Tag Archives: melianthus major

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2015

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After a week away in, to be honest, rather disappointing weather, it was glorious to come home to spring sunshine and a very springy garden.

Last year I planted Avignon tulips in the Swing Beds, but whilst in isolation, they were stunning, I somehow didn’t like them in context, and so replaced them this year with a number of pinker varieties – Mistress, Pink Impression and Menton.  These ones are Pink Impression, and have definitely made an impression on me!

Alongside the tulips are numerous Euphorbias – here E. Characias in that fabulous zingy lime green.IMG_6935

My old favourite Melianthus major is continuing to flower – there must be a dozen flowers heads on it now.IMG_6918

Nearby the Wisteria is poised, and if the weather continues like this, will be flowering by the weekend.IMG_6919

Something new last year which I never blogged about as they looked rather paltry, were some Fritillarias I planted in the lawn in front of the oak bed.  Last year there were few flowers and a number of those had been flattened by the dog, so I wrote them off as a bad idea.  This year, I do believe they’ve increased slightly and, with the added advantage of the lawn now being smaller because of the new Bronze Bed, they seem more impressive.  I think I’ll add a few more in the autumn.

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In the Grass Bed there is a small patch of unidentified tulips in amongst the forget me nots, with some further bulbs to come.  IMG_6906

In the Drive Bed the Erysimum Ivory Giant originally grown from seed are just starting to flower again.  They got a little leggy but I cut them back hard and they seem to have bounced back.

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Also destined for the Drive bed are these Pulmonaria Blue Ensign.  I bought a pot last year and then divided the clump into three but never got around to planting them out.  I think they’re work well with the Erysimum and paler Narcissis in the Drive Bed – if I can actually get round to getting them in!

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In the predominantly white Shady Bed, two newcomers this year – dainty Anemone Blanda

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and rather more thuggish white honesty (Lunaria annua).

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And to finish a delight of daffs:IMG_6940

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With thanks as ever to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who host all of our GBBD.

Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day – January 2015

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Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time will know how much I love my Melianthus Major (above).  And seeing it in the sunlight today prompted me to join Christine at My Hesperides Garden with her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, even though I’m a day late!

I’ve used my Macro lens, so these photos are close ups, deliberately concentrating on individual leaves, rather than the whole plant.

It’s been interesting to look at foliage rather than flowers today (and just as well at this time of year!) and I’ve been interested to see how much blue/silver toned foliage I have,  including this tiny Pachyveria succulent,IMG_5825

Phlomis italicaIMG_5844

CinerariaIMG_5826

young Digitalis foliage, IMG_5846

Euphorbia mysinitesIMG_5871

Lavender IMG_5853

and Olive.  IMG_5841

The only red at this time of year is the Cornus and the inherited Phormium below.  I’m not really a fan of phormium and I’ve inherited four.  One I think I should really have out, but the rest provide good structure, so I’ll probably leave them alone this year.IMG_5832

My lovely Stipa tenuissima grasses are looking quite dead, but they will return!   Meanwhile they’re still providing lovely movement along the back of the grass bed.  I’ve combed them through but don’t usually cut them back.  They should start regrowing fairly soon.IMG_5849

One plant I don’t think I’ve ever featured before is another inheritance, a bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus.  This has got quite large now but I’ve read you can’t prune too severely as it won’t regenerate from low down (a bit like lavender) so I think I should give it just a light trim this year, immediately after flowering, to try to keep it in check.IMG_5864

And to finish, I guess these catkins are strictly flowers, but somehow they sit better here than on GBBD!  These are the lovely catkins of Garrya Eliptica, also known as the Silk Tassel Bush.

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With thanks again to Christina for hosting this lovely meme.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – January 2015

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So, a funny GBBD – I seem to have a mix of ‘expected’ early spring flowers, like the Iris Gordon, above and belowIMG_5756

together with some tender, hot climate flowers that you think would know better.  For example Melianthus major has just decided to have a second flush of flowers right now:

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But to continue with ‘expected’ flowers, I have a only a few hellebores so far –

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Correa backhouseana,IMG_5775

the odd Clematis Freckles, IMG_5788

and my one paltry Witch Hazel, Hamamelis, (could be Arnold’s Promise, but now starting to doubt it after Chloris said it was the last to flower…)IMG_5770

Less expected at this time of year are succulent flowers.  These are in the (unheated) conservatory.  Two SempervivumsIMG_5749

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and an Aeonium.IMG_5751

Meanwhile, outside, Anisodontea capensisIMG_5796

two Grevillea,IMG_5792

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my incredibly long flowering LeptospermumIMG_5757

and my stalwart Fuschia microphylla.IMG_5779a

And in the greenhouse, in case you’re missing the sun, I’ll finish with Abutilon Orange Marion.IMG_5777

With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts the GBBD.

 

Plotting and planning

 

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Prompted by Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden (and Helen, at the Patient Gardener), I too have spent a happy hour with the felt tips, creating a plan of my plot.

My starting point was a Google Earth photo which I traced and updated with the changes we’ve made since moving in just over five years ago.  What’s surprised me is just how busy the plot is with structures – some inherited, like the office and decking, but others new like the garage, the chicken shed (currently empty of chickens) the greenhouse, and the pergola with swing.  I’m surprised I’ve got any space for plants!

Unlike Cathy and Helen, I haven’t marked many plants at all, but instead thought I’d go round the garden from top right, sharing some favourite photos of each of the beds from the past year.

So, to start with, the veg bedsIMG_3852

the swing beds,

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Grass bed (spring, summer and autumn),2013 05 009IMG_2727

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the left hand lavender bed,IMG_2738

the oak bed (spring and summer).  IMG_1302

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the melianthus major,IMG_2645

wisteria,IMG_3643

herb bed,IMG_2060 (2)

hosta bed,IMG_4622

raised cutting beds,IMG_4617

shady bed,IMG_4619

the greenhouseGreenhouse (2)

right hand med bed,IMG_3667

and the troughs.IMG_1406 (2)

So, if you’re still with me, what about the two areas shaded with red dots, described in the key as ‘Decisions’?  Well these are areas where I’m considering removing lawn to create new beds. The first, marked with hose below, looking towards the chicken shed, I was envisaging as a rose and peony bed.  I can’t see this bed from the house (due to the changes in height which I haven’t really conveyed on the plan), but it would be very obvious when looking west from the swing.  And swinging would seem more like a rose time activity than spring or autumn.

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The second potential bed, would be on the northern edge side of the smaller lawn.  As you can see from the oak bed photos above, the bed is good in the spring, but in the summer is less interesting, once the canopy of the over-the-road-oak is established.

The advantage of the envisaged new bed is that the oak’s shadow wouldn’t reach it and so I would have a new, sunny, south facing patch to play with.  If we eat outside, we sit under the verandah (see wisteria photo), and the new bed would be in full view of the table and allow for much more interesting summer planting than I currently achieve in the shady beds.IMG_3646

The planting I imagine here is coppery toned (as a break from all the pink in the rest of the garden), with plants like Bupleurum ‘Bronze Beauty,’ Calendula ‘Sunset buff’, Scabiosa atropurpurea `Fata Morgana’, ‘Hordeum jubatum’ and maybe a rose or two – ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ or ‘Summer Song’.

So any thoughts?  I don’t think funds will extend to both as the lawns are on very heavy clay and we’ll have to dig well down and replace with better quality soil to have any hope of success.

My preference is for the coppery bed.  The lawn here is poor anyway (in many ways I’d like the whole lawn up, but that’s another story) and it would be lovely when eating outside to have some blooms to admire, and maybe some scent too, but what do you think?

End of month view – May 2014

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Everything has, all of a sudden, gone rather bonkers.  All those odd self seeded plants are threatening to take over, but it’s unlikely I’ll live to see it as I will have been strangled by convolvulus long before…

In the right hand Swing Bed above, the roses on the pergola are flowering well.  As some of you know, the idea of the two Swing Beds is that they are generally symmetrical, but this hasn’t been helped by two things.  Firstly, my reluctance to pull out the existing apple tree and secondly, David Austin’s inability to supply two ‘Wedding Day’ rambler roses for the outside uprights.  By a sheer coincidence, I think the rose on the far right is instead ‘Snow Goose’ which I have along the drive bed and was inherited.  Consequently, these two are flowering away, but on the left hand Swing Bed, my Wedding Day rose is biding its time and instead I have the Clematis Josephine (which is a little smothered on the right).  These symmetrical plans are all very well but one does need to be flexible! IMG_2731 This is the Swing Bed looking north.  You can see the Cerinthe is still flowering like mad, but has now been joined by some perennial geraniums, foxgloves and Sisyrinchium striatum. I’m particularly chuffed with the Digitalis ‘Suttons Apricot’ which I grew from seed.   I planted them out last year (having planted the seed the year before), but lost a number to the chickens, and the remainder were all rather nibbled, so last year there were no flowers. However they’re now flowering well, so I guess one positive of the fox getting my poor girls last year, is that I get my foxgloves this year! IMG_2664 IMG_2732 This is the left hand Swing Bed and you can see my solitary lupin, Lupinus ‘Gallery Rose’, and you can also see a massive clump of Sisyrinchium.  The plant was a gift which I split and put a small piece in each bed a couple of years ago.  What’s comical is the fact that in both beds the original clump in the centre of the bed is quite small, but a much larger clump has somehow bullied its way to the front of the border and is now crowding out the geraniums and alchemilla.  I think some judicious ‘thinning’ (binning?) is in order.

What you can’t see in the photo above is my lovely poppy,  I’m pretty sure this is Papaver Patty’s Plum.  It does look a little pink for Patty, but I can’t think that I planted anything else. IMG_2717 IMG_2727 The Grass Bed is having a transformational moment.  I’ve planted Verbascum chaixii album which I grew from seed, all along the back of this bed, but I don’t think they will flower this year.  In front I already have the mad allium, Allium ‘Hair’ (still in bud) and far too many fox and cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca).

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This is a plant I first saw when I took my mother to The Garden House on her 80th birthday.  This instantly became one of my favourite gardens and this plant reminds me of a wonderful garden and a very special day.  However, it is threatening to take over the garden, so I think some more thinning/binning required here.  I think once I’ve got round to taking out the forget me nots I’ll add some annuals from the rather large collection still filling the greenhouse.  But which to choose? IMG_2734 The Diving Lady, introduced in last month’s End of Month View, now has a pool to dive into and something to look at: IMG_2735

The strawberries are ripening so we’ve but some fleece over the whole bed (bottom right of picture above) so that we don’t lose them all to the blackbirds.

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Meanwhile the Shady Bed is looking lush and green (although rather overrun with Honesty seedlings).  There is very little colour here, apart from the rose, which laughs at my ‘Shady’ description.

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This is the bed which epitomises the ‘bonkersness’ of the garden currently.  This is one of the ‘Lavender Beds’ (that’s a name I’ve just made up as they don’t have names, but there are two of them and the path in the middle is lined with lavender).

A number of these plants were inherited (the rose and the paeony for example) but this year all sorts of plants which have been growing around and about, seem to have decided to party in this one bed at the same time.  The Allium Purple Sensations are on their third year and better than ever, the Gladioulus Byzantinus have not previously visited this bed, and the Linaria purpurea and Verbena Bonariensis which were here before, have had a population explosion.  I’m starting to feel I’ve completely lost control, and yet there’s a certain delight in letting them all get on with it.

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The Oak Bed (above) continues to disappoint, but the Melianthus major  is still a joy and the Gladioli here cheer me up.  I think a proper redesign is required for next year.

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I have lots of lovely pots – these Aeoniums were planted by the OH and are very handsome.IMG_2636

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, (which I think will have to be a whole other post) the tomatoes are flowering, but unfortunately they’re still in their 9cm pots…IMG_2685

With many thanks to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting the End of Month meme.  Why don’t you go and check out some other End of Months?

In a vase on Monday – the debut of the little black vase

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Today’s ‘little black vase’, made by the British firm Wedgwood, was inherited from my mother, Mary.   She would often have it filled with home grown flowers in her entrance hall, so I thought I keep up the tradition.

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This week’s vase has Gladiolus byzantinus, (which I picked as they had been knocked over by the recent wind and rain) and Red Valerian, Centranthus rubra, which is growing like a weed at the moment, (indeed some would call it a weed!)  Sadly the flash has bleached the colour in the ‘vase’ shots, but hopefully this close up gives you an idea of true intensity of colour.IMG_2609

I combined the pinks with fennel and the fabulous, glaucous Melianthus major foliage.IMG_2610

With thanks again to Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme – and getting me out in the rain to pick flowers!

 

End of month view – April 2014

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This is my first post joining in with Helen’s ‘End of month view’ meme at the Patient Gardener and it’s also the ‘big reveal’ of areas of the garden as yet kept under wraps.

Firstly, (and nothing to do with the end of month view as she’s there all year) meet the ‘Lady Diver’, another Denis Fairweather sculpture bought for our 25th Wedding Anniversary to keep the ‘Gentleman Bather’ company (see Don’t f-stop me now).  Unfortunately when we got them side by side we realised they were a slightly different scale and didn’t work together, so the lady has been moved to preside over the veg patch.  In retrospect this is probably the secret of a happy relationship – a certain amount of distance!

In this shot you can see the two ‘swing beds’ and at the rear of the picture, the ‘grass bed’.  The highlights of the swing beds this month have been the Euphorbia characias Wulfenii, forget me nots and the Avignon tulips – some in pots and some in the ground.  However, whilst I love these tulips in isolation (they look great in a pot my the front steps), I have found the fact that they clash with both the crab apple blossom (now over) and the pot of pink marguerites (almost in the centre of this picture) rather disconcerting, and I think next year they’ll be replaced by something equally bright but better toning.

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Working east from the swing beds is the strawberry bed which sits below the Lady Diver.  The soil in the bed has definitely sunk considerably since the beds were built four years ago, and this year I meant to dig out the strawberries (which have been in since that time, and are now rather congested) give them a sort out, top up the soil and replant, but somehow with a poorly ankle it just didn’t get done, and now I look and they’re already flowering.  Too late for this year I feel.

Above the strawberries is the main veg bed full of nothing but promise.

IMG_2081 I have hundreds of seedlings growing in the greenhouse destined for here, but this year I’m considering scaling back the veg and scaling up the flowers for cutting.  At the moment the seedlings would easily fill a plot ten times this size, so some difficult decisions will need to be made (or I need to find more space somewhere…)

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Nearer the house than strawberry bed (you can see the strawberry bed at the back of this picture) are the two troughs.  The daffodils are now very nearly over, but the lovely stocks are continuing. Sitting on the swing yesterday I had a sudden burst of inspiration as to what I can do about the dying daffodil foliage – turn the troughs around by 180 degrees.  This should hide the foliage by putting it behind the stocks, put also, it makes sense as at the moment, the emerging Allium Purple Sensations are actually coming up in front of the stocks.  Turning the troughs around would put them behind the stocks.  And come next spring, I can reverse the whole process.  Sounds foolproof, all apart from finding someone strong enough to lift them!

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Sitting on the decking above the troughs is a cold frame made out of some unused windows.  It never got closed this winter as it’s full of hardy things, generally grown from seed by me, including lots of both Verbascum chiaxii Album and Agapanthus.  I desperately need to get planting so that I can 1. free up the space for hardening off and 2. free up the pots for potting on.

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At the westerly end of the decking the OH created a small new bed which has become home for my lovely daylilies bought from Nick at White Cottage Daylilies, just across the harbour in Bembridge.  Obviously the daylilies aren’t doing much at the moment but the Cerinthe (which self seeded and overwintered) is stunning, and I love the little silvery Sedum.

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This is looking due south from the daylily bed towards the chicken shed.  Sadly the chickens got killed by a fox last year and we haven’t yet replaced them.  However the shed is providing a useful support for the Montana flowers.

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The garden is really east and west of the house (at either side, rather than front and back) and the drive is in the middle.  The drive bed, above, which previously was looking very ‘springy’ with lots of daffodils, pulmonaria and a few bluebells, is now looking a little tired apart from the Erysimum.  However there are Alliums to come and then i’ll pop in something I’ve grown from seed.

At the west side of the drive (alongside the porch) is the east facing herb bed.  Many of the herbs survived over the winter – most noticeably the parsley, which goes from strength to strength.

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And round the corner from the herbs, facing north, is the hosta bed.

IMG_2061I’m afraid the ‘Slug Gone’ hasn’t been a complete success as some of the hostas have got a little chewed, but they’re filling out nicely and I’m trying to resist the temptation to reach for the little blue granules…

Further back behind the house is the shady bed:

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The Old Pheasant’s Eye daffs are the highlight here, although there are ferns and hostas emerging (including Blue Mouse Ears, hurrah!)

And at the end of the drive, facing the road, is the greenhouse, but that needs a post all of its own.

To the west of the drive and in front of the house, there is a small lawn, a table, (where the wisteria is) and the so called ‘oak bed’ because the bed spends almost all of its time shaded by the over-the-road oak .  The beds are fine in spring as they get more light, but in the summer once the oak is in leaf I do find them challenging.  My biggest success has been planting a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ (just coming into leaf in the left hand picture), but otherwise the bed is dominated by a large viburnum I’d like to have out, and, at this time of year, a lot of green perennial foliage.

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At the border with our neighbours is my lovely Melianthus major, and also our Wisteria, extending its influence next door.

And lastly, some tender plants I’ve recently moved out from the greenhouse, are also at this end of the garden –  firstly a shallow bowl which sits on top of a large olive oil jar and then a series of succulents in pots in a lovely old wire ‘carrier’ bought from the gorgeous Petersham Nurseries, close to where we used to live.

Many thanks to Helen for hosting this meme, check out her ‘End of the month view’ using the link at the top.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – 15th April

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Like Annette at her Aberdeen Garden, it really is all about the tulips.  Above you can see Tulip Spring Green in the grass bed emerging from a froth of forget-me-nots.  I know some people are a bit sniffy about forget-me-nots but I pulled all mine out last year and then regretted it, so this year I’ve allowed them free rein, and they’ve really gone for it.  Anyway, I seem to recall Christopher Lloyd was a fan, so that’s good enough for me.

There’s also another white tulip in this bed, but it’s very early and has already come and gone.  Conversely, my Narcissi Sinopel, which I bought last year because I was intrigued by its slightly green trumpet, has only just come out – I thought it had gone blind.  However, like last year, the green really isn’t very obvious, and also (as mentioned in a previous post) it does tend to look towards the sun and therefore faces the road rather than the garden, leaving the colour of its trumpet a little academic!

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Three more tulips I bought last year are Apricot Foxx

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and Avignon, together with the species tulip Honky Tonk.  IMG_1754

These latter two are in a huge pot by the entrance steps, sitting just behind my Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’ which just keeps on flowering.  The tulips were supposed to flower successionally, but this beautiful sunny weather has obviously accelerated the Avignons, well ahead of their supposed May flowering.  Sad to think they may well have come and gone by next month’s GBBD.

Another succession which hasn’t quite worked is the Angelique tulips in the pots by the greenhouse doors.  The Minnow Narcissi are still going strong, but the Angeliques are muscling their way in, strange behaviour for something so girly!

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The last tulip is the stunning Doll’s Minuet in a pot by the front door.  Still pink, but somehow not so girly:

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Other blooms to note include Lithospermum ‘Heavenly Blue’IMG_1815 (3)

my Clematis Montana (already!)IMG_1792

the Melianthus Major (this bloom is over six inches long!)IMG_1806 (2)

and to finish, the Wisteria (and Nimbus).

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With thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden who hosts this meme on the 15th of every month.