Tuesday, 3 May 2016

How amazing is this.

Visiting a friends garden, Crete Lodge exotic garden, at the end of last year, Mel pointed out these. It seems if you leave aloe striatula seed pods for a year this is what you end up with.

 I am going to have to try this.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Back after winter break, with updates on the succulent rockeries

As usual I lost interest in plants over winter and had even less interest in computers. Come spring my interest re-emerges as the plants start to wake up. So for the last few weeks I have been busy out in the garden and thought it was time to start posting again. 

It has been the busiest start to a year since the building work, most of it working on the front garden to change it from this:

In to something that resembles a garden. More on that next time.

I figured for my first post of the year I should focus on how the succulent rockeries are doing. We had the mildest and wettest winter on record.  Given last years problem with the fungus attacking the agaves and yuccas, I was concerned this would not be good. In fact with two very minor exceptions the plants show no sign of fungus damage. You can imagine how relieved I am.

The cycad rockery looked as good as well.

Everything has really grown over the last year and this has caused a few problem areas. The first can be seen in the photo above. That yucca was tiny when planted and while I know it would grow, I didn't expect it to grow so quickly.  Here it was this time last year.

So they have now outgrown the space and it wont be long until they cause even more problems.  It seemed sensible remove them now, especially as I wanted a yucca or two for the front garden. So out they came.

Look at how much the echeveria elegans have grown.  To think they were single plants when planted, should be a great sight when they all flower.

So what to plant to fill that space.  Something with structure but nothing that is going to grow and obscure the rest of the plants or grow out into the path again. Step up problem area number 2.

The aloe polyphylla is looking amazing, not only has started to properly spiral, but it has grown big.  I guess last years feeding program really did work.  Despite not being protected there is not a single bit of damage. The problem is that it's now starting to impinge on the echeveria agavoides red edge. These have also grown and really no longer fit the space.

They look great between the stones and I was torn about moving them, but the new pups are forming under the rocks and it is only going to get more cramped.  Plus taking them out at this time of year will mean they have the whole summer to get settled and it will be better longer term.  So out they came, and a short move over to the cycad rockery.

For a while I thought they looked too small and would get lost, but they can now be seen and have space to grow even more.

It has really grown on me in the days since planting it up.

So two problems down, a few more to go.  Next up the clash between the new smaller yucca rostrata and the kniphofia.

This was easy, the kniphofia caulescens was pulled out and again conveniently fitted perfectly into the front garden. There just happened to be the perfect plant sitting waiting to be planted, ironically it was going in the front but really deserved to go somewhere it could be enjoyed. It is a large (by UK standards) agave ovatifolia.

No doubt it will grow, and given we sit on that wall may have to be corked when we have friends around. But it looks perfect there.

Given it is only the start of May I am pleased how good everything is looking.

I still can't get over the aloe polyphylla, how did it get that big without me noticing.

There are still a few areas to sort. I need to remove the camassia leichtlinii, it is too messy and doesn't work in front of the agave filifera. Finally we are considering painting the wall a different colour.  Having see a friends garden where they have purple wall, I am tempted by that. The plants will show up better and it will bring a splash of colour into the garden. 

That last one still needs to be signed off but hopefully I will get permission. Either way the garden should take big leaps forward this year.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Finally may have some time

Between holidays, work trips and trips to Yorkshire to visit in-laws, there has not been much time to garden let alone post here.  I will have to catch up on what has been going on, especially the trips.  Without doubt the best was a trip to Crete Lodge Exotic Garden in Norfolk.  Here is a teaser.

Expect Dalmatians, statues, and lots and lots of succulents.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Return to the dasy

You'll have to forgive the lack of posts, another trip to Tanzania for work.  The problem of going away for two weeks is that the other projects build up, so you get back to a desk piled up and then have to slog through everything.

Thankfully the garden looks after itself and is looking great.  The joys of succulent rockeries requiring no maintenance. 

The dasylirion serratifolium flower is now in the cherry tree, but at least it has stopped growing.

The flowers are starting to open and very disappointing.  I would have put more effort into the flowers and less in the stalk. 

The bees however seem to disagree.  The whole stalk buzzes and everywhere you look there are bees. It doesn't seem to smell too strongly and the colour is not super bright, but something is working for them.

Many of them have leg sacks full of pollen.

The garden is full of bees, they are on every succulent that is flowering.

The other plant they are loving is the euphorbia

All these bees are a good thing, and promising for the future. I found at the last house,  that once the bees found a plant they would return in force the following years.  Sadly they will be disappointed to find the Dasy not flowering next year.

The irony of all these bees, is that the only plants go no where near are the flowering plants I bought especially for them! It just goes to show, even the bees think that succulents are the way forward.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The wrong flush

There are two cycads in the rockeries; one large and one small.  They tend to flush on alternate years, so there is always something to look at.  Last year it was the tern of the smaller, which was posted here.

This year was the turn of the big cycad and so it has been checked regularly, but nothing.

The centre looks better than it ever has, but not a single sign of a flush. 

Then the small one.

They never do that, there is an order: large - small, large - small.

I'm guessing it has more to do with the state of the leaves than anything else.  Last years flush didn't like the winter and there is a lot of damage.

They say if you want your cycad to flush then cut all the leaves off.  It seems damaging them over winter is just as good.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

More circles

They seem to be appearing all around the garden, from the circular seating area and most recently the moss circles (from the post here.) Can't resist showing the photo again.

The front garden gives more opportunities to bring in circles.  There will be a circular raised bed for a start, and lots of mounding plants in the gravel.  Two that will definitely be added:

This arenaria aurea seems fairly keen to stay in a circle anyway and the white flowers will go well in the white garden.

Gypsophila aretioides may provide a different challenge, to keep it perfectly circular or to let it just grow how it wants.

No surprise here: scleranthus biflorus. The watering is working, now it is just the big winter test.  There is one in a pot and one in the ground, so hopefully that should give an idea of how it copes.  The one in the pot is growing in a perfect circle, the one in the ground is a bit all over the place.  So may need to select the plant carefully and look at how to keep it nice and circular.

This got me thinking about what other plants could be grown in circles, maybe by giving them something to grow in.  Looking through the greenhouse I spotted the copper slug rings.  They come in different sizes and could be half buried in the gravel or rested on top to give slight different heights.

Photo from slugrings.co.uk
Now for plants. Sempervivums form nice clumps and the smaller forms could be contained by the rings.  It just happened there was a good clump of sempervivum arachnoideum cobweb that needed a new home, so time for a test.

Will be interesting to see if it can be kept within the ring.  There needs to be more, whole groups.

I probably have enough small semps to fill a few of these, but it opens up a whole range of small plants. I am thinking of doing a run of them up the centre of the parking space. Need to get a few more and try joining them together to give large sizes, then the fun can start properly next spring.

So what other plants would work well in these?

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Aloe polyphylla update

You may remember my post on the non-spiralling aloe polyphylla.   You can see the posts here. It has had a good summer so far, the extra water has meant no brown tips to the leaves, which is a first.

The big news is that there is the first signs of a spiral.

It is like one of the hidden pictures, sometimes it leaps out, other doesn't seem to be there.

It has been a long wait, I'm sure most spiral much earlier than this. As long as it gets there in the end everything is good.