As I garden – losing whole days at the weekend, stealing moments while the kettle boils for morning tea, working in the dark on my return from work – I compose descriptions of the challenges and successes. Time to see if the words floating through my head during the last 10 years of making my garden, work on a page.
This is very out of character for me as I garden mainly for interesting foliage but this week I do have several beautiful flowers.
Why not join in the fun and post your Six on Saturday. For more details you can read the brief participant guide.
My walled garden has large areas of paving so two keys areas of display are entirely made up of pots. This is the perfect opportunity to curate a changing picture depending on what is looking best in any given month. This week I completely stripped back the display around the seating, repotting several key plants and giving each specimen room so the variations in folliage can really be appreciated.
Part of my job involves a museum, sadly closed right now. We have a huge collection of artefects including the third largest collection of historic clothing in England. We have a project called Unboxed where we film or photograph the opening of boxes that have been in storage, sometimes for over 20 years. These then become really popular posts on social media.
My mind turned to this when I received an exciting delivery from the Beth Chatto Nursery this week, my own mini Unboxed.
Saxifrage Southside Seedling Group
Dicentra spectabilis x2
Viola rivinìana purpurea
Primula denticlata alba x3
Athyrium niponicum pictum red beauty
What a lovely stash, feeling very lucky. But wait a minute, didn’t I go alittle crazy on this order? Shouldn’t there be more plants? Then ratta tat tat on the front door and…
Saxifrage black ruby
Now I agree the two boxes held enough plants to make any gardener do a little dance of joy but I have to confess to picking up these two geraniums from a plant sale next door to my Mum’s house. There are worse addictions to have and my three weeks furlough will be so much better spent finding the perfect spot for each and every new arrival.
The garden has never had so much feathered activity! We have a blackbird nest with the noisiest, most demanding babies and a nest of baby wrens who are much better behaved. I also suspect we have Great Tits nesting in the top of the 24 ft palm. It is a joy, I don’t even mind being dive bombed when I walk past the nests.
After a day of prep last weekend, this weekend I have planted out my shade bed that runs along the bottom of a north facing wall.
I work in a theatre which is currently closed. We are focused on keeping in touch with our audiences and this week it was my turn to share, in our weekly email to twenty thousand people, what I am doing to get through the shutdown. I shared how happy my garden makes me and a link to The Propergator blog. I wonder if anyone reading this joined the Six on Saturday gang through Worthing Theatres?
One of my dreams has come true. I am now the proud and delighted owner of a beautiful, olive green greenhouse. It was delivered and erected back in March luckily before the shutdown. It is just 4ft by 6ft but already full of seedlings and plug plants happily growing.
I did also make room for a comfy chair and it has become my happy place. Something we all need right now.
It is panto season (Oh no it isn’t) so working in a theatre this means it is crazy busy. Every year I make sure my wrapping is done before December- wrapping the presents but more importantly wrapping my tender plants.
1) Staring with the tree ferns
2) Horticulural fleece
I like the green coloured fleece. It protects the plants but still looks fairly natural.
My succulent collection is now under the garden table to keep the worst of the rain off. Most seem fine through the cold winter but cold and wet will kill them. Later in December I will wrap the table legs with clear plastic for extra protection.
The scills violacea, silver squill ledebouria currently sat on the top of the table have spent the last six month dotted around the garden looking beautiful. They will move indoors next weekend.
4) Window boxes
The window boxes on the front of the house have had a seasonal makeover. I have to remember to water them because even after a downpour they are bone dry.
The bananas have been sawn down to just two foot from the ground and then wrapped in fleece.
6) A cosy winter project
I have been labelling my pots for the last two years but was seduced by the lovely looking bamboo labels. Lovely looking for the first six months, unreadable after a year!
So I ordered black plastic labels and permanent white paint pens and I am slowly working through my 220 pots, looking up the plants that I have forgotten. A relaxing job that connects me to the garden even on cold winter days.
That is it from me, do visit The Propergator blog to see SOS from gardens across the UK and several further afield. It is like peaking over people’s garden fences!
Rainy and cold weather means I have not been tempted out to the garden. However a couple of unexpected blooms caught my eye from the bathroom window. So I popped out for a closer look and two hours later I was still out there, in my pyjamas and wellies, planting the last of the bulbs, unaware of the drizzle.
The grower at Hampton Court promised these lilies would flower in October so delighted to still have blooms in late November
A beautiful flowering heuchera, not sure which one.
Delighted by salvia amistad, my first time growing it and will now never be without it.
Plectranthus ciliatus is flowering it’s heart out. A lovely surprise in the back section of the garden.
Ceramic blooms could been seen as cheating but they are beautiful and lift the spirits through the darker winter months.
Finishing on the beautiful birthday gifts from my sister.
I had to tear myself away from my own garden projects this week to spend a delightful couple of days in Lisbon. A beautiful city with Portuguese Tarts on every corner.
1) We selected a house with a courtyard garden so I write this happily sitting under a huge avocado, a lime tree and a Japanese medler wondering at the climbing Asparagus fern with its spiny branches.
2) Botanical Garden of Lisbon
These gardens are hidden in the centre of the city and currently the glass houses are closed for refurbishment. There are many mature trees and an impressive dry garden but generally the gardens feel run down and in need of love and investment.
Incredible Swiss cheese plant
One of the many huge agaves
3) This exotic tree on a street in Lisbon stopped me in my tracks, still trying to find out what it is.
4) The Cold Glasshouse located in Parque Eduardo VII, has about 1.5 hectares of glass houses that are unheated but are far from cold. They are completely wonderful and only just over 3 euros entrance fee.
5) Another Swiss Cheese plant, I bought one of these for our sitting room last week never imagining I would see so many of them in Lisbon
6) Devil’s backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana). It is always a thrill to see a plant you nurture on your kitchen windowsill casually growing outside with little if any love.
Do follow The Propergator and join in the fun of Six on Saturday.