Saturday, July 17, 2021

Mad About Mangave

Well not quite but have spent some time recently potting up some of the ones we have...

Mangave 'Inkblot'

We've only every grown Manfreda before with moderate success and two Mangaves, 'Bloodspot' and 'Macho Mocha'. The former has done incredibly well for us in the conservatory until it bloomed a few years ago, while the latter struggled by being constantly nibbled by snails to the point of demise. This cross between an Agave and a Manfreda is monocarpic so once it blooms it can take awhile for resulting offsets and/or bulbils to be good enough to take over the mother plant.

Mangave 'Lavender Lady' and 'Red Wing'

There are plenty of varieties out there, some I find more attractive than others and it's easy enough to get into collecting them. With space a premium in our garden we have to be selective and just go for the ones that really appeals to us. Fortunately they are not that hard to come by here in the UK these days as they are well distributed in garden centres here now. They have a very good marketing team and are appealing to both the garden and houseplant brigade. 

Mangave 'Mission to Mars'

From our limited experience they do well as houseplants too, for a sunny spot otherwise they lose the distinctive markings. 

Mangave 'Pineapple Express'

They also make for a great pot plant so matching them with an appropriate colour and shape of pot add to the fun of repotting them.

another Mangave 'Inkblot'

Mangave 'Lavender Lady'

Are you into mangaves too, and if so which ones are your favourite?

Mark :-)

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Surprisingly Doing Fine

There's a couple of plants in the garden I want to highlight on this post that are doing fine despite our expectations of just being summer bedding due to their reputation of being only borderline hardy for our location.

Pteris cretica

Pteris cretica is popular here as a houseplant but we have been growing it under the eaves of our jungle hut for several years now. Granted that it does have extra protection being under cover all year round, it doesn't exempt it from experiencing minus temperatures in the depths of our winter. It's main problem though is that it is one of the many favoured snack of slugs and snails in the garden, making it tricky to keep pristine but what's left behind remains attractive with its variegated leaves.

Calliandra surinamensis

Next one would be Calliandra surinamensis which is mainly grown for its fluffy pink flowers but we love it for its delicate pinnate leaves reminiscent of Shy Mimosa leaves. This South American plant has always been reputed to be only borderline hardy but we grow it outside all year round, sited next to a Yucca rostrata that died this spring after going through a late cold spell here last April (20C one day then -4C the following day can do a lot of damage). A little mystery here, a cold spell that killed a hardier Yucca and yet this plant remained fine and doing very well now.

Calliandra surinamensis

Perhaps time to revise it's reputed hardiness??

Mark :-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Wollemi Pine

We have grown the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) in our garden for over a decade now and despite the set back it experienced in winter 2010, it has recovered albeit slowly to become an attractive specimen that it is now.

Wollemia nobilis

Not the fastest of growers but well worth the perseverance to grow. One amusing anecdote about the Wollemi Pine is that for many years it had the story attached to it of being very rare, or rather one of the rarest plants in the world. It was even grown inside a cage on several botanic gardens including Kew Gardens. And yet you can buy them in the gift shop even then, albeit with a hefty price tag ramped up with its romanticised back story.

Wollemia nobilis

Fast forward to more recent times, its rarely seen in a cage now and readily available in garden centres in the UK. It has seemed to have also shed off of its 'rare' back story, which it can only hang on to for a limited time to begin with. Saying that recent feedback via Instagram indicates that they are still hard to come by across the pond, I wonder why...

The two photos above were taken two weeks apart, with it's 'weeping' habit the latest one, showing it's graceful change in habit as it grows out new leaves.

Mark :-)