Thursday, 3 October 2013

Spot the dalmatian

Ok so that one was a bit easy.

I have posted about Keith and Mel's garden before , usually I end up visiting at the end of spring, before the covers are off.  Like this post.

Mel is the remaining bad influence in my plant buying, so visits usually revolve around some shopping trip.  If it's not plants it's dalmations and they have just picked up two new puppies.  Both are deaf, which makes life interesting when they are charging around and you can not shout at them to stop.

I am sure the dogs will make an appearance in the post, so keep your eyes open.

So the sunken garden is finished and even after only a couple of months looks fantastic.

You can literally walk around and want to take a photo of every plant, which of I did, but a few highlights.

Agave ovatifolia, with dalmatian

aloe polyphylla & agave parryi

The cycad corner
Keith does most of the hard landscaping, and Mel then decorates and plants it.  Each section has a different panel.

 There are lots of fun things hidden in the walls when you look closely


This is the view from their kitchen door

Mel tends to worry about me left alone in the green houses, so she sets guards to protect them.

The boards are to stop the puppies going inside, as they started to show too much interested in some of the plants.

Both the tall cacti were rescued, but seem very happy now.

 I love the low coloured wall.  The light doesn't tend to be bright enough for much colour like this, but it really works here.  If nothing else I will be steeling the idea a similar type of wall in the new garden.  

Anyone who tries growing succulents outside in the UK will loose plants every now and then, but it's always worth keeping solid sections of trunk as you never know what will happen.

Outside again and a tour of the different parts to the garden. The right hand side is a bamboo forest, not a bad place to sit.

This swimming pond was their project a few years back. The hut the other side is made out of a set of electricity poles Keith found got from recycling site.

The fireplace is another of Mels creations.  If you get bored of sitting by the pond, you can move up to the summer house, just visible on the left hand side of this picture.

Continuing around you get to the succulent bank.

Sadly they lost a couple of large yuccas over the last bad winters, the problems of trying to really push what you can grow. It is slowly filling out again and there is always something ready to fill an empty spot.

The bank curves around to run down the side of the house to the newer bits.  It has been so tough weather wise, there are several casualties.

Did you spot the dalmatians?

I mentioned that everywhere you look there are fun bits, a fish on a electricity pole. I love that they have left the warning sign on the pole.

Some of the agaves are getting big now, I've not seen an agave mitis this large in the UK.

No agave likes being in the ground as much as agave montana.  There are quite a few dotted around.

Then into the new bit, which was only finished last year.

Every time I see an agave potatorum it strikes me how good a plant they really are.  Another of the overlooked plants I think.  They are marginal in the UK, getting through in the warmer parts, but do best with rain covers.

This echeveria has formed nice clumps. The colour contrasts really well with the other plants in the bed.

On the way up to the greenhouses the green roof, well sort of green roof, is doing well.

It is funny seeing it at the end of summer, the plants shining are different from those in spring when it was the alpines strutting their stuff.

Finally looking back down the garden.

For the first time, I didn't really need to go in the greenhouses as everything had been moved into the garden. Being the end of summer also meant the more jungle sections of the garden were worth photos.  Going down the other side of the house are two walled gardens. Looking into the first one.

With another bench to relax on.

Then the jungle garden.  it is so lush, the photo doesn't do it justice. There is a jungle hut in there, but you will do well to spot it.

As you can tell, they garden takes a huge amount of work, and everyone helps out.

Don't be fooled though, The second you take your eyes off them, they are off looking for trouble again.

During all the times I have visited I have never seen Keith relaxing during the day.  There is always a new project, so I will end with the rarest photo of all.

I asked if the garden was now finished, and although there may be a short rest, I think Keith has his eye on a fernery. Well I guess not everything can be spiky.


  1. WOW!! Have u ever given tours (paid that is)? The hardscape as well as the succulents are gorgeous!!! and yes, I spotted your 4 legged friends as well...

    1. HI, it is not my garden, but I know Mel and Keith have done tours, both in larger groups and when people are going to be passing and just want to pop in. They are on Facebook and have a website found under Create Lodge Exotic Garden.

  2. Esta fofura de cachorro não machucam as plantinhas?

    belo jardim!

    1. If translate is working correctly, I think you are asking if the dogs damage or get hurt by the plants. They are currently only allowed in the sunken garden, I think they started to dig up some of the plants in the cactus house. So get supervised in the rest of the garden to avoid problems.

  3. Very cool garden! Thanks for sharing. Looks like a botanical garden!!

  4. Random request, but I collect Danger of Death signs, and having seen the one on the electricity pole in the above post, is there any chance you'd be willing to sell or contribute to my collection?

    1. I will pass your message on to Mel and Keith, but I am guessing they will say no, as everything they do is very deliberate, so they will have left the sign there deliberately.