Wednesday, 14 May 2014

A major case of plant and gaden envy

One of the main reasons for the weekend in Norwich was to visit Keith and Melissa's garden.  I have posted about it a few times before, mainly here and here. Melissa makes my obsession look like a passing interest, there are succulents EVERYWHERE. Mind you it helps when you have so much space to plant them out not to mention one or two greenhouses.

This is not exactly the best time to visit her garden, the covers have only just come off, and the jungle and fern areas have yet to fill out.  Given the mild winter and early spring it was however looking the best I have seen it on these early tips.

So starting in the cactus house. Lots of very happy plants in here.  It has filled out a bit since the last visit, but there is still space for a few more plants.

This aeonium looks really strange, it seems to be forming new heads, but the rosettes are not opening. I don't think it is a weird flower. 

I have a massive soft spot on this form of agave titonata.  It has a great colour and lots of good teeth and who wouldn't want one that size! Sadly they are not at all hardy and space limits what I can bring inside.

This variegated aloe arborescens is one of the plants that got me totally hooked.  Years ago now, she posted a picture of it and it was love at first sight.   It should have formed an amazing clump by the end of the summer. The cacti on the right  reminds me of "cousin it" from the adams family.

She has recently started planting up unusual pots to enter into her local cactus and succulent society meetings. Apparently no one else does, so she always wins.  This tea cup is one of her larger ones. Her latest was an tiny snail shell.

The cactus house is on the edge of sunken garden.  Both were finished last summer and the mild winter was a welcome break to allow the plants more chance to settle.

The dalmatian puppies are all grown up, but still have their puppy energy. Apparently they are not ones for sticking to the paths and have formed their own tracks through the undergrowth.  Thankfully the sunken garden is mainly dog proof. There are so many lovely plants there including this aloe polyphylla.  It is strange that some spiral young and others take a lot longer (mine seem to be taking their time as well).

The cycad corner still looks great. I can't wait to get my cycads in the ground like this, almost more than anything they add an exotic look.

One of her larger agave parrasana which is almost perfect. It is a good combination with the ice plant and looks really blue against the bright green.

Typically Melissa got there first on the pines, although we have spoken about them before, so maybe I can claim she stole my idea. This dwarf blue one looks great, there are a few around the garden, explaining why Urban Jungle didn't have any when I was looking for them.

The other greenhouses are still in winter mode, so it would be unfair to post any photos in there, instead moving onto the main succulent plantings. Melissa has been trying to convert me to having some cacti outside and this one shows why. It is amazing what you can grow with a simple rain cover for protection.

At this time of year there is a lot of colour, from the alpines.

I am so jealous of these mounds, there are a few scattered around which are all doing well. I keep killing mine, maybe they don't cope with my flood or drought type watering.

Onto the bank and some of the agaves are a really decent size now.  Last summer and the mild winter means there are all in good shape. I am certain it makes a massive difference to hardiness if plants have a good summer to put on some growth and then a gradual led into the cold giving them a chance to shut down.

One of her groups of agave montana, I thought mine looked good, these are even better. I am guessing they must be some of the biggest in the UK.

Back towards the sunken garden on the middle path and there are more pines.  Are you seeing how well they work yet?

If you don't like the blue creeping forms, you can go for one of the cone or bush shapes.

Finally my favourite yucca this year. It is strange I usually just walk past this one, but this year have added it to my list of plants to find.

The middle path takes you via the green roof which was already looking good.  The alpines are just getting going here.

It is always worth the drive to visit the garden and Melissa and Keith are great hosts.  My only complaint is the plant and general garden envy I always leave with.

To finish a couple more pictures of the dogs, I know there are a few dog lovers who look in.


  1. That is one very impressive garden. Imagine how wonderful their garden would be if they lived in So Cal.

    1. They do have to put a lot of work in protecting over winter, and planting out the non hardy stuff. I would love to see what they could manage if they didn't have to.

  2. I love this garden too. The succulents mix so well with the alpines. That's not something you see here in the U.S.

    1. In the UK they are used as perfect fillers or accompanying plants. They have a big advantage of being hardy so not needing any protection. It is also great that they flower at this time of year giving interest while the succulents get going for summer.