Monday, 22 April 2013

First road trip of the year: Part 1

Having had the first shopping trip last weekend, this weekend was the first plant road trip; to visit Keith and Melissa's garden and a cactus mart. In part 1, I'll cover Keith and Mels garden. I have posted about their garden before (here) and visit at this point each year. Obviously it is totally the wrong time of year to visit an exotic garden in the UK; nothing is out or growing, and the plants are still showing their winter damage. There is always something new to see though.

It is unfair to show the jungle and pond sections (to the front and left of the house), the ferns are not out and nothing is up, so I am concentrating on the new arid bits which are down the right hand side of the garden. When you come out of the side of the house you see the current project, or one of them, the sunken garden (the house is to the right of this picture). The building in the photo is the new cactus house and will all be planted. Neither of these were built this time last year, just the end wall with the lean-to greenhouse against it. The rest of the area was a sloping lawn / storage area.

Turning slowly left you have the lean to greenhouse against the end wall of the cactus house, then the big greenhouses.

You can see the green roof in the lower left hand corner of the photo, which I'll come back to. Continuing around you can see the new planted bits. If I remember correctly these were laid out last year, but not build or planted.

Then looking at the planted bits from in front of the large greenhouse

I tend to visit this time each year and it is amazing to think that last year, the lean-to and the big greenhouse was up and the there were piles of gravel where the landscaping was roughly going to happen, but that was it. Given they do everything themselves, on top of the general garden maintenance, it is an amazing amount of work.

Looking back towards the greenhouses, you can see the different paths. You can also see the different levels and how much work there has been to create the flat and sloped sections.

and a bit further along, the bank starts to curve around in front of the house.

You can see the various covers placed over plants to keep the snow off. Most of the plants under them seemed fine and hopefully the covers can come down soon. I can't remember every seeing them up this late.

The green roof is a mixture of alpines, aloes, agaves and cacti. They are all looking very healthy given the time of year and the winter they had.

The alpines in the rest of the garden look good as well. I am pleased to see these mounds got through without any protection and almost 2 weeks covered in snow. 

The beds are a bit bare at the moment as everything is still in the green houses, this is the lean to

The cactus house is not planted yet, they haven't been able to move the other plants out to get into it. The view in is still pretty good

Now some of the plants. All the aeoniums where either in flower or just looking good. Her aeonium nobile has got big, just to rub in the fact I lost mine this winter.

There are so many agaves, it is hard to select just one.

This aloe saponaria variegata looks almost identical to mine, they obviously have a tendency to get more variegated as they mature.

The next one is aloe suprafoliata in its juvenile form, we both got seedlings from the same batch so there is always a little competition between us.

There seem to be a lot of gastoveria x aloes around in the UK now the next one is called 'floe'

Finally an aloe I picked up for her a few years back.  She asked for something big with offsets, this is what I found:

Every time I pop over she suggests I re-pot it.  As it was such a lovely day on Sunday, I thought it was time I did. We spent a couple of hours splitting off the pups and cleaning them up. There were 24 plants in all:

They were all packed into a crate to dry for a few days and then some will be planted out, some potted up and I imagine a few given away. One may have come home with me.

Finally one of the signs she has made for the garden, I like both the message and the way a pot has been encased and then planted up. 

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