These cute plant pots are by Colleen Jordan (Here website). Found them while searching for present ideas, and as they were perfectly planted up with a collection of succulents they had to be shown here.
I am now eyeing my OH's bike for when the greenhouse fills up.
Ok so not something I expected to be blogging about. Mention them and most people tend to think of the horrible Laylandii that got planted as screening all over the UK. This tainted the term for years, but slowly there seems to be a revival. Holidaying in Greece every year when I was young, means the smell of pine forests always bring back good memories. A few years ago Kew Gardens replanted their Mediterranean garden and included a row of stone pines. These have grown into lovely trees and if I had the space I would have a row of them in my garden.
They keep a compact ball shape and that great blue colour. In Europe these are the pines that pine nuts come from. Apparently it takes 4 years for the cones to ripen, and they say agaves are slow. With the lack of space for big versions, bonsai was something I had thought about. I love Japanese gardens and may try to incorporate something into the new garden, but that is for another post. The problem with Bonsai is the skill required to create something special. This ruled it out for me.
Then at Savill Gardens a few weeks back they had this pinus parviflora masami planted in the alpine bed. A lovely little plant, which doesn't seem to need anything to keep it small. The option of using them in a rockery is something I had overlooked. It is easy to forget that they come in all shapes and sizes, including dwarfs. Having done a bit of searching there seems to be a thriving market of new introductions including colourful dwarf varieties.
I'm not sure they would work with agaves, but there must be a way to incorporate them into a rockery somewhere. Looks like another set of pants to look into while planning the new garden.
The clean up has continued and the main echeverias are in place.
The empty spots are for the echeverias that were top cut and are currently in the shame while they root. I like all the miniature varieties which are coming into flower
I am half tempted when the final greenhouse is in place to build a small planting area for them as a permanent display.
So what's the new addition? I have been spending so much time out there that our little mutt has decided she needs some space as well.
She is very much a people dog and hates not being around us when we are in. She kept coming to find me, so I thought I would see what happened if I put a bed in there for her. It didn't take long for her to settle in and she now spends more time in there than I do.
I would say she is guarding the plants, but you can see that is not true.
Having posted about my favourite propagation trick (here) I thought I would show how the plants are doing. So here is the plant on the 23rd of April, just after top cutting.
The three heads were potting up and have now started to root. And the new plants are forming nicely on the stems of the bases.
I tend to strip the leaves off around the new plants, but leave the rest. This seems to give me the best results and quickest growth. It looks like I'll get about 8 plants from that stem. On one of the others it has given a boost to the plants that were already forming, as well creating some new ones.
So along with the three original heads, there should be about 20 new plants. Not bad for one little pot.
This is one of the most sort after echeverias in the UK, and understandably so. It looks great when in top condition, the problem is keeping it that way.
Sadly it is a right pain to keep in the UK; being prone to rot and also winter growth. More often than not you end up with a dead plant or one that looks like this:
Thankfully with a bit of luck it will offset for you.
They are not visible in this photo, but there are another 3 pups around the base of the trunk. I am guessing at some point I will top cut it, letting the pups form a clump. A cluster of these in a nice pot will look good, especially if they are not allowed to get leggy.
If you feel the need to experiment, the leaves also seem to take, but most likely the plants will revert to normal and not be variegated. Time will tell.
I am hoping this means I have at least solved the rot problem, but if not then I should have a backup.
The first (ish) Saturday of May is the Savill Gardens plant fair. It is a chance to meet up with some plant friends, do a little shopping and then look around the gardens. The trick with these fairs is to get there before they open. Usually you can jump the gun and start your purchasing before many other people arrive. The nurseries are usually not very spiky orientated, but there is usually something there that will fit in the garden. Lately it has been named varieties of sempervivum and it was no different on Saturday. By the time we were finished the fair was packed, a few coach parties turned up, which is always good for the fairs.
Shopping done, it was time to look around the gardens. For me the best bits of the garden are the woodland areas, especially at this time of year. One section is full of rhododendrons.
The other area is known for its under planting. This spring it is way behind where it is usually, it was surprising to see how little the ferns and hostas have grown. It did mean the trillium were still looking their best though.
The beds were full of wild orchids, sadly they were not in flower yet, but they were everywhere.
I'm not sure which variety this one is, it had longer leaves and was less speckled than the usual Dactylorhiza we find here.
Then it was onto the alpine section. They have been having a bit of a clear out, so it wasn't as colourful as usual.
One that really caught my eye was this little pinus, I am not sure if you could keep it this small.
The gravel garden was so far behind that only a few of the euphorbias were really putting on a show.
It was a very nice way to spend a blustery Saturday.
As if winters weren't worrying enough, the first one for each plant seems ten times worse. You have done your research and got your plan on how to get it through. Then it is just a waiting game. The worst plants are those that loose their leaves or vanish underground and it is not until they re-appear that you know if they survived or not.
My biggest concern this year was my little pachypodium brevicaule (You can find a picture of what it will eventually look at at the bottom of this previous post). It seemed healthy enough, but without any leaves it is impossible to tell. They are also suppose to be one of the harder varieties to keep. Then this weekend the first leaves appeared.
Spectacular isn't it. I'm not sure if it's funny or sad that something so small can cause such concern. At least I can now relax for 6 months, and next winter will be easier now I know the winter storage works.