Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gardening on Home Turf?

I've been back in the UK a week now so its time to tell you how my little garden here in the UK has survived. The title of this blog entry is rather silly really as there's no turf in my garden here and I'm also not sure where home is! Bearing in mind that I am now spending more time in the USA than the UK and that my partner Philip and heart is really in the USA, that is really becoming home!

Back garden from the patio doors - yes its small!

Close up of the lowest terrace on the bank

Anyway I left my garden here last September, after a basic tidy and clearing out all the summer annuals. I did have a good local plantsman/landscaper come and do a November tidy up - leaves and dead stalks and so on, so when I arrived back, the garden actually looked quite splendid! Some bits of pruning got missed, like the Vitis coignetiae, so I'll let that ramble for a another year and see if it becomes too badly behaved. The front garden was replanted over the last couple of years and is almost entirely full with permanent planting, so looked quite settled and amazingly colourful. 
Front garden
Nice group - Tetrapanax, Leycesteria 'Golden Lanterns' and a Euphorbia whose name I forget.

Love this group of mainly foliage

My Acanthus 'Hollard's Gold was in the wrong place and almost indistinguishable from the Fatsia 'Annabelle' behind it, so I chopped off much of the lush foliage and moved it to the back garden next to a dark purple Phormium. It seems to be surviving. Some self-seeded Euphorbias are in just the right places and look splendid at the moment. I can't resist reminding Philip that he once looked at them in full bloom and said 'they'll be interesting when they flower'! Well they are bracts, so maybe we'll forgive him!
Acanthus 'Hollard's Gold' at least the slugs appreciated my later arrival this year!
Euphorbia - probably a characias seedling

Erysimum 'Apricot Twist' - flowered endlessly last summer and back for an encore

Calycanthus - much appreciated and settling in well

Impatiens niamensis - survived the winter but wilting already in the early summer sun

Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight' - doing well and only two years old.

Phormiums in pots - survived the winter and also lack of water these last few weeks.

The back garden looks a bit more sparse, as I've tended to fill parts of it with summer exotics in the past. I think that finally I must fill the remaining gaps with permanent planting as I shall be spending less time here in future years. My shady white (and red) border has filled out quite nicely and I will get some red lilies and a few seasonal items to add the red highlights again. 
The white and red border

I am finding Clianthus puniceus rather unwieldy. Although it flowers freely, all the bloom tends to be at the ends of the shoots, meaning that the base of the plant is quite bare and ugly. I will prune after flowering and also plant something in front to hide its 'bare bones'. I think I will finally abandon my plant of Fascicularia, the hardy bromelliad. Its been in for years and never flowered. I think it may be F. pitcairnifolia rather than the free-er flowering F. bicolor.  

Clianthus puniceus
Fascicularia - vaguely architectural but I'm bored with it!
Hosta 'Fire Island' from plugs last year - need a permanent home

Schefflera taiwaniana - survived and producing some great new growth

Abutilon - seedling from 'Tenant's White' - survived and thriving

I like this group - good bold colours

These two have been together for years - Heuchera 'Blackberry Jam' and Hakonochloa 'Allgold'

I also decided to get rid of my Kalapanax septemlobus which has grown from a tiny seedling to a loutish youth of a tree and had every intention of stealing all my sunshine. This was also rather a monster with vicious thorns. Anyway, armed with stout leather gloves I removed all its top growth and filled the garden waste bin without a simple scratch. However I seem to be allergic to it as both arms have developed a rash of vivid red but thankfully painless spots! It must have been my day for the drastic pruning as I also finally decided to remove one of the main branches of my Cercis 'Forest Pansy' back to a short stump. The remaining half of the tree looks amazing balanced. If I am lucky and the stump regenerates I may well cut the other half next year and bring this lovely plant back down to shrub dimensions. Anyway - a few gaps so just maybe I'll visit a garden centre or two!

1 comment:

  1. Looking good despite the minimal intervention your garden received while you were away. It seems the Kalopanax went with a good fight...