Fuchsia arborescens

I’ve decided to go into hibernation for a little while.  I will be in a reconditioned badger sett, lined with cosy blankets and well stocked with good books, fine gin and cheese and onion crisps.  No dramas, no problems, no worries.  See you soonish!

Meanwhile here is the amazing Fuchsia arborescens for your admiration.


Heuchera 'Palace Purple'

Taking photos in bad weather is challenging.  At the best of times I am an inveterate speedy snapper.  My theory is that the more photos taken, the more likely at least one will be in focus.  When it is raining this procedure cranks up a gear.  I wrestle my camera from beneath layers of waterproofs, point it in the general direction of the subject, press the button a couple of times, return it to the relative safety of its pouch and hope for the best.  Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ was one of today’s better results.  Bearing in mind the incessant mist, mizzle, drizzle and torrential rain, I think it worked out quite nicely.

Now I have to find an excuse for the poor fine weather photos ….

Six on Saturday – Letters

red hydrangea

Here we are again, happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company.  That’s right, it is Six on Saturday time again.  For anyone who has spent the last year lost in The Empty Quarter, or perhaps has been undertaking a silent vigil in a monastery somewhere deep in the Himalayas, and have missed this phenomenon, then I will explain what it is all about.  A certain gentleman called The Propagator has cast a spell over an increasing number of us innocent mortals.  It is not confined to the UK, his power extends across the globe and I have an inkling, even further.  This enchantment compels us to share six things that we find in our gardens every Saturday.  The only way to escape is if you have a note from your mum, a consultant surgeon or Gandalf.  As I haven’t managed to get any of these folk to co-operate this week, here are my SoS.  By the way, pop over to Mr P’s blog where you can not only read his contribution, but also those from his other captives.

First we have a hydrangea.  In the summer this shrub is a cheerful cherry red, small in stature but perfectly formed.  In early autumn it darkens to a deep maroon and now, as the gales have battered and desiccated, it has begun to turn the colour and texture of cornflakes (pre-milk).


Last week I planted some garlic in this trug.  It was a little later than I had planned to, but that is the way it goes in my world.  To some this container, with its invitingly soft compost, might look like a litter tray.  Yes, Fat Ol I’m looking at you!  Hence the sticks.

Pittosporum 'Tom Thumb'

A genera that has (not literally) grown on me is the pittosporums.  We have one in the front garden, it was in place when we arrived.  Luckily it is the diminutive Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ and has barely grown in the ten years we have been here.  Its glossy burgundy leaves, frill edged, are especially welcome in the winter months.

Variegated Oleander

This variegated oleander rarely flowers.  It produces buds which just sit there waiting for some appropriate Mediterranean weather to open.  Which is extremely optimistic.  However it does over-winter outside with no extra protection.  Perhaps I should I say “so far”, I am a demon for tempting fate.

Bee House

Last Christmas I gave this little bug hotel to my OH, in reality is it more bijou B&B than Hilton.  Every so often I have a peer into it to see if anyone is in residence.  Other than a few spiders, I haven’t seen anyone yet.  Perhaps the leering human is putting them off.

Vinca 'Jenny Pym'

Last of all is the wonderful Vinca ‘Jenny Pym’.  The moment I set my eyes on this periwinkle, on a garden visit a couple of years ago, I was smitten.  Once I found a specimen and planted it out, I duly forgot all about her.  This is my fickle nature.  That is until this morning.  I see that she has done very nicely without my continuing doting.

Thanks again Mr P, for keeping us in order.  Now how about a letter from The Pope?  Does that count?


Babes in the Wood

Euphorbia x martini 'Ascot Rainbow'

Unlike most of its compatriots, there is one planter at The Farm that will not be emptied for the winter.  This re-purposed concrete water trough contains a couple of Euphorbia x martini  ‘Ascot Rainbow’  and a trio of the golden-eyed blue daisy, Felicia amelloides.  The euphorbia is tough as old boots and although might look a little tatty by the end of the winter should resprout bright new foliage in the spring.  The felicia however is more sensitive and may or may not make it through.  However a few weeks ago I took some cuttings and have six well rooted plantlets cosied up in the greenhouse.  Today I noticed that a thick covering of beech leaves had been blown over the plants, covering them in a warm duvet.  Like babes in the wood they should be safe under their blanket until the spring.  We will see.


What Happened Next? – Once More

Carpenteria californica

Well, Weatherpeople, you got that completely wrong didn’t you?  No rain, you promised.  None.  And I foolishly believed you.  After yesterday’s wall to wall miserable mizzle, you said that today would be better.  That much was true, I suppose.  It was better, but by no means best.  Weatherwise anyway.   The rain started mid morning and got progressively worse.

Luckily myself and Max’s dad were shopping.  That was much more successful.   The haul included Cistus x corbariensis and a delusional Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’.  The rose label described it as a repeat flowering climber to 3m.  It can actually reach well over 10m in height and flowers only once, although admittedly spectacularly.   Some other purchaser might be in for a shock when they plant it at the base of a wicker pyramid.

Then we were onto the builder’s merchant for compost.  A short walk from here and we were at another garden centre where we bought two statuesque grasses, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ and Miscanthus sinensis ‘Graziella’, in their full autumnal splendour and a fine specimen of the crested male fern Dryopteris filix-mas ‘Cristata’.  It was also here that we purchased our plant of the day, perhaps even of the year, a Carpenteria californica.  When I spotted this 2.0m tall absolute bargain (£19.99 if you must know) I staked my claim, guarding it like a Pit Bull, whilst MD found a trolley.  No one was going to steal this one away.  And they didn’t get near.  I know some of you will be familiar with this Californian beauty and others will realise that our climate here is far from West Coast USA, however I am hopeful that it will thrive in our care.

Our spoils were crammed into the car and we headed home.  We got back to the garden and waterproofed up to do some work.  After half an hour pretending to do something constructive in the heavy rain Max’s Dad said “fancy going inside for a cup of tea and a chat about plants?”.   What happened next?

Better Late Than Never

Impatiens flanaganae

A welcome day off.  After a wander down to the harbour followed by a bit of shopping, I thought that for a change I could do some gardening.  In my own garden.  I have spent the last few weeks preparing gardens for the imminent winter, protecting plants and where possible moving them undercover.   Just not here.

It was a bright morning, very cold though no frost yet.  A couple of degrees less and we could be in trouble.  This threat nudged me into action.  Pots were moved, detritus swept up, the hopeless disposed of, the minuscule greenhouse packed, others snuggled in groups ready for a fleece throw when needed.  It was a start.  Of course it might also be an end.

Impatiens flanaganae has begun flowering, better late than never.  I’m afraid there is “no room at the inn” for this South African beauty, my tiny greenhouse is full, I’m sure it will be fine in the stable.