Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Palm of the day

The Palm of the day prize goes to the Fulham Phoenix, which has been growing away happily outside a block of flats next to Fulham FC for maybe 20 years or so? Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Minimalist Plantsman's Garden?

Firstly, I hope the blog can cope with all these pictures. It's all getting rather photo-intensive here.

I'm very pleased to be able to share these pictures on here. I visited the new garden of Peter Reid for the first time last summer. Peter's garden is based very close to the sea in Lymington, Hampshire. It also holds a very fine selection of rather unusual plants. 

It is first and foremost a private garden, but also a show garden for high quality garden lighting

As you walk in, you are immediately greeted with a very light coloured courtyard. Notable plants in the picture below include; Curculigo, Yucca rostrata, Schefflera macrophylla and Xanthorrhoea glauca (Australian grass tree).

Looking back through the side passage, you can see there are Aspidistra and plain green Ophiopogon planiscapus planted in small 'borders'. The Zantedeschia is a giant form 'White Giant' (more on this one later), in a planting pocket by a circular seating area.

In the other corner, a rare South African tree fern - Blechnum tabulare. This is underplanted with various Aspidistra and Pulmonaria.
The planting is meticulous in this sunny corner, dubbed 'the cycaderry'. The main plant is Cycas panzhihuaensis. Note the ultra-sleek uplighter in the foreground!
I like the combination of Albizia 'Summer Chocolate' with Yucca rostrata and Tulbaghia in this other sunny corner.
I don't think I've been to a garden with this much attention to detail before. Below is a tool store/bench/sundeck. There is enough room to lay down here - I tried it myself, I'm 6'4" and there was room to spare.
An interactive feature has just been added on the website which is quite fun. It features an image of the garden at night with three switches so you can turn on the downlighting, the uplighting or the pathlighting - or any combination of all three - to see what they look like. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hanging Gardens of Wimbledon

Okay, not quite hanging, but some of the gardens near Wimbledon tennis have some sharp slopes to contend with. I'm doing the photos a bit bigger, as I don't know whether it's possible for the smaller ones open up into a bigger frame.

This is a stunner of a private garden (and house) which I was fortunate enough to have a look around. It was about this time last year, and they're having lots of work done to the garden, so it's probably looking a lot better now.

The front garden. 
The back of the house with a view up through the different levels.
A different front garden which I took photos of through the railings. Lots of green courtesy of the tree ferns. Some exotic Bali sculptures and lots of black Ophiopogon is joined by plum-flowered annuals during summer. A smart, simple combination, which also ties in with the tennis!

This ultra-contemporary house has some interesting planting. Mass planted Stipa gigantea, joined by red tulips in spring. Later in summer they used Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff' en masse, to good effect.
I'm not sure about this last garden. I would go for structural, silver/blue-leaved evergreens to tie in more with the building. Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca', mass planted Lavandula 'Munstead' and Alliums with a pale coloured gravel would have been my choice....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cotswold day trip

I couldn't think of a pun for my post title. Drats! Fret not, I'm sure I'll have some excellent puns in the near future.
I was on business a couple of weekends ago, not too far from Cotswold Garden Flowers. CGF, as it is affectionately known, has to be one of the best nurseries in the land. Unusual plants, that should be better known, at very reasonable prices. Always well-grown too. My only fault with them is that I'm not on commission for incessantly singing their praises!

An overall shot of the nursery, the stock beds are full of tempting goodies.

The range of Heuchera in the polytunnel was mouthwatering, with some equally
 mouthwatering names; H. 'Tiramisu', H. 'Caramel', H. 'Obsidian'....

Here are a couple of plants that had already made their way into my garden, originally fro
m CGF. Astelia 'Red Devil' and a Heuchera I've forgotten the name of... 'Marmalade' I think.I was a little restrained when it came to the plants. Apart from this gloriously scented Muscari...
... I bought a pink Muscari, and also a particularly electric blue form of M.armeniacum. Echeveria 'Mauna Loa' will also grace my garden this year...
I also bought a small Phormium called 'Back in Black', which caught my eye. In the picture it is the one in the middle/foreground.
This picture will be credited to Neil Alcock. As a disclaimer, whoever offers proof that they own copyright to the Echeveria and Muscari photos, please contact me and I'll take the pictures down! Back to 'Back in Black', it actually features in a Telegraph article.

Whizzed over to Wisley

Okay, so perhaps not the most original title for a blog about Wisley. It is most apt, however. I went yesterday morning, lovely weather for it I thought. When I got there, I suppose I could say I was a bit overcome.If gardening is a drug, I had an overdose. It was sensory overload. The place was looking amazing! 

So I whizzed around, and took a few snaps. The fact that it was the beginning of the Easter holidays, and every pram, child and young mother from miles around were there did not deter me. No siree. I'd prefer to say it was all the Alliums and masses of Muscari... I made my escape within the hour.I liked these Daffs below with white coronas and yellow petals;

The glasshouse was utterly stunning, as per usual. The succulent areas in particular hold a lot of appeal to me.
Some excellent Kalanchoe in their temporary display benches;
Meandering through the relative peace of the woodland garden, I stumbled across this large Anemone, with the palest blue flowers. If anyone knows what it is, please let me know!
More Anemone en masse, in perfect harmony with a Narcissus of some sort.

An old blossoming cherry, looking very cool with an underplanting of Muscari. I think Muscari is my bulb of 2009.