GBBD August 2015


I seem to have missed a few months of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day but with two weeks of annual leave ahead of me and few plans I find myself finally with time to join in.  The garden is entering its second phase of summer colour with echinaceas, rudbeckias, crocosmia and asters all opening.  The zinnias are just opening, a week later than I had hoped as they were grown for last week’s show!.


I quite like zinnias and I think I might grow them again next year as well as cosmos which I haven’t grown for years and suddenly find myself missing.


The other annual that I am loving at the moment is this nasturium which is making a bid for world domination from the window box.  I think this variety has a nice velvet tone to it.  The packet of seeds were some old Thompson & Morgan trial seeds I found in the bottom of the box so sadly I don’t know what variety they are.


A new addition to the garden is this Chinese Foxglove.  The stem above is one of the shorter ones but the spires are just going over.  It has flowered for a month or so and adds a nice contrast to all the daisy type flowers at the moment.  Its tender so I will have to dig it up and pot it up for the winter or maybe risk it in the ground with a heavy mulch to protect it.


The Primula florindae has been wonderful since early July.  It has had 3 stems of flowers, with two reaching 3ft tall.  The strangest thing is I don’t remember where it came from or planting it.  I can only assume I tried growing it from seed and discarded the compost and then it decided to show its face.  I have three or four young plants which I bought this year not realising that this was growing in the garden so hopefully I can create a nice display for next year.


I thought I would share one of my clumps of violas.  I have a growing fondness for them as they are such good doers, flowering for months on end and all you need to do is dead head them and every so often chop them back to prevent them being too scraggly.  The one above Viola cornuta Clouded Yellow is almost at the point of needing a good chop back.

IMG_2107 (2)

And I have cyclamen flowering.  I think this is Cyclamen hederifolium but I’m not very sure at all.  They too have been flowering for a week or two and I wonder if the low temperatures this summer have confused them.


Finally in complete contrast to the diminutive cyclamen I thought I would share the first flower on the brugmansia with you.  Sadly you can see the flower has suffered from the unseasonal weather but hopefully the other buds that are fattening on the plant will benefit from some nicer summer weather.

For Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts from all over the world visit Carol at May Dreams

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – December 2014


At this time of year any flower is a welcome addition to the garden although many of them you really have to seek out.  Viburnum rhytidophyllum (above) surprised me this weekend with its flowers which are just opening.  This poor plant has suffered from my indecision and is in its third location in the garden, I blame my son’s workshop.  This is the first time it has flowered since 2010 and although it was relocated this year I think its new location is much better for it and is similar to the location it was originally bought for.  Hopefully the flowers are a sign it is happy and as I have no intention on relocating the shrub it should get a chance to thrive now.


Cyclamen are bringing most of the colour highlights to the garden at the moment.  I bought a batch of the above cyclamen which were being sold as winter bedding to brighten up a bare patch created my removing the dead Acer.  I don’t know what variety of Cyclamen they are as they weren’t labelled but they have been flowering for well over a month now and there are lots more buds to come.  Although they were sold as winter bedding I won’t discard them come the spring as they may flower again next year. I did the same with some other bedding cyclamen below last winter and they are smothered in flowers.


I don’t think they are hedrifolium or coum as they seem to be much larger plants so if anyone has any ideas I would love to know.  Of course if we have a very hard winter then I am sure they won’t survive but for a couple of pounds they are value for money.


I always have some primroses flowering at this time of year although the slugs seem to be very good at getting to the flowers before me.


Primrose ‘Jack in the Green’ has been again been flowering for month possibly since October and probably due to the mild Autumn we have had it seems to have an endless supply for flower buds.  It is such a pretty plant with the white flower surrounded by a green ruff of small leaves at the top of the stem.


And here we have signs of another primrose about to put on a small but perfect show.

For more Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit Carol over at May Dreams.


Foliage Follow Up – November 2014


With my interest in plants becoming more and more foliage based there are few flowers in the garden at the moment.  However, the garden is still full of colour and texture from the various evergreens.  I adore the Melianthus major; it hasn’t stopped performing all year.  Grown from seed probably three years ago this plant is around 4ft high now.  I have two other plants all grown from seed at the same time but they are much smaller and in shadier situations so it shows how much the plant benefits from some direct sunshine.


And you can’t go wrong with Fatsia japonica for evergreen interest.  This plant is probably around 7ft tall and is smothered in flowers at the moment.  I see so many Fatsias planted out in full sun looking ill and more yellow than green; despite their exotic looks they need shade to do well.


A plant that is increasingly growing on me is Buddleja salviafolia.  A new acquisition this year which seems to like its location on the back bank.  The leaves are gloriously soft and velvety a little like Stachys byzantina.  It will be interesting to see how it fairs through the winter.


It wouldn’t be a Foliage Follow Up post without the inclusion of some ferns. The two I have chosen are deciduous so will probably disappear in the next couple of weeks.  Above is Athryium niponicum, the most elegant of ferns. This variety is probably ‘Burgundy Lace’.  Below is an unknown fern although I suspect it is another Athryium as the foliage shape seems very similar to the Athryium niponicum. I like the warm buttery tones it takes on in the Autumn which until recently were picking on up on the autumn colouring of the Prunus kojo-no-mai which it is planted by.



Another plant that delivers in more season than one is the Kirengshoma palmata whose leaves also take on a buttery tone as they fade.


Getting to the other end of the size range to the Fatsia we have cyclamens which are really winning me over.  I find myself buying them for their foliage rather than the flowers which are to be honest either white or a shade of pink. But who could not fall for the marbling on the leaves above.  I am pretty sure this is Cyclamen hederifolium but this assumption is based purely on the fact that it is an autumn flowering cyclamen.  Below is another one and you can see how much the leaves can differ.


I have recently discovered Cyclamen graecum which generally have darker green leaves and the one below was bought because of the darkness of the leaves.  It is still a young plant but hopefully in a year or two it will be stunning.


For more foliage follow up posts visit Pam at Digging – a favourite haunt of mine on a grey damp Autumn day.

My Weekend This Week – 18/10/2014

Primrose Jack in Green
Primrose Jack in Green

Autumn has decidedly arrived although not the crisp dry Autumn that I prefer, instead it has been a bit grey and quite damp leading to soggy piles of leaves to collect; many have already been collected.


I have noticed that despite the lower light levels there is still interest in the garden mainly from the various asters.  I think the smaller flowers add some real texture although I want to add some of the larger and brighter flowered asters next year and maybe some more rudbeckias to lift it all.


The first job was to weed the slope where the Hardy Exotic Border is and plant a mass of mixed daffodil bulbs.  I am conscious that many of the plants will die back over the winter and I don’t really want a large bare area so I am hoping the daffodils will add some spring interest and colour until the main planting reappears.  As my garden is quite small I need to make ever area work as hard as possible. I am trying to adopt the idea of layered or succession planting as advocated by Christopher Lloyd and also David Culp but of course although I understand the logic and purpose putting it into action isn’t as easy as it appears. I think you really need to understand the plants well and I haven’t quite got there.  To help me out I am thrilled to have signed up for a study day at Great Dixter next June.

2014_10180007At the moment my starting point is to give each area a key season of interest.  So the border above is a spring/winter border with the conifers and some bulbs which will appear in the new year.  Today I have added a few cyclamen to give colour.  There is a sprawling geranium in the front of the border which looks wrong and will be relocated elsewhere.  I think a Japanese Painted Fern, yes I know another fern, would look good here and I fancy some white vinca or maybe periwinkle around the tree trunk.

A small achievement was finally sorting the area in front of the shed and fence.  This has been a bit of a dumping ground since the shed went in over a year ago and has been irritating me for some months.  My son plans to put a wood store here, the shed is his workshop, but he is so busy it is well down his list of priorities so I decided to take charge.  It is amazing how much things are improved with a quick tidy up, a thick layer of gravel, a bit of fence paint and a few pots.  The little auricula is far too small so I need to find one of my other pots to go here.  I am thinking maybe a pot of bedding cyclamen.

Elsewhere I planted out the shrubs I bought at the Hergest Croft plant fair last weekend.  The Hydrangea Merveilla Sanguine at the top of the slope to add to the foliage interest.  I was told it needs good moist conditions and maybe at the top of a slope isn’t the best place but the soil is very heavy clay based here and doesn’t seem to dry out too fast so fingers crossed.


More bare soil but this is where the dead acer was and I am quite pleased with how it is coming along.  I have added a Leptospernum myrtifolium ‘Silver Sheen’ and Berberis seiboldii which is quite electric at the moment and should be wonderful in a year or two. Also planted out today is an unnamed double hellebore and some bedding cyclamen.  There are lots of spring perennials under the soil here at the front of the border so I have added the cyclamen for interest until I am reminded what is here and where it is!!


I thought I would show you a border I replanted just over a year ago – The Japanese Fern Border.  A grand title for a small area alongside the patio which admittedly has other perennials other than ferns but they are all from Asia – apart from the stray Welsh Poppy in the back there.  The ferns have really filled out and it looks lush and full and makes me smile.

Just for Yvonne I have include the Primrose Jack in Green at the top of the post which I look at when I sit on the bench.

My Garden this Weekend – 5th January 2014


I think there is only one word to describe the garden this week – soggy! The ground is sodden to the extent that the woodchip and grass paths are becoming challenging to negotiate and the patio floods quickly.  It really doesn’t make for good or mildly alright gardening weather.  That said I have little energy left after decorating my bedroom this last week  to do much in the garden so the endless rain means I’m not wishing I had some residual energy.  Instead I am enjoying the faint blue haze that is appearing on the prostrate rosemary which grows over the wall outside of the kitchen window.


During one of my many trips to the DIY store I picked up these three cyclamen which were very reduced and looking quite forlorn.  They were simply labelled ‘Cyclamen’ so I have no idea which variety they are and they could well be of the less hardy variety but they are full of flower buds and I am hoping they will  add a little colour over the coming weeks to the border under the Prunus which I was tidying before Christmas.

I seem to be drowning in seed and bulb catalogues at the moment and the number of turned corners and asterisks is quite worrying.  I decided to try to rationalise my ‘wants’ by sorting out the seed box and discovered that  I already have five packets of cosmos seeds of various varieties, as well as numerous wallflower, snap dragon,  rudbeckia, nigella and calendula seeds.  Some are bought and some I have  collected myself.  So there is no need for me to buy annual seeds and I can focus my intentions on perennials which are more appealing to me anyway and reduces the list a tiny bit.


I have ventured out a few times over the weekend and tidied up in the greenhouse and cold frame.  I am trying very hard to look after my alpines and particularly the primulas so that they may just be good enough to show although I really don’t have a clue what I am doing just following my instinct.  My collection of bulbs seems to be thriving with virtually all the pots having noses of leaves pushing through the gravel.  In the greenhouse the Iris reticulata Cantab I moved in under cover last week is definitely pushing ahead of those outside and I decided to bring two of the Cyclamen periscum I have grown from seed in to the house.  I am hoping the increased heat might encourage the flower buds I have spotted to open; the first time the plants will have flowered.

Its back to work on Monday which will mean that I won’t see the garden again until next Saturday morning.  I find this time of year a little challenging in this respect so I am glad I have a meeting of one of the garden clubs this week so at least I will get some sort of horticultural fix.

Boxing Day Flower Count 2013

Cyclamen cyprium 'E9 form'
Cyclamen cyprium ‘E9 form’

This is the third year I have done the Boxing Day Flower Count and I have to admit that I really thought it would be a non-starter this year as there seemed to be very little flowering, if anything, in the garden this year; this does seem strange considering how mild it has been in recent weeks. The majority of the flowers are on early spring bulbs amongst my growing collection of small pots.  The Cylamen cyprium ‘E9 form’ above has been flowering for weeks in the greenhouse.  I keep it in the greenhouse, which is frost free, as it hails from the mountainous area of cyprus and I’m not sure it would really appreciate our damp winters.


I do like cyclamen and these are some of a group I planted in the top of the planter the jasmine is growing in against the back house wall.  They too have been flowering for weeks, if not months and really brighten up the patio along with the violas and cyclamen in the hanging baskets. I am pretty sure they are  form of cyclamen coum but I bought them from a large garden centre and they weren’t labelled beyond ‘cyclamen’ which is frustrating.

Narcissus cantabricus foliosus
Narcissus cantabricus foliosus

The Narcisuss cantabricus foliosus, which I bought at the AGS Conference in November has also been flowering for weeks.  It has such a delicate tissue like flower.

Thalictrum urbainii
Thalictrum urbainii

Another new addition to the garden is Thalictrum urbainii from Evolution Plants.  It is a dwarf spring flowering form of Thalictrum so I’m not sure why it is flowering now but maybe its the protection from the cold frame where it is residing until it beefs itself up.  Such a pretty and delicate flower.

Grevillea 'Canberra Gem'
Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’

As with the last two years the Grevillea Canberra Gem is sporting a few flowers although these are very very early and the general consensus is that it shouldn’t flower until May-June.  I love this shrub and it was this plant and its conifer like foliage which started me change of attitude towards conifers although it isn’t a conifer at all.


The Abelia is flowering as well and again like the other flowers on this post it has been flowering for weeks.

Sadly unlike the last two years I cannot include the Mahonia since I pruned it severely after it flowered this year and it is only just beginning to shoot again.  However, there are a couple of primroses and bergenias as in previous years as well as the winter jasmine and a lone chrysanthemum.  The total of the year is 12 which is the same as last year although this  year’ selection  is more seasonal and not so dependent on stray annuals having gone into a torpor.

2012 Boxing Day  Flower  Count
2011 Boxing Day Flower  Count


My Garden this Weekend – 20th October 2013

Viola Sorbet XP Raspberry
Viola Sorbet XP Raspberry

I have to say that I am surprised at how much I have done in the garden this weekend considering the forecast was dire with heavy rain forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, including thunder storms.  Saturday started bright and mild although soggy underfoot due to the torrential rain overnight.  I havent been sleeping that well this week, due to too much happening at work, so my mind has been wandering and much mental replanting has been going on.  One of the plans hatched in the early hours was to sort out the border at the far end of the front garden which has been bugging me all year.

2013_10200016logoIt’s the Deschampsia which has irritated me.  I think I choose the wrong grass for the effect I had in my mind but they were what I had available and it reminded me that I really need to remember to research things properly.  They just look so messy and they have been like that for months.  2013_10200017logoI initially thought I would redistribute them weaving them amongst the other plants, so I cut the flower stems down and instantly realised that getting rid of them all together was the real answer, so they went.  I worked through the whole border reducing the perennial planting to just Phlomis russeliana, Francoa and Alchemilla mollis.  Removing the Deschampsia has allowed the two red salvias to shine out from the border.


I also added Perovskia atriplicifolia, Russian sage.  I have been admiring a similar combination of Russian sage and red flowered salvia on the way home from work for the last month so decided to try to replicate it.  I also added a Libertia which has been lurking on the patio for about two years in desperate need for a home. So that was Saturday – 4 hours work and a quick trip to the dump to get rid of all the grasses and also the perennial weeds.  Well timed as the heavens opened as I left the dump.


Sunday has also seen rain but in short bursts with long periods of sunshine in between.  However, due to the amount of rain we have had over the past week and the incredibly heavy downpour last night it really wasnt practicable to work in the main garden.  Saying that I still managed to dig up the Witch Hazel which has been died all year.  I only bought it in January but for some reason it turned up its toes very quickly and the fact that it snapped when I went to dig it dispelled any thought that it might still be alive.  I had decided, more mid night pondering, to move a Magnolia stellata which was being crowded out and also competing with my neighbours trees.  Hopefully in its new location it will be happier.

I also had a quick trip to my local plant centre which is just wonderful.  I went to buy some cyclamen to replace the fibrous rooted begonias in the large square planter on the patio.  I got the cyclamen but also some more terracotta pots for the bulbs and three conifers.  Yes I know conifers are meant to be out of fashion and I have never been a fan but I have been thinking that some prostrate conifers in the fence border was the right thing so I bought them.  I will post about them in the future once they are planted up.



Blooming Friday – Christmas

I thought I would join in with Katarina’s weekly meme – Blooming Friday – the theme this week is not surprisingly Christmas.  I must start my apologising as my photos are not up to my normal standard.  It is gloomy outside and the camera flash etc has caused shadows etc but there you go.

Anyway, me and flowering houseplants isn’t the best of combinations.  In fact me and houseplants of any kind isn’t a great mix and to be honest I am often surprised at how many keen gardeners struggle with houseplants.  However, at Christmas I do like to have a couple of flowering plants in the house to add some colour and to make everything that little bit more special.

The Azalea above is a gift for my uncle and aunt but I am enjoying it before I pass it to them on Boxing Day.  They are both in their 80s and difficult to buy for, after all there are only so many biscuits you can give!!  I am hoping that my Aunt may be able to plant the Azalea out in her garden in the spring and get some more enjoyment from it.

I have the obligatory Poinsettia although it will be a miracle if it lasts to Christmas Day.  I made the mistake of buying it on a freezing cold day and I suspect the plant was shocked by the blast of cold air during its transportation home.

The final flowering houseplant which is holding on, just, to its flowers is a cyclamen which is in the bathroom.  It was originally in the dining room but I think it is too warm in there for it so I have moved it to the cooler bathroom but it still isn’t looking too perky!  Funnily enough I have half a dozen cyclamen  in the greenhouse which I grew from seed just over a year ago and I am hoping will provide  some colour next Christmas.

Finally I shall leave you with a photo of my garden assistant who has adapted quite well to assisting with wrapping Christmas presents although she has a penchant for removing bows

For more Blooming Friday posts visit Roses  and Stuff

I leave you with Seasons Greetings and I hope you and your loved ones have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2012