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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

Eden Project, Cornwall, Garden Visit, Garden Visit Eden Project Cornwall, Gardening, garden, garden blog, biomes, rainforest, autumn days out, UK, England, hortitourism, horticulture, science, glasshouse, greenhouse, tropical, arid, sunflower, grass border,
Grass borders on the slopes

Other UK Garden Visits

Sussex Prairie Garden

RHS Wisley, Surrey, UK

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Kew Garden

Garden Update 9th September 2017

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Garden Update 9th September 2017

The warm and wet weather in Devon this week has been great for the weeds. I’ve done two tidy-ups at the allotment and managed to fill my large bendy bucket three times. It’s also the end of my tomato adventure for the year.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 2nd September

Garden Update 19th August

Allotment Update

 

We were giving some new chairs from a family member and they’re perfect for the allotment. The weather wasn’t that great so we haven’t christened them yet.

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New seating at the allotment
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The squash plants have been tidied back on the borders to clear the paths

The squashes are really enjoying the damp and warm conditions and had spread over the paths. I wasn’t too bothered initially but they’ve got the point that it was hard to reach into the beds for harvesting. They also were concealing a lot of weed growth on the paths.

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Pak choi settling in

The module Pak Choi seedlings are doing much better than the directly-sown batch which has been munched to stumps. I think I’ll do more of this transplanting even thought it’s more work overall.

 

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Chard seedlings planted out

I’ve also installed the Chard seedlings in one of the new beds around the perimeter of the allotment. I’m hoping they’ll give me some fresh greens to each over autumn and into winter.

Greenhouse Update

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Stachy byzantina seedlings

The Stachys byzantina seeds that I collected have germinated extremely well and very quickly from sowing. They’ve been pricked out and set into their own little module home.

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Geranium phaeum alba seedling

Another sowing that I made from home-collected seed was the Geranium phaem alba. I am the proud owner of one seedling!

The tomato story this year hasn’t been very successful. Blight has struck and the fruits that were threatening to ripen were being munched by slugs before they were harvestable. I’ve taken off all the tomatoes that were salvagable and cleared away the affected plants. The foliage is now in the council green waste bin. I think I’ll use the fresh border for either bringing on perennials over winter or some winter salads.

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Tomato harvest 2017

There’s nothing like an Instagram filter to make even a poor harvest look great.

Garden Update

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Overhead shot of The Far Garden

It’s been a while since I’ve shown what’s happening in the Far Garden. You can see the new boundary shed has a great grey colour that matches the furniture. The chillies are slow in the rectangular planters but I might get a harvest. My new Musa and Echinacea plants are looking awesome.

 

Garden Update 2nd September 2017

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Garden Update 2nd September 2017

Yesterday was the first day that I had time to get to the allotment for anything other than harvesting for some time. We had people visiting for the bank holiday weekend so nothing much was achieved in the garden.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 19th August

Garden Update 12th August

Allotment Update

Yesterday I spent over an hour at the plot and managed to fill two large bendy buckets with weed growth that’s now been put on the unofficial compost pile. We’re mainly plagued by dandelions and docks persisting as deep tap roots. They’re capable of regrowing after hoeing and have enjoyed the extra rain recently.

I don’t like to leave huge gaps in the beds for two reasons. Firstly, there isn’t much growing area as it is and dedicating space for hoeing seems silly when, secondly, weeds will colonise bare ground as well as between plants which you have to hand weed anyway. I use the hoe on any unused ground that’s waiting for the next crop or where there is space between plants in order to give them room to grow.

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Lots of Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato winter squash

The Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato winter squashes have been very prolific in number but I’m struggling to find a good kitchen use for them. Growing something to then have to hide it in food just to use it up seems silly. Roasted pumpkins should be used for roasts, soups and risottos but the bland flavour and silky texture of these leave me a bit disappointed. If I can’t find a use for them that I will look forward to next year then I’m afraid they’re off the plot.

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The root harvest begins

I’m glad to be getting a better carrot and beetroot crop at the allotment. This batch suffered in the early dry spell we had so germination and subsequent growth was slow and poor. I was then too eager to try them so picked some small offerings last month. This lot are more substantial but there’s better to be had. The carrots went into a beef curry and I am plotting what to do with the beetroot. We’re having a picnic tomorrow if the weather holds and I’ve been hoping to make a roasted beetroot, walnut, goats cheese and rocket salad since sowing the seeds earlier this year

We had a bumper picking from the three crops from the allotment I’m monitoring this year on Friday;

  • Yellow Courgette – 370g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Cosse Violette’ – 700g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Trail of Tears’ – 770g

I’ve cleared out most of the pea bed as they’re coming to the end of their productivity and the powdering mildew is making them unsightly. The Peas, mange-tout and broad beans are out. In their place, I’ve planted the Pak Choi seedlings which I started in modules last month. The other side of the bed will have winter lettuce.

Greenhouse Update

The tomatoes continue to be a complete let-down this year. I think I have blight. Initially, I thought it was some cold scorching on the leaves that poke out of the windowless opening in the greenhouse but it’s since spread. I’ve taken some evasive measures to cut away the affected fruits and leaves but it’s fingers crossed for the remainders.

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Chard ‘Pink Passion’ Seedling

The seedlings of the Chard and winter lettuce are growing well and are soon to be transplanted to the allotment.

For the ornamental side, the Stipa and Stachys seedlings are coming along well. I’m hopeful that my Penstemon cuttings have taken.

Garden Update

The new grey backdrop to the Right Border of the Far Garden is settling in well. I’ve bought some Echinacea Magnus Superb and Musa from Hill House Nursery down the road. I was inspired by my recent visit to Wisley where I had a good look around their Echinacea trials.

This part of the garden has always meant to be an exciting, bright, exotic garden but we’ve never achieved that. The Echiums did well but completely dominated the space so I’m hoping to introduce more exciting plants over winter that will mix well.

Garden Update 19th August 2017: The harvest floodgates open

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Garden Update 19th August 2017

I have been triumphantly carrying back the harvest from the allotment this week. I’ve had two good picking sessions. We’ve been munching through two types of climbing beans, two types of mange tout, peas, broad beans, asparagus pea and courgettes.

 

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My first large harvest from the allotment this year

Previous Updates

Garden Update 12th August

Garden Update 5th August

Allotment Update

The amount of veg harvested from the allotment is really exciting. I’m keeping a tally of what I harvest on some of the crops. I haven’t grown the Climbing green bean ‘Trail of Tears’ before so I’m comparing it to ‘Cosse Violette’ which I have grown in the past.

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Mollie dog is getting the hang of allotment etiquette – the pumpkins aren’t

The totals this week from 2 pickings;

  • Yellow Courgette – 388g+110g = 498g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Cosse Violette’ – 200g + 212g = 412g
  • Climbing Bean ‘Trail of Tears’ – 300g + 280g = 580g

Not only is Trail of Tears a very tasty variety but the amount of harvest is even beating Cosse Violette. I like this variety and think I’ll save some seeds to keep growing it. I’ll still keep Cosse Violette going as it’s such a beautiful plant and still tasty. I’m really impressed with the yellow courgette. I think I’ll not bother growing a green one next year as they tend to be more watery and not as useful in the kitchen. I’m going to try a patty pan type one instead.

It’s not all about the veg. The cut flower patch is getting colourful with some Dahlia, Anemone, Ranunculus and Gladioli.

Greenhouse Update

I’ve given the greenhouse a little spruce to tidy up the various tools and instruments. Instead of taking up valuable work surface space, they are now hanging handsomely on the wall.

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Secateurs, trowels and watering cans are now hanging up all tidy

The battle to ripen these tomatoes continues but the modules of winter leaves are coming along well.

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These tomatoes are refusing to ripen
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Cut and come again mixed salad leaves
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The winter leaves after a heavy dowsing – they did look much better before.

 

Garden Update

The neighbours have finished the shed at the back of the garden so we have a secure boundary again. Now comes the challenge of incorporating the change into the look of the garden. I still haven’t decided on whether I am installing a new boundary wall / screen etc.

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The right border now has a new backdrop
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The left border is getting colourful

The Buddleja, Phlox, Japanese Anemone and Nasturtiums are flowering their socks off. The right side of the picture shows the impact shade can have on flowering plants. The overhanging hedge is casting a lot of shade.

 

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings.Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening

Making more Pelargonium plants: How to take Pelargonium cuttings

As part of the new houseplants that I have recently taken on, one was a white Pelargonium, which needed some TLC. It came out of its pot with not much by way of roots. I’m not sure how well this will cope, or even survive, with this transplant. So, I have taken some cuttings in order to increase my chance of keeping this plant alive.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
The original white pelargonium plant

Pelargoniums

There’s a lot of confusion about the naming, or nomenclature, of Pelargoniums. They are commonly called Geraniums, partly because they do belong to the Geraniaceae family, but also because of some confusion when they were brought to the UK. Apparently, one plant writer used the incorrect term and was more famous than the chap who was doing it correctly. What’s silly is that the true Geraniums get called ‘Hardy Geraniums’.

The Geraniums I’m talking about are the Pelargoniums, which come from South Africa, and are frost-tender and have a more succulent appearance.

Taking Pelargonium Cuttings

I chose some short side-shoots from the main plant for my cuttings material. The standard advice with all succulent cutting material is to allow it to dry and slightly callus before putting it into the potting media. This way there is less chance of the cutting rotting before it has the chance to root. The other difference from standard soft wood or semi-ripe cuttings is that you don’t enclose the tops in a plastic bag to increase humidity. The extra humidity can also cause the cuttings to rot so they are instead left out and dry.

I cut below a node, strip excess leaves from the stem, and remove large leaves to reduce water loss. Then I leave them to sit on a dry bench to callus.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
Small pelargonium cuttings

The first time I took pelargonium cuttings I did enclose them in a plastic bag and didn’t leave them time to callus. They took anyway, which was probably luck, but just goes to show how keen they are to take.

Aftercare of Pelargonium Cuttings

Once you’ve taken the cuttings, and they’ve had some time to dry a little at the ends, put them in a gritty potting mix. I have some new (old) terracotta pots that I find work really well for cuttings. You don’t need terracotta pots, however, as cuttings will work in most containers. Where excess moisture is particularly dangerous to cuttings, exactly like it is to Pelargonium cuttings and other succulent cuttings, the porous nature of the terracotta helps.

Pelargonium cuttings, pelargonium, geranium, cuttings, plant propagation, plant, plants, gardening, greenhouse, terracotta pot, gravel, mulch, garden blog, gardening blog, gardening
Pelargonium cuttings in a gravel mix

I water them in and then leave them in a bright, dry area of the greenhouse. It will take a couple of weeks for them to root. I wait until there are plenty of roots coming from the bottom of the pot and some sign of new growth before potting on. If space is tight you can leave them, rooted, in the pots over winter before potting on in Spring.

How to take Basil Cuttings

Other cuttings taken recently

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,

Garden Update 12th August 2017

It would be nice to be able to say something other than how wet things have been. We’ve had another damp week in Devon (well the green rolling hills don’t get that way without some of the wet stuff).

We’ve been helping to clear out an elderly relative’s home this week so I’ve had a few new additions to the house and garden. It’s nice to re-home plants and items that have been well used and give them some new life. There’s nothing worse than landfill!

The house is now home to more African Violet Plants that need some TLC. A new Moth Orchid, a Maidenhair fern and a Fig plant. We have new (old) terracotta pots and a new (old) trowel and hand fork. I’ve rescued a white Pelargonium and taken some cuttings from it. I hope they all thrive in their new home.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 5th August

Garden Update 29th July

Allotment Update

Not much to report from the allotment this week. I haven’t had a great deal of time to get up there as we’ve had family visiting.

Greenhouse Update

Even though light levels haven’t been great and temperatures have cooled, we still have some progress in the greenhouse. The seeds of Geranium phaem ‘alba’ have germinated and I now have one little seedling. The plant was a bit tight with viable seed so it’s going to be a slow job to bulk up the numbers.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Geranium phaem ‘alba’
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pak Choi seedlings
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Winter greens – Lettuce and Chard

My plug trays of winter greens have germinated well and been thinned to one plant per module. These are on a high shelf in the greenhouse for maximum light so they don’t get too leggy but it does mean it’s harder to keep track of the watering. I took these photos on tiptoes. These were well watered soon after taking.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Teucrium cuttings (label spelled incorrectly)

I’m pleased with how well the Teucrium cuttings have taken. I’m hoping for some mass planting of these in the Far Garden.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Stipa tenuissima seedlings

Also destined for the Far Garden are some Stipa tenuissima seedlings. They’re hard to photograph due to being quite spindly when they first come up.

Garden Update

Having tried, and then tried again, to get the garden furniture we brought back from Australia to fit in, I think I’ve got a layout I’m happy with. I think you should be able to access all seats without feeling that you’re squeezing past. The set might be a little too big for the space and may not have been purchased over here for that reason. Now it’s in place I like it. I just need to ignore the state of the borders.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Finally rearranged the furniture in the Far Garden

I’m getting little surprises coming up around the garden. I now have 4 small clumps of Japanese Anemones springing up to provide colour and interest later into the season. This garden has always seemed to hit its stride in May and June with nothing coming through for later on.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Pink Japanese Anemone

Also extending the season of interest are the Hydrangeas. I have three types in the garden; one came from a cutting from my in-law’s garden and the other two were bought to surround us where we got married. The garden where we got married had to remove all the Clary Sage that was planted around the ceremony site leaving bare earth. We bought Hazel trees and Hydrangeas for a simple backdrop and they looked amazing. Our family members all have a tree and some Hydrangea bushes in their gardens too!.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea putting on a pink blush
Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ in the background

These Holly bushes have always struggled to thrive in their last pot. They put up spindly growth and fruited fine but the plants themselves were always looking dry and unhappy. When repotting them this year I discovered that they still had the plastic pots from the nursery attached! How embarrassing. Needless to say, now they can get their roots out they’re doing much better with healthy new growth. I think they’ll be much denser plants from now on but we’ll see if they still fruit as well.

Garden Update 12th August 2017: Taking on the past. Gardening blog, gardening, UK, Devon, Greenhouse, cottage garden, propagation, cuttings, seeds, seedlings, allotment, allotment blog, grow your own, plants,
Holly Bushes

Garden Update 5th August 2017

Garden Update 5th August 2017

Garden Update 5th August 2017

Another wet week here in Devon and more working days has meant I haven’t done as much as I would like in the garden and allotment. The end of the week was great as I was able to show my lovely gardening aunt my allotment for the first time. She was very excited and I think, if it was up to her, she’d have me presenting Gardeners World immediately. We’ve done the customary plant swap; I have a new Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and she went away with Nepeta, Peppermint and Astrantia.

Previous Updates

Garden Update 29th July

Garden Update 22nd July

Allotment Update

The main addition to the allotment has been a bed of autumn and winter greens. As you can see in the seed sowing spreadsheet, I have 3 varieties of lettuce, 3 chards and 2 pak chois.

I’ve treated myself to a new hoe – the last one disintegrating before my eyes into a bendy metal mess – and I’ve used it to take the tops off the dandelions growing through the de-turfed but uncultivated parts of the allotment. It’s money well spent.

My no-dig experiment continues. You can see the two squashes doing pretty well and of course, there’s no weeding to be done where the landscape fabric is in place. I have had to go around the bed with my new hoe as the dandelions are getting carried away.

Garden Update 5th August 2017
My no-dig experiment with squashes growing well

I’m pleased with the fruit set on the smaller pumpkin. It’s growing into a compact plant (similar to a courgette) and I think it’s the Baby Blue Hubbard.

Garden Update 5th August 2017
pumpkin growing well

Greenhouse Update

I’m trying really hard to get the tomatoes in my greenhouse to ripen. They’ve been hampered by a dip in light levels as it’s been a wet week here in Devon. I put in a banana skin last week but I don’t think it’s achieved much other than attracting some flies.

As well as the direct sowing of chard, lettuce and pak choi at the allotment, I’ve also done some in modules in the greenhouse. This is partly to guard against the inevitable mollusc attacks but also to provide some kind of succession.

In addition to the Penstemon I took last week I now have Phygelius and Lavender cuttings. I’ve also tried my hand at my first root cutting of Eryngium.

Garden Update

I’m really pleased to see the containers at the front of the cottage filling out and doing exactly what I wanted them to do. I’ve taken seeds from the Stipa tenuissima as I want to introduce it to other parts of the garden and I have a few family members also needing some.

The Libertia grandiflora seeds are finally ready so they’ve been sown in a half seed tray. I’m going to collect some Stachys byzantina seeds today to try. The other job for the weekend is to clear the bindweed from the far garden’s left border.