green, so we probably didnt stay as long as we had originally planned to. However this is a garden well worth adding to the list to visit in Cornwall.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tremenheere Sculpture Garden

Just outside Penzance is Tremenheere Sculpture Garden, a garden we last visited in 2013 however after a long delay we recently visited again.

A fairly new garden in Cornwall, we have seen some significant changes over the last 8 years, including more facilities for visitors. We were not there for the cafe and gift shop, so the maturing gardens were a delight.

Entering the garden over a small stream, we immediately headed for the woodland walk, following paths along side the stream, heavily planted with treeferns and other woodlanders.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Jungle Musing

We initially shared this view of the jungle pathway on Facebook recently and was surprised at the number of people asking about the plant on the left (Daphniphyllum macropodum). We have grown this Daphniphyllum macropodum for around four years or so and have others in the garden, fairly unfussy but with large glossy leaves adding to the tropical vibe quite nicely. 

Daphniphyllum macropodum

This part of the garden has had seen some changes over the last year. The bed in the centre - at the fork in the paths, was newly planted last year after removing a bamboo. The pathways were all edged in stone - replacing the log edging that was showing serious signs of decay, and new stepping stones added recently. These flag stones were actually recycled from part of the bottom patio that was excavated for the current pond project (more on that soon I promise!). 

Trachycarpus fortunei with long petiole

We were also reminded of the extra long petioles on some of the Trachycarpus fortunei in this area. The small trunked one just behind the Daphniphyllum macropodum regularly has petioles in excess of two meters (around 7 feet) - Mark for scale.


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Sending Out to The Universe

Have to say I'm not one to ask out there for opinions, but there is a particular pot in our garden that I was in two minds what to do with, that I had to send it out to the universe for further opinions.

This pot was already in the garden when we moved in with a Wisteria growing in it. The plant has been long gone but the pot remained in situ for over a decade as it was in a well hidden spot, away from our eyes so as not to be annoyed with it. Until recently when that area received some attention and suddenly it was in the way.

It's not to our taste suffice to say, and not in keeping with our gardening style. But one the reasons why it also remained is that it predates us and is part of the history of the garden. 

We assumed it was another run of the mill concrete planter, has an eighties look to it, and since we have a large rubbish skip at the front of the house was best relegated there, with Gaz even threatening to put a sledge hammer to it. With it's imminent execution, I cleared the decades old soil in it to find the following imprint inside: Cotswold Studios Ltd. U29

There's very little information out there and read on one site that the company doesn't exist anymore (needs further verifying). I also saw that this kind of pot was likely to be sold between the 1920's to mid 50's. So it appears to be older than we thought. The value of similar pots seem to vary widely too, from £10 to £££. Apart from that we're none the wiser. Sometimes the internet can provide lots of answers, but so far it just seems to be snippets.

So what should we do with an incredibly heavy pot we don't like but has sentimental/historical value (to the garden anyway)? Further opinions were needed and a question was sent out to the universe....

On Facebook of course, both on my personal profile and a gardening group. Have to say the response I received was not what I expected as it was a nearly unanimous 'keep'! 

In the gardening group it even resulted in a rather humorous banter as to whether the print is Yorkshire or Lancashire Rose (I personally think it's a Tudor Rose).

Anyway there's no harm keeping it for now, saved from execution moved to our garden tat purgatory. 

Or I may actually use it, perhaps a rather exotic looking Chinese rose to give this very English pot an exotic edge.

Mark :-)