Monday, August 20, 2012

Goodbye Garden - Hallo Philip!

This was actually started a couple of days ago. I'm now in sunny Bournemouth  and yes the sun has been shining - a lot! Philip has flown over from the USA and its good to be back together after five months apart. No -  we didn't have a huge argument! Our separate lifestyle is purely linked with my inability to get a full Visa - at least until same sex marriage is approved in the USA. Vote for Obama! Tomorrow we hop along to Southampton to embark on the Queen Mary 2, heading for New York and then six months in my second home in California - this half of the year with Philip! Yes - strange lifestyle!

But back to the garden in Nottingham. It seemed odd to be getting my garden ready for winter in the middle of August when it is at its peak. But as I will be away for the next six months, this is very much ' goodbye garden' until next year. Although I don't miss the UK winters as such, I do miss my little garden and the opportunities for winter work and winter flowering species. The back garden is only tiny but climbs up the steep bank at the far end. I undoubtedly have far too many variegated and coloured leaved plants for good taste (Maybe I should heed my own design book!) but I do love their reliable colour. This is what I'm leaving behind.

From the patio doors

Looking to the house - yes the garden is tiny!

Just love the way the light shines through Cercis 'Forest Pansy'

Free lilies from last year - wish I knew the cultivar.  This year I did win the battle against the lily beetles!
Hakonochloa 'Allgold' steels the show again

Ipomoea lobata disappointing this year but it did finally flower
Nicotiana sylvestris - the best is yet to come but I'll miss it!

I've given away my cannas which were just starting to flower and lodged three special new plants, Schefflera taiwanense, X Sinocalycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' and Acanthus 'Tasmanian Devil', with gardening friends for safekeeping. The lodger can look after the house but plants need TLC! (Sorry Rob if you read this!)

Young Schefflera - maybe risk planting it next year

Acanthus - see earlier post
Sinocalycanthus - this one doing well - check earlier post

The front garden has done well this summer despite or maybe because of the early summer's deluge. One side of the front garden was replanted in the spring and virtually everything has established well and this would've been a struggle if the predicted hosepipe bans and drought had continued from spring.

The bit the neighbours and the postman sees.
Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun' - I wanted 'Cherry Brandy' but couldn't get it
After a poor start, the Ricinus 'New Zealand Purple' are doing well

I did finally removed the ailing Callistemon and replace with  Schizophragma 'Moonlight' which should be happy facing north. The small frail looking variegated tree has a story to tell. Some years back, Jim Waddick a plantsman friend from the USA told me me was in a race to get a plant of Gymnocladus dioica 'Variegated', a form of the Kentucky coffee tree - could I help. I tracked down a specimen at the Hillier Arboretum who offered scion wood if I could arrange grafting  which was done for me by Pershore College. A couple of years later I was able to send Jim two strong young plants and I kept one. Sadly by this time, Jim's opponent in the tree race had died. Sad ending but pretty little tree.

Gymnocladus dioica 'Variegata'

The new Schizophragma with the hairy-leaved  Bergenia ciliata
I wonder what it will all look like when I return in February 2013?


  1. "Tiny" with such textural interest is no longer diminutive - in fact, it's grand. Not to mention most everything you can't grow in the Coachella Valley, or vice-versa. I had a client here who bought plants, then asked me to figure out how they would work...a pain, especially since her favorite plants demanded high humidity, less sun, etc all foreign here...and one was Forest Pansy Dogwood. Far nicer there.

  2. Thanks! I've been looking for inspiration for the revamp of a small bed against my own north north east facing house wall and that shot of the Schizophragma and Bergenia ciliata has crystallised my thinking. They'll fit in beautifully in the space I've got available and if you can grow them up in Nottingham I should have no difficulty here in Plymouth.

    I'm not sure my own small plot would survive six months absence. Needs must because of your personal circumstances - but it can't be easy.