Friday 14 September 2012

The horror!

Weeds in my pots!

Everywhere I look there are weeds growing, in some places it is almost jungle like:

Yes I finally got time to go out and have a good look at my plants and it is amazing what can happen in a few short weeks. Most of the plants seem perfectly happy, as do the snails, who have very expensive taste.  Remember my lovely echeveria subridgida x peacockii hybrids:

They don't look so good now:

Sadly the one plant that has not coped with the move is my little clump of scleranthus biflorus sso uniflorus.

It is not such a lovely little clump anymore:

If I only loose one plant from the move then I will not have done too badly. Now where are my trusted tweezers when I need them. 

Friday 7 September 2012

Agave hybrids: part 2

Looking though the photos of my purchases from the BCSS national show, I noticed that all my agave purchases were hybrids.  It was not planned, I purely bought plants that caught my eye on the day.  Part 1 of this post was on my friends a. obscura x a. lophantha hybrids, maybe it was being given these on the day of the national show that subliminally put hybrids into my head. The first purchase was a. isthmensis x colimana. You can't see the good red margins to the leaves in this photo.

The second purchase was one of the few a. bracteosa hybrids, A. 'Mateo'. I don't have a photo. but it is basically a wide leaved bracteosa with a pale mid stripe.  The final purchase is probably the stand out plant. I pointed it out to a friend to find out what it was, and he bought it, leaving me a much smaller one.  I wont be making that mistake again. It is a. macroacantha x appalanta

Looking at the photos reminds me I must pot them all up.  One of the strangest things about being in limbo while the new house is re-wired, is not being able to pop outside to look at the plants. Hopefully this weekend I will be allowed some time off to play in the garden and take some photos. I need to get going on the greenhouse for everything this winter, otherwise none of these new ones will survive.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Agave hybrids: part one.

Agave flowers in the UK used to be rare, with the amount of collections and time many growers have had their plants, they are getting more common every year. I know many people who have had not just one plant flower but several.  Once flowering, the ultimate dream for many growers is to produce a hybrid. So It is no surprise that more agave hybrids are coming on the market all the time, some purposely produced, others lucky coincidences. 

Once such event happened with a good friend.  His a. obscura came into flower and he managed to get hold of some pollen from a. lophantha. I was offered some of the resulting seed, but not having much luck with seeds I waited until there were some young plants. They seems to fall into two groups, one with a well defined mid stripe, the other with darker spines.

The one on the right has nice dark teeth and for me is the nicer of the two forms. I prefer good teeth to central stripes and it has a more defined look:

I am sure the donor will be asking for regular updates to check he hasn't given away the best plants. Mind you he has a few spares, plus a few hundred seeds left.

Monday 3 September 2012

British Cactus & Succulent Society National show.

It only happens every four years, so I have been looking forward to it all year.  The fact it was happened 3 days after we moved house, was not great timing, but my OH very kindly said I should go anyway.  It could not have been more suitable weather, the sun was shining for the first time in a while and even at 9.30am the hall was already warming up. 

The event consists of a show and a large plant sales area. This is only the second time I have attended and it amazes me how large some of the show plants are.  I think this agave was there last time, it is going to take years until mine are this size:

There were some nice variegated plants as well:

I liked this hybrid as well (sorry about the blurred photo):

It is rare to see manfredas, and this one was totally new to me, (another one for the list):

I always end up trying to photograph this aloe, only for it not to work:

The cacti were well represented as always:

This one was huge:

I was a little disappointed by the echeverias, this e. subridgida was the stand out plant in the group for me:

This dudleya caught my eye as well

There were lots of euphorbias:

As always at these shows, there is one plant you didn't know you needed.  This time it was pachypodium brevicaule.

Having seen it I went around the stalls until I managed to track one down.  Sadly it was no where near this size and was the most expensive plant I bought.  Can you spot it in my little box of plants:

I think I was very restrained given all my new available space.  I'll do another post on the echeveria agavoides 'romeo' (bottom left) and the hybrid agaves.

Saturday 1 September 2012

The big move

I finally have a bit of time to sit down and post about the move.  We have been planning it for such a long time, then suddenly it seemed to go from nothing happening to actually moving overnight. It was a great relief when the previous owners agreed that we could have access to the garden a couple of days before we legally became the owners. This allowed all the plants to be moved over the weekend, with the actual house move happening on the Monday.

A while back I bought 10 fold up crates, the idea being that I could fill them with the small pots, and probably fit all 10 in one car. They were a huge help, the first consignment was packed up on the Friday night ready for the next day:

Each crate took on average 10 plants, so it was also a simple way to work out roughly how many pots I do have.  Come the first move day my sister-in-law and her two kids very kindly came over to give us a hand.  I was right, all 10 crates fitted neatly in one car, with space for a few extra pots around the edge:

With one car loaded with crates, the other was loaded with larger pots:

The new house is only about 10 minutes from the old one, so everyone jumped in the cars and it was over to the house, a quick unload, and back for a second load.  It only took three trips to get all the small pots over and it was very strange when we had finished to look back at terrace and not see a single pot!

The fence looks so orange without all the pots hanging off it. Not to mention the shed with empty shelves.  A lot of the plants in the shed were too delicate to go outside, so they were moved to my kindly donated parents shed.

Once the delicate ones were settled, it was back to sort the pots at the new house.  I had no idea where they were going to live, so was pleased to find a paved area. It was covered in weeds, and a quick clear up revealed the edge of a brick area. This is actually much nicer than the crazy paving, so not sure why they allowed the lawn to grow over it.  I hoped this would give me enough space for the pots until there was time to sort something more permanent. The first set of pots went in nice and easily:

Sadly it filled up more quickly than I would have liked:

It was a bit shocking to have the whole area filled and to turn around to find the overflow:

Given the old garden was tiny, I couldn't figure out where all these pots were stored before. Then it dawned on me that I used a lot of vertical planting, even just taking the two posts outside the patio doors that was 16 pots out of the way.  Thankfully I have a more space to play with:

The garden faces due East, so it gets the sun all day, which is great for my succulents.  At some point expect to see the whole left hand side of the garden with one long succulent bed. In the short term I need to think about this winter and where to house everything.  What you can not see from the photo is a section of garden about 7m x 5m behind the garage. My current thinking is to just stick a roof over the whole bit and everything can go in there. It will make the garden less interesting over winter, but will also keep everything out of the way while the current flower beds are cleared.

Now all I need is some time off from working on the inside of the house to get out to play in the garden.