Sunday, 30 January 2011

Before and .....

I do not like my front garden very much. It's boring. It's going to change very soon! Having lived here for three years I find myself in need of a new project and this is it! So it's goodbye weed-infested lawn and the crazy-paving retaining slope, hello gravel garden with architectural planting. The challenge here is the wind and salt - just a few hundred metres from the English Channel and with nothing in between, I need to plan for all that nature can throw at me. I'll keep some of the plants - two forsythias and a tough evergreen viburnum that provides a good windbreak. I'll add further windbreak plants such as Laurus nobilis angustifolia and Baccharis patagonica, then set to with smaller groups of plants that can cope with exposed conditions, such as Phormium tenax, Euonymus japonicus, Yucca recurva and Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'.  I can't wait to get going, but will have to wait until the end of term (1st April) to get stuck in to such a large project. In the meantime I can get planning. Here are some snaps of the front garden as it is at the moment...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Glorious Glasshouse

As well as snapping lots of butterflies at Wisley, I took a few pics of plants that caught my eye....

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Winged Wonders

Yesterday I popped up to RHS Wisley in Surrey. A new tradition there is to allow exotic butterflies to flit around the new glasshouse. It's quite a sight, especially as some of them are huge! There were hundreds of people jostling to take photographs. So just for you I set off the fire alarm in order to take these shots....(not really!)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The Demon Barber...

I can't wait to get stuck into the garden now. This winter I left most of my perrenials to die back naturally. I'd like to say this was to give birds food for the winter, and wildlife somewhere to take refuge, but the truth of it is I just found it too cold in November! Come February though, I'll be out there cutting back and clearing up. I have to wait until half term to really get stuck in as I'm a full-time Primary School teacher. By the end of February everything seems to need doing at once, and Mum has to come over and help me out. Mum is the World Champion pruner. Plants quake when they see her coming. Where I slowly snip away at old growth like a hairdresser, Mum goes at it like a thing possessed, stripping plants to their underwear in a frenzy of excitement. Yet everything she touches seems to flourish. There's something to be said for the no-nonsense approach. After all, I turned out okay! Hmm...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fascinating Fasciation!

No, this is not a monster from the new series of Doctor Who, it's a Euphorbia in my garden this weekend. I've seen this happen with several plants in my garden, including Leucanthemum. It's called fasciation, and is due to a hormonal imbalance in the plant. Apparently it can be brought on by frost, which I'm sure is the case. I think it looks quite funky!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

First Garden Visit of 2011

Nymans in West Sussex is one of my favourite gardens, and I'm lucky I can be there in half an hour. Today was the perfect weather for a winter stroll, so after checking the scones were up to standard I embarked upon a leisurely wander around the gardens. Not much in flower, just the odd brave Camellia bud unfurling and a few Daphne flowers, their fragrance only apparent up close. In a few weeks time the Daphne and Sarcoccoca will be wafting along the pathways making visitors turn about trying to identify the source of these divine scents. Anyway, some snaps below...

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Tulate for Tulips?!!

My first bit of gardening for 2011 - planting up some pots of tulips. Now I know it's a bit late, but I'm afraid the bad weather meant I just couldn't / wouldn't venture out to plant them in December. I managed to get some in the borders in November, but I over-ordered (as usual!) so had four bags left unplanted. The thought of trying to chisel out frozen soil from pots was just too much. However, it's been a bit milder in Sussex this week so I was able to brave the elements and whack them in. Will they bloom this year? I hope so - I'll post the pics later in the year! I popped some forget-me-nots on top of the pots for the tulips to grow through so hopefully they'll look quite nice. 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Floriferous Florida

Just a few more snaps from my visit to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens at Easter.