Tag Archives: succulents

Santa’s succulents

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Ever bought a gift for someone near and dear you rather fancied for yourself?  No?  Just me?

As Christmas loomed near I realised I’d spent a fortune on the ‘kids’ but not a lot on the OH.  As he professes an interest in succulents, I suddenly thought if I could find some plants online I could plant them up in a wire tray I already had, and make an extra gift that I would like too.

A little Googling found the http://www.surrealsucculents.co.uk site.  And after a happy half hour browsing their lovely site (see photo from the site below) I put in my order,

Echeveria ‘Chocolate’IMG_9796

Crassula arborescens ‘Blue Bird’,IMG_9792

Aeonium ‘Velour’IMG_9798

and lastly (a rather chewed looking) Haworthia ‘King.’IMG_9794

They’re currently tucked up in the greenhouse, unlike the rest of the collection which is still outside under the glass canopy.IMG_9800

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There are few single pots too which I’m planning to swap in when I get round to it – Echeveria ‘Pearl of Nuremberg,’IMG_9805

and here again with close relative, Echeveria ‘Duchess of Nuremberg’ (back).

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And lastly my absolute favourite, Echeveria ‘Blue Waves.’IMG_9803

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.

Greenhouse gratification – March

Greenhouse (2)Now I know I’m a very lucky girl to have such a lovely large greenhouse but it’s amazing how it fills up.   I’m already wishing away the days until I can be confident we’re frost free and I can put out all the succulents and pelargoniums which are currently occupying a significant amount of space.

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Because of ongoing problems with the ankle I’ve been unable to do anything too strenuous and so have gone a bit mad with the seed planting.

First I updated my ‘Seed 2014’ spreadsheet to discover I have well over one hundred seed packets from Chilterns, Seaspring Seeds, Derry Watkins, Jekka McVicar, Sarah Raven and the RHS.  What was I thinking?

Secondly, I treated myself to a heated propagation mat, something so toasty I imagine the seeds are happy even when I’m not there keeping them company.  And thirdly, I’ve been planting.  Largely according to Maria but I have strayed occasionally (please don’t tell).

Already many seeds are popping up – certainly the sweet peas planted in February are well on the way – they’ve been pinched out and are bushing out strongly.  A second wave (in the round pots) clearly has some way to go, but the tomatoes will soon need potting on.  I’ve also already planted aubergine (Turkish Orange) and Peppers (Marconi and Mini Belle Yellow). I’ve never done that well with either in the past, but last year it was definitely because I planted too late.

I have also in the past planted the Padron Peppers, which I adore fried in the bit of olive oil and lots of sea salt, but after eating literally over a hundred when I was in Madrid recently, I’m not sure they like me as much as I like them, so I think I might give them a rest this year!

And to finish, to give even me greenhouse envy, see below a shot of one of the glasshouses at the stunning West Dean gardens taken last year.  Is it just me, but do you find that more appealing than a box of chocolates?

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