Six on Saturday – 16th December 2017

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.

Joining in with this popular garden bloggers meme

After two weeks of cheating a little on this Six on Saturday meme, firstly showing images from a nearby woodland and then last week picking the best of someone else’s garden, this time around I’ve picked some highlights from my garden.

When the light levels are low, and most of the perennial plants have dived under the soil to wait out winter’s worst, evergreen plants carry interest through undeterred. We didn’t have any of the recent snow this far into the South West so the garden is unscathed.

The Six on Saturday meme was started by The Propagator and you can find links to other garden bloggers taking part in the comments on his weekly posts.

ONE

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Primrose

This little Primrose was rudely lifted some time ago and dumped into a terracotta pot to be sorted later. Later hasn’t arrived so it’s still in there but doesn’t seem to mind and has started to flower. One day I’ll divide it and find room for it somewhere in the garden. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the flowers.

TWO

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Holly

This is one of the poor Holly bushes that have been languishing in containers for over 5 years. Whilst they have always formed plenty of berries, they never grew well, putting on only minimal growth.

When we were in Australia mum fostered them and duly doted on them with water and feed with very little in return. Only when the metal containers had rusted through and they needed repotting did I realise my mistake – they were still in their 2L plastic pots!!

I must have been planting them after a night shift.

THREE

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Tellima grandiflora

This easy to overlook woodland perennial is one of my favourite plants. It’s evergreen, has soft leaves and sends up delicate spikes of bell-shaped flowers that are fringed with pink. It’s also easy to start from seed and that’s where all of my plants have come from.

I’ve put a mental note to gather some seed in 2018 and start some more.

FOUR

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Helleborus foetidus

A horrible name for a very good plant. I like the evergreen foliage mostly. The flowers which are starting to perform now are just an added extra. Again, this tolerates low light levels well and earns its space in a shady garden.

FIVE

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Variegated bamboo

I’m a bit indifferent to bamboos. I have Phyllostachys nigra in a large container which has never delivered on its promise. Mostly they can be thugs but this shorter variegate variety was in the cottage when we moved here and hasn’t really spread. It adds a brighter element to a dark dry corner

SIX

Six on Saturday 16th December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme, primrose, evergreen, holly, tellima, hellebore, helleborus, helleborus foetidus, bamboo, grasses.
Grass display at the front of the cottage

The cattle feed troughs at the front of the cottage have done really well after their revamp this year. Even into December, they are full of texture and interest. When the low light catches the inflorescences it looks great. They have required no attention since planting.

The planting is a mixture of Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, a small leaved Hebe plants grown from cuttings, Euphorbia myrsinites. There are tulips newly planted ready to put on some spring colour.

 

 

 

 

So that’s my first Six on Saturday. Please join in to mark the changes in your garden over the year.

Six on Saturday: 9th December 2017

Six snapshots in the garden to chart the changing seasons

Last weeks Six on Saturday went quite well so I’ve decided to give it another go this week. I’m away from the house so it’s another cheat week from me. The weather has turned chilly and we’re staying at the in-laws’ house in Surrey. The frost in the garden here was too much of a novelty for me so I thought I’d share.

The Six on Saturday meme was started by The Propagator so go and take a look at his weekly post. Also look through the comments to find more blogs joining in.

ONE

This Winter Jasmine putting in a good show this time of year but I doubt I’ll ever covet it for my own garden. I find the growth habit odd and for most of the year it’s just wiry stems.

TWO

Seed heads of Japanese Anemone. This is a lesson in not clearing away your perennials once they’ve gone to sleep for winter – look what you’ll miss out on!

THREE

The same goes for Hydrangeas. Leaving the spent flower heads is supposed to provide some cover against frost but more importantly it keeps interest into the depths of winter.

FOUR

Frost covered acorns and their husks.

FIVE

This Azalea is another plant that I probably won’t plant myself but the foliage at this time of year has great colour and the frosting looks great.

SIX

Well it is nearly Christmas! I’m getting more interested in conifers and the like. The pale blue needles on this Pine match the chilly morning air. After my morning promenade around the garden my coffee had gone cold and my fingers had chilled. Enjoy the frosty weekend.

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Whilst garden centres will have you believe that the ideal Christmas present for your gardening loved on comes in the form of a themed meercat statue wearing a Santa hat, those of us in the real world know better. Here are my practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners.

I was reading this month’s edition of Gardens Illustrated when I couldn’t help but laugh at the Christmas gifts section. I know the magazine is supposed to be aspirational but the recommended presents for the gardener in your life were a mixture of over-priced tat and impractical tools. Here’s my list of real present ideas that will be received warmly and genuinely.

10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

Plant labels

You can truly never have too many plant labels. I know there’s a move to remove plastic from our gardens (it really is everywhere) but I’ve yet to find an alternative that is reusable and actually lasts one growing season. If I don’t label every pot then I have no idea what’s supposed to be in it. For the allotment, I like the extra large labels so I can write in large letters and be able to read it from standing.

Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Fine-tipped permanent marker

I tend to write my plant labels in pencil (partly because I can use a rubber to remove the writing and re-use them) but for things that need to be labelled for more than a few months, I prefer a pen. They need to have a fine tip as I write the whole latin name, variety, and date of sowing on the label. The felt-tip types just end up an inky mess.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Hazel poles

Is it me or does everything need staking on an allotment? Next year I’ll have 2 types of climbing french beans, runner beans, tomatoes, peas, and maybe some sweet peas. Not to mention the netting. Why is it so difficult to source them? Nowhere does home delivery, I have a Citroen C4 which is not conducive to transporting 7-foot poles, and I cannot find a local supplier. This is the closest my online research has found;

http://www.coppice-products.co.uk/product-type/beanpoles-pea-sticks

Cloches

In order to extend the season, you could either cover the plot with fleece or see-through plastic or invest in some re-usable cloches. I would prefer the latter but I’ve yet to get my hands on some of these beauties;

http://www.lavenderandleeks.co.uk/shop/grow/clocheborder-hoops

Trays

I like to keep the greenhouse organised and part of that is having plants, seedlings, or pots of cuttings all gathered together for convenience. I use the odd plastic produce tray that I’ve managed to get from plant nurseries when buying plants. It makes moving plants, potting up, and reorganising the benches much easier.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Outdoor speaker

I tend to listen to podcasts on my phone when I’m out in the greenhouse. I do find that my earphone wires get caught all the time and it’s only a matter of time before I snip through it with the secateurs. Having a Bluetooth speaker would be a little luxury.
Practical Christmas present ideas for gardeners. Gardening, Garden, Garden blog, Gardeners, Present, Presents, Christmas, Christmas Present, Christmas Presents, Christmas present ideas, Christmas gifts, allotment, allotments, growing, grow your own,

Six on Saturday – 2nd December 2017

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,

Joining in with this popular garden bloggers meme

One of my favourite activities at this time of year is to take the dog for a walk around some local woods. Not only does it give me some exercise, it’s the ultimate de-stressor.

There was so much to see today despite being in the thick of winter. I’ve been granted special permission to bend the rules of the Six on Saturday meme by The Propagator himself. This will give me some time to tidy my garden and find something, or six somethings, to post for another week.

ONE

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Euonymus europaeus – The Spindle Tree

I love the Spindle Tree. The bright pink fruit casings are incongruous in the more subtle colours of a winter woodland.

TWO

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Acer campestre – The Field Maple

I have Acer palmatum in pots in my garden but the bright yellow leaves of the native Field Maple hold for a long time and give a really bright glow.

THREE

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Umbellifer – ? Hogweed ? Cow Parsnip

It’s easy to get confused by all the native umbellifers. This one has a lovely pink tinge to its oldest petals.

FOUR

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Snowberry

There’s a hedge I pass on the way to the woods where the top growth always has big fat white berries. This makes it look like a heavy snowfall is sitting on top of the hedge and makes me smile every year.

FIVE

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Harts Tongue Fern

This is my favourite fern. The mid-green sheeny leaves are awesome.

SIX

Six on Saturday 2nd December 2017. Plants, plant, garden, gardens, tree, trees, euonymus europaeus, spindle, spindle tree, maple, field maple, umbellifer, winter, woodland, woods, garden blog, garden blog meme,
Beech Tree Trunk

The moulds growing on the trunk of this Beech Tree match the colour of the turning Euonymus leaves.

 

So that’s my first Six on Saturday. Please join in to mark the changes in your garden over the year.

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2017

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Here are 5 gardening books on my Christmas List this year

I always put gardening books on my Christmas list. They’re the perfect gift for me, and for all gardeners. At this time of year, when the sun hasn’t come up when I go to work and has long since set before I leave for home, the opportunities for gardening become squeezed. With a book, you can visit other gardens, learn new techniques, and improve your own skills whilst the winter garden rests untended outside.

As the proud owner of a gardening bookshelf that dwarfs our local bookshop’s offerings, you’d think I wouldn’t have space for any more titles. You’d be wrong. We’re building a new bookcase next year and there are so many books I’ve come across this year that I’ve made a gardening books Christmas List.

Previous Christmas gardening books wishlists

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016

8 Books for my gardening bookshelf Christmas 2015

Epic Tomatoes

by Craig LeHoullier

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

I’ve learnt about my namesake Craig LeHoullier from Jennifer Ebeling‘s (6ft mama) podcast – Still Growing. I’ve been listening and interacting with Jennifer for over a year now and I really like her interviews with interesting people. Craig has a wealth of experience growing tomatoes and is particularly involved in finding and breeding heirloom varieties that are in danger of being lost. Most importantly he’s clear on the merits of a tomato for different uses in the kitchen as well as ease of growing. I’m hoping to find a robust outdoor bush tomato to use the space on my allotment.

The Garden Photography Workshop

by Andrea Jones 
allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

I heard about this book listening to Andrea on Peter Donegan’s Sod Show Podcast this year. I really like photography and I occasionally take to my garden with SLR in hand. It would be great to improve my amateur skills.

The Thoughtful Gardener

by Jinny Blom

This book on garden design has had some strong reviews so I’m keen to see what it’s like. I’m a big fan of Jinny Blom’s planting and it would be good to see how she plans, and implements, her designs.

RHS Genealogy for Gardeners

by Simon Maughan and Ross Bayton

I have the two other books in this RHS series of plant geekery. Latin for Gardeners was released in 2012, with Botany for Gardeners following in 2013. These small, beautifully illustrated, handbooks are the perfect thing for plant nerds to get a better understanding of the science and history of gardening. I’m hoping that Genealogy for Gardeners will be just as good.

allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Tender – Volumes I & II

by Nigel Slater

Now I know that, technically, this isn’t a gardening book. I’d say it’s gardening adjacent. I’ve had my allotment since April and I’m hoping for big things next year. The whole point of the allotment was to provide some fresh, seasonal food for us to cook and eat. I’ve mastered my sauteed Cavelo Nero with garlic and it’s become a staple in the weekly meal plan. I’d like to do more with what I grow and I’ve read some amazing reviews of these two books.
allotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstonesallotment, amazon, andrea jones, Book, books, books for gardeners, bookshelf, bookshop, Christmas, Christmas gifts, Christmas list, Christmas presents, Cooking, Craig leHoullier, Garden Design, garden photography, gardeners, gardening, gardening books, genealogy, gift ideas, gifts for gardeners, harvest, heirloom, heritage, Jinny Blom, Nigel Slater, Produce, reading, RHS, tomato, tomato growing, tomatoes, Waterstones

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my ‘must visit’ list for some time.

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my radar for some time so I was pleased to finally get the chance to visit this month. The gardens are a showcase for what can survive and thrive in our climate. Aside from the favourable climate of coastal Dorset, the gardens have been planted with foresight and windbreaks to create microclimates.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Traditional path with interesting planting

I’ve had a week of annual leave and we decided to take a day out and make the short trip to Dorset. We make regular trips to Surrey but have never managed to combine the drive past the door with a visit. I’m planning a redesign of the top garden to incorporate more exotic and Australian planting and I was hoping to get some inspiration.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Gingko biloba hovering over the stream

How to find Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

 

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.

The gardens are located near Chesil Beach. We turned off the A35 at Bridport and followed the stunning coast road.

Useful Information

Website: https://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/gardens/

Entrance: A very reasonable £12.50  per adult at the gate. There are online discounts and RHS members get free entry at the end of the year.

Opening times: Open every day except 18th December to1st January. 10am to 5pm (or 4pm in winter)

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Subtropical foliage

Around the garden

The gardens are organised into smaller areas and some larger ones. The cafe is a colonial-style building built in the old walled garden. There are grass borders, a large woodland area, and some formal ponds.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Sunny steps

The woodland area was looking great in November. The Acers were stunning and cast a glow over the pleasant walk. There was a great Gingko next to a stream looking great in its autumn yellow.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Contrasting leaf colours in the woodland

We took the pram and went for a gentle stroll around the grounds. There were some steps and some uneven ground but the paths are well marked and a clear wheelchair route signposted.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Gunnera alongside the pond

We went on a cool, dry, November day and there were plenty of interesting plants to see. The coffee was great and the facilities were of a high standard and very clean. There is a plant sales area but I was disappointed to see that most of the interesting plants I had noted weren’t for sale. It may be that these weren’t offered at this time of year. The selection there was nice, the plants looked healthy, but there wasn’t anything I can’t get anywhere else.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Acer in full autumn colours

Notable Plants

One of the great things about visiting gardens is the chance to meet new plants. I always have my camera handy for taking notes and pictures for research later.

I’ve seen Fasicularia bicolor in Australia and more recently at a hotel in Cornwall. It’s now familiar but I can never remember its name.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Fascicularia bicolor

I think this was the largest Gingko that I’ve seen and the yellow leaves made me stop and stare upwards.

Gingko biloba

The Pseudopanax was well labelled, as were a lot of the specimen trees, and it’s firmly on my wish list.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Pseudopanax laetus

I had to take to Twitter to find the identity of this plant. The fruit looked familiar but I just couldn’t place it. Thankfully, Dr Dale Dixon from The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney helped me out with an ID. This is also now on the wish list. Luckily Plant World Seeds lists it.

Garden Visit: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens November 2017. Tropical, Tropical plants, subtropical, subtropical plants, acer, autumn colour, winter day out, winter garden visit, herbaceous, autumn, autumnal colour, late summer garden design, garden, gardening, Dorset, South West, UK, RHS, RHS partner garden, RHS membership, RHS membership benefits.
Solanum betaceum – the Tamarillo

Other UK Garden Visits

The Eden Project, Cornwall

Sussex Prairie Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Kew Garden

Garden Update 18th November 2017

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,

Garden Update 18th November 2017

I have a week of annual leave with which to make some progress in the garden. The seasonal tasks of cleaning the flagstones and packing away the garden furniture need to be done. It’s not all chores though, I’m also making preparation for next years display in my Garden Update 18th November 2017.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 4th November 

Garden Update 9th September

Allotment Update

We’eve had some slightly colder weather here in Devon but it’s done nothing to stop the progress of the plot. Aside from the sweet potatoes, which have blackened and retreated, most of the plot is looking great.

My leeks are starting to get some momentum behind them. When they went in they were spindly grass-like plants. I was supposed to wait until they’re pencil-thickness but I’m impatient. They’re doing fine though.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Leeks

My brassica bed is starting to produce crops and there’s plenty to come over winter by the looks of it. The leaves of the Romanesco and Purple Sprouting Broccoli are looking extremely healthy. I’m sure they benefited from being netted when young.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,

We’ve been harvesting the Cavelo Nero for weeks and a full handful will do one or two meals (as a side) for the two of us. The plants don’t even look like they’ve been touched after taking just the lower leaves. In the end, I’m expecting to have bare stems as the plant continues to grow up.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Cavelo Nero

The colourful chards are growing well at the front of the allotment and the Pak Choi are looking healthy in the bed that had the legumes this summer.

Garden Update 18th November 2017. Allotment, Garden, Gardening, Harvest, Grow your own, homegrown, homegrown, roots, autumn harvest, plot to plate, wooden board, gdnblog, gdnbloggers, gdnblogger, blog, Chard, garlic, Mulch, autumn, crop rotation, greenhouse, astrantia, cavelo nero, romanesco, cuttings, plug plants, leeks, tulips,
Pak Choi Vibrant Pink

Greenhouse Update

The greenhouse is taking to its new role as a store for plants over winter. At the beginning of the year, it’s full to capacity with seeds and seedlings. Later on, it becomes home to yet more seeds, seedlings and cuttings. At this time of year, it has tender garden refugees huddling and sheltering together. The chilli plants are getting the benefit of the doubt and coming inside to see if they’ll perform better next year.

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Buddleja globosa cuttings

I’ve taken Buddleja globosa cuttings which I rooted in water. These are to be given to my cousin who’s creating a new border in their garden.

I’ve taken delivery of some plug plants from J Parkers. Some Verbascum I ordered myself and some bare root Astrantia plants which were a gift.

The Verbascum are a set of three types of Verbascum phoenicum. I have Rosetta, Violetta and Flush of White. Even though I love Verbascum I have a rubbish track record. However, I’ve decided to give them another go.

My lovely gardening aunt bought us some Astrantia major ‘Florence’ to celebrate the birth of our daughter this year. These will eventually go into some pots that are pride of place in the garden and also contain some honeysuckle plants (also gifts).

 

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Astrantia major ‘Florence’ bare root plants

Garden Update

The action in the garden has been a little dull this week. I’ve pressure-washed all the flagstones to remove 2 years of accumulated algae. They’re now safe to walk on when it’s wet which is a relief. The garden furniture and barbeque have been stored away for winter.

It’s not all chores though. I’ve planted Tulip Dolls Minuet in the front garden troughs and there’s more to go in this week.

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Tulip bulbs. Jan Reus and Dolls Minuet

Harvest Roundup 2017 – my courgette and climbing bean totals

Quantifying the haul from my yellow courgette and climbing bean harvest for 2017. It’s my first harvest roundup!

You may have seen on my Instagram and Twitter feeds and previous posts that I have been keeping a tally of the amount of harvest collected from some of the crops on my allotment this year. I’ve been nerdily weighing everything that makes it home. This year, for my harvest roundup,  I concentrated on the yellow courgette and my two varieties of climbing bean; Cosse Violette and Trail of Tears.

This was for three main reasons;

  1. I’m a big geek
  2. To see if there was any difference in yields between varieties
  3. To see if I could justify the costs of keeping the allotment

Previously on the allotment

Garden Update 22nd July: Courgettes, cuttings and a Leaf-cutter Bee

No Dig Newbie

Allotment layout ideas

Harvest roundup: Yellow courgette

These plants were sourced from one of my favourite local nurseries, Hill House Nursery in Landscove, Devon. I got my allotment in April/May this year and so it felt like a late start to the season so I cheated with some purchased plants. I’ve lost/forgotten the name so I’ve been calling them ‘yellow courgette’ all year. I also bought a green variety but it’s been pants so hasn’t been worth tallying.

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Yellow courgette

My total harvest haul comes to 1194g!

That’s near on 1.2kg from 2 plants. Not bad considering it was a dry start to the year.

I quick look at our nearest supermarket has standard green courgettes at £1.90/kg with the organic version (which I could claim) at £6.67/kg. So being generous I have saved £8. Since you can’t buy the superior yellow courgettes in supermarkets they are priceless.

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One of only 2 yellow courgette plants

Harvest roundup: Climbing beans

I chose two varieties to grow from seed this year. Cosse Violette I’ve grown before and I know they’re straightforward but beautiful on the allotment. I also went to Trail of Tears after hearing about it for years and I was interested to see what all the fuss was about.

Cosse Violette harvest: 2296g

Trail of Tears harvest: 2763g

The standard green beans in the supermarket are £4.50/kg with the organic option £6.67 (are they choosing the same price for all organic veg?). So at around 5kg of produce, I’ve saved  £33.75.

 

What’s been a success on your allotment/ plot this year?

Garden Update 4th November 2017

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Garden Update 4th November 2017

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and social media for most of October due to competing demands on my time. We’ve have some visitors, a mini-break, and all the usual work and childcare necessities. That’s not to say things have been quiet on the garden and allotment front.

It’s a time of renewal on my allotment. There’s always talk this time of year about putting the garden or allotment to bed for winter. What nonsense. It’s a time for clearing last seasons spent crops and getting the next load in. I may even have all my plot planted for the first time since we broke ground in April. I’ve also nominated myself to the my allotment committee.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 9th September

Garden Update 2nd September

Allotment Update

The autumn and winter greens are the main crops nearing harvest. I’ve been starting to harvest my Cavelo de Nero leaf by leaf and these are great. The herb bed is still productive and I’ve taken bunches of Rosemary and Bay to dry for use over winter. The New Zealand Spinach has taken over the understory of my herb bed so I’ve made batches of wilted leaves and have them in the freezer for when they’re needed.

The Chard plugs that I planted outside in September have really started shooting up and the stems look amazing when we get some sunlight. The Pink Passion is more of a blood-red but I don’t mind that at all. The Golden Chard is currently 10cm tall so plenty of growth still to come.

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Elephant Garlic Bulbs

I had my order of garlic from Marshalls Seeds arrive this week. Unfortunately 2 out of 12 Elephant Garlic bulbs were starting to rot off. I’ve put them in anyway and we’ll see how they do. The Carcassonne Wight and Provence garlic bulbs were in good condition. Out of 2 bulbs each I got 20 cloves from the Provence and 29 from the Carcassonne Wight.

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Turf stacks at the back of the plot have been covered

On a practical front, I’ve been meaning to get some tarpaulin to cover over the turf stacks left over from clearing the site right at the beginning. We had some logs delivered for the house so I bought some cheap ones to get ready for their delivery. Now they’re all stacked in the dry store I can use these at the allotment. This should keep the weeds down and I’m hoping come spring I’ll have some nice topsoil for the beds.

The courgettes were looking miserable, as were the squash plants, after a few wet / cold spells of weather. The climbing beans have done really well but they’ve been left for seed and now cleared away. My early sweetcorn didn’t produce and the later sweetcorn was also badly pollinated. The beds have been cleared, weeded and prepared for the next crop. In place of the courgettes are the Elephant Garlic, and in place of the 3 sisters I have Broad Beans and Peas.

Garden Visit: Eden Project Cornwall October 2017

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If you’re holidaying in the UK there are plenty of world-class gardens to discover and Cornwall’s flagship is The Eden Project

During a mini-break staycation for our anniversary, my wife and I met up with my lovely gardening aunt for a day out to two Cornish Gardens. We visited the Eden Project in the morning and The Pinetum, which is just down the road from its more famous neighbour, after filling up on a pasty for lunch.

How to find the Eden Project

The safest route is to head towards St Austell and following the brown tourist signs to find the main entrance. Previously we’ve followed the Sat Nav and ended up coming through some small lanes. It’s probably a longer route on the main roads but at least you cant get lost.

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Useful Information

Website: www.edenproject.com

Entrance: an eye-watering £27 per adult at the gate.

Opening times – quite variable within the month. Somewhere between 9-9:30 and closing by 6pm. The biomes open later at 10am. It’s best to check for the day you’re planning on going.

Outside areas

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A view over the two large Biomes

The site is split into a few areas of note. The two main Biomes share a linkway which houses facilities and restaurant. One side is a tropical rainforest biome and the other house is a more arid, Meditteranean-like environment. There are purely ornamental plantings and on the steep slopes at the far end are various food crops from around the world on show.  It’s sold as a full day attraction, and it would have to be for the entry costs, but even with two gardening fans in the group we only managed 3 hours before it was time to move on.

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Sunflower planting in front of the Rainforest Biome

The biomes

The biggest draw is the two biomes. These amazing structures are the real highlights for me. It’s interesting visiting again after living overseas and spending some time in Thailand and Singapore as the rainforest biome. On my first visit the plants we alien to me and I didn’t find them that interesting. Coming back this year they’re now familiar, almost ubiquitous, and I found myself spending more time looking at the foliage and flowers.

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Inside the Rainforest Biome

The temperate biome has a special feature on Western Australia which is an interesting, if small, new addition.

In summary

I’m glad to have visited again as it’s been a good number of years since we were last there. That being said there’s nothing really new to see so if you’ve been in the last 5 years you’re not missing out. For the money spent it feels a bit overpriced, as impressive as the biomes are, it almost needs more here to keep your interest. We also noted that the amount of plant labeling is poor. Where plants are so international and unique you have to have labels to fully appreciate what you’re seeing.

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Grass borders on the slopes

Other UK Garden Visits

Sussex Prairie Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Kew Garden