My Garden This Weekend – 7/6/15

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I have been home alone for most of the weekend with no real plans and it has been blissful.  I have been pottering in every sense of the word.  I started with weeding the patio which was long overdue and is one of those incredibly satisfying garden jobs.  I use the blade of an old screwdriver, whose handle is long gone, and it is just the right size to get between the slabs.

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If I am honest I dislike the patio, I always have, but its well down the list of expenditure and it serves a purpose.  I dislike it because when I pressure wash it the colour of the slabs is revealed and we have a ‘delightful’ pink and yellow checker box effect! Therefore, I rarely pressure wash it.  However now it is weeded and tidied I am rather pleased.  I have never been very good at using the patio for relaxation.  It is normally the home of trays of seedlings and purchases and the small table often houses seedlings etc.  However, in the last couple of weeks my sons have both mentioned that they have sat out in the garden when they have got home and how nice it was.  So I have moved all the trays of seedlings up the garden out of the way and arranged the pots of purchases and other things in a more organised/decorative fashion.  What a difference, even I have sat on the patio and enjoyed a cuppa and read a magazine.

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I have quite a collection of pots many of them accumulated during my brief foray into alpine plant showing.  Above are some pans of alpines which live up by the top bench which there is some shade but also sun at some point of the say.

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I’m not a huge fan any more of pots of mixed plants, preferring instead collections of individual plants in their own pot.  I like being able to ring the changes as things go over.  This collection is by the door to the shed and I have added some succulents as this is quite a sunny spot so they should do well here.

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Round the corner of the shed is what we call ‘quatermass’.  Last year I plunged a couple of pots of zantedeschia into the old tin bath which I was using as a pond and they did incredibly well.  So this year I decided to fill the bath with compost and plant it up exclusively with white zantedeschia.  There is no drainage in the bath so the compost gets very wet when it rains and takes a while to dry out but the plants are thriving.  I did wonder if this was a mad idea but when I visited Brian and Irene’s garden over at Our Garden @19 last weekend I noticed that he had ensata iris growing in sealed pots of compost and they were doing incredibly well too. I had to drag the bath over the gravel this week as it was being engulfed by the neighbouring fern and I see that I need to sort the level out again – opps!

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In the very top photo you can see that all the succulents and pelargoniums are out of the greenhouse and in their summer home on the staging.  As I said I don’t really like mixed pots or hanging baskets any more.  Instead I have planted the window box up with herbs which is already proving very useful and the only hanging basket I have is hanging from the tree by the shed and is housing my Christmas cactus.  I went to a talk at the local horticultural group recently on cacti and succulents which was actually really interesting and the speaker advocating treating your Christmas cactus in this way over the summer so I thought why not.

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And finally one of my collections of plants by the front door.  I was rather than by the Polygala myrtifolia on a recent visit to B&Q so it ended up coming home with me.  I have under planted with some nemesis  and today added a pelargonium and a pot of oregano.  On the other side of the entrance is a deep pink hydrangea, some violas and a succulent.  I think it looks charming and it makes me smile when I pull up in the driveway, far more than any other arrangement I have done in the past.

So that’s my weekend – a weekend of potting up, moving pots, and sweeping.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Noelle says:

    Love your pots. I bought some ‘alpines’ and have planted them in my stones…but seeing your pots, I may do the same as I am not sure that the drainage in the winter will be good enough. Many thanks for all the inspiration.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Noelle
      My pots with alpines have 50:50 grit and compost so plenty of drainage

    2. Noelle says:

      Sorry I meant the drainage where I have planted them in my ‘stone garden’. It is fairly compacted underneath, I have tried to loosen the soil and add grit, but it may just end up being a sump. This is why I shall move them to pots with good draining soil like yours. Thanks for the ‘recipe’.

  2. Diana Studer says:

    trying to coax my 2 inherited Polygala into a less unkempt shape.
    Yours is such a neat flower covered lollipop!
    The Zantedeschia will feel at home, since they grow wild along streams or in damp hollows. Mine are beginning to flower.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diane
      My Polygala was already the lollipop shape so I can’t take any credit for it. No doubt it is tender here so something else to find space for in the tiny greenhouse over winter. Maybe you need to be brutual to yours, cruel to be kind?

  3. Yvone Ryan says:

    Looking good! what is trandestandia??? spelling!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Yvonne
      Zantedeschia are Arum/Calla Lillies – see this link https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=177

  4. We don’t have a patio, only a yard which grows moss, but even so it can be quite pleasant to sit outside with a good book and a cup of tea. More ornamental surroundings are definitely a bonus!

  5. Jackie Harrison says:

    I was interested to see your comment about the patio always being covered in seed trays/pots. I have always had the same problem so resolved this year to keep it as clear as possible. A few seed trays have crept in but so far I’m doing pretty well 🙂
    There is a plant by your greenhouse which looks like an Umbrella Plant but with veining (in the far right of the photo). Could you tell me what it is? It looks the same as something I saw at Great Dixter last week. I was quite taken with it but have no idea what it is. Thanks!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jackie
      Its a Brugmansia. It has just emerged from the greenhouse and is putting on new leaves for the summer and hopefully some wonderful big white trumpet flowers

  6. Sarah says:

    Your patio looks ideal for pottering and I can see that your greenhouse is almost an extension of the house. I don’t have a pottering area, maybe that’s why I don’t have a lot of pots. All my seed sowing etc is done very uncomfortably on the ground. I also like how you move on from things that aren’t working for you, like the alpine plant showing. It’s very refreshing following your blog. Would a yogurt wash help to tone down your patio by encouraging lichens etc.? Your collection of pots by the front door is charming.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sarah
      Thank you, Im glad you like the blog. I do believe in being honest about things that do and dont work. It is more of an internal monologue I suppose
      Interesting idea about the yoghurt. The patio gets very slippery with a build up of something that you can’t really see, possibly early stages of lichen so this might be the best idea. I fancy doing something like lifting occasional slabs and replacing with cobbles. I just need to get around to it

  7. Yvone Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – I like calla lillies but arum lillies grow toooooo rampant here – a weed on roadsides!! Also Green goddess rampant! Keep digging them up! Have a white/cream and an apricot arum tho’! More well behaved!

  8. Brian Skeys says:

    Sounds like an ideal weekend Helen, other than visiting gardens!

  9. A good weekend judging by the photos. I do love Aeonium zwartzkopf yours are looking good.

  10. Ian Baker says:

    I love the tier pot stand in the first picture. There is a area on my patio that is crying out for something like that. I will have to see what materials I have lying around in the garden to put something together.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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