Sunday, 28 June 2015

End of June

As June turns into July the garden is once again beginning to look jungly. The Cannas looks like Cannas and not abused leeks, the banana trees are looking majestic and the Tetrapanax do again look like they could take over the world.

NGS garden opening is in full swing and there are loads open all over the place with good reports of openings in Winterton and London. Gardening has also changed from manic pulling out of forget-me-nots to watering whilst wearing shorts and cutting rampant things back

So an end of the month wander

Helianthus salicifolia doing its thing

Tetrapanax and day lily

Greenhouse still rather full of plants that need to go out....somewhere

Paulownias suddenly shooting in the heat

end bed planted out with Ricinus and Dahlias

Shooting bamboos, large Ensete in the planter surrounded by fuzzy red salvias

Bottom pond bed with growing gingers, cannas and mus

and finally the terrace.....huge Musa sikkimensis with the new leaves of Schleffera macrophyllya looking fabulous

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Great Dixter in June

On Tuesday I was lucky to be able to have the time to visit Great Dixter . It was the first time I had visited at this time of the year as usually I go late to see the exotic garden at its best. I am also a big fan of their plant fayre that happens at around this time....go!

I was surprised at how different the garden felt. All the grass was actually a gorgeous meadow full of the most native orchids I had ever seen! Ox eye daisy’s had also self seeded all over the place and helped bring a great soft feel to the planting.

It was also very interesting to see the exotic garden at such an early point of its development. This made me feel better about my own garden as I was thinking that I was late with a lot of stuff and as such the garden looked a little behind, but I realise now this is normal.
They seem to be keeping more and more things out in the exotic garden, and it is very interesting to see the backbone. By the end of the year the garden is so full that you can barely see the path!

I assume this is a giant Schleffera taiwanna which must have been in for ages

Overall Great Dixter is still my favourite garden....more swooning over plants
Some type of variegated brassica which was new to me

I still have a bit of an obsession with Giant Fennels and bought 'Ferula sp 'Cedric Morris'. I hadn't realised how they are summer dormant which is a relief as I thought the slugs were eating them!

Marsh orchids, one of three native orchids I saw there...surrounded by yellow rattle

Ladybird Poppy's

Their nursery is also one of my favourites...I didn't think I wold buy anything but bought the Ferula, Cuphea cyanea (a perennial cigar plant) and Dahlia karma naomi and chocolate. now I just need to find them a place.....

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Echium pininana: phwar

This has been my best ever year for Giant Echiums. I currently have about 13 flowering, the largest being approx12ft tall. Each a giant column of flower, much loved by the bees.

Catching the evening sun
I grow them as much for the foliage as for the flowers, each one making a tall exotic mound of foliage to gather energy before flowering after 1-3 years. This enormous amount of energy then killing the plant.

They actually come from La Palma in the Canary islands where they are threatened in the wild due to habitat loss of their native laurel forests. Surprising to a gardener who grows them and is amazed at how their seeds get, and germinate everywhere!


The cold is their biggest enemy as bad winters can either kill it outright or just take out the growing point. This can be solved with some protection, particularly of the growing point. If the growing point is damaged the plant will still flower but it wont grow tall. Personally I havent had much success with growing them in pots...

They also hate being transplated. I find I can only transplant them when they are young seedlings/plants. Take care when digging them up trying to get all their long root/disturb them as little as possible. Then take off half the leaves, water well and leave to sulk/die for a few days. If young they usually perk up, good luck with anything bigger than a seedling.

A fabulous plant to grow if you have a more sheltered garden, or want an amazing foliage plant.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The June garden: the end of manic planting out and a time for things to grow

I am exhausted! the last month has seen the end of the moving around of established plants and the planting out of all the exotics and annuals. This is one of the main disadvantages of an exotic style garden as you need to be prepared to spend a lot of time in the garden in May. This year I have tried to change things round, and be brave by taking out things that were doing ok, but not thriving. I have also tried to do things properly and ordered (and used)  about 30-40 bags of compost and rotted horse manure to get things off to the best possible start.


The terrace...lots of pots, but lots of plants! I am trying to get some height with the 3 big pots of Musa sikkimensis and 1 Musa basjoo. Schlefferas and Canna. Annoying things being the Cyathea and Butia as they cast their leaves wide and take up a lot of space which make arrangements tricky!

Side wall...Hedychium greenii (so you can see the red leaves from underneath) bananas and a Cyathea

End bed...central planted Musa sikkimensis with Ricinus and front planting of Hedychium densiflorum

Other side of the pond, Ensete (which was probably planted out a bit early as the roots were only just developing) Tall yellow Cannas (Richard Wallace), Ricinus and Tithonia (although I am crying as from 2 packets of seeds I only had about 3 come up!)

 Sarracenias in the greenhouse looking stunningly beautiful
A sun soaked 'glaucous foliage' bed. Huge Melianthus which didn't flower well this year, expanding Rommnea with my new banana grove behind it. Hopefully then padded out with orange Canna (Syngapore girl) ricinus and Canna musifolia

Please note my allotment patch looking dead proper with stuff in straight lines and everything!

The Tetrapanax forest with a Paulownia that has just recovered from a transplanting. I will let it do its own thing for the year and then pollard it next year

Ganesh flanked by 2 sad Musa lasiocarpa. Im not sure how I feel about them as whilst they are fabulous when they flower they seem to be slow into leaf, and will they flower in the UK?
Middle bed....newly planted Musa basjoo grove, giant Miscanthus in the middle, Canna musifolia to pad out

Top dry beds...huge Dahlia imperialis which survived outside and is already 2ft tall.

Furthest bed....a lot dug over to clear for Dahlias, hardy ginger, Ricinus. Huge Kangaroo apple has survived and the Kiwi vine going a bit mental.
Top pond with big flowering Melanoselinum decipens (Parnip Palm). I bought this for the foliage as they looked very exotic at Great Dixter in October however they are also very floriforous. Im not a massive fan of Umberliferas, especially those that look like Cow Parsley but this is ok...I just wish the foliage wasn't yellowing!
The aims of the top veg plot is also to be a cutting garden, and I am rather pleased with these mixed Anenomoes which have been supplying many a vase 

All in all when the sun shines it is looking fab!