Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Begonia Luxurians

Now seeing the title if you don't know begonias you might want to skip this post, but read on and you will probably change your mind,I am not talking bedding begonias
Seeing that the weather has not been in our favour at the moment, I decided to do some more greenhouse jobs.A wonderful plant that was one of the late Christopher Lloyds favourites,he describes it as"a glorious Brazilian palm-leaf begonia,loves humidity and shade.The fingered deep green leafs and huge clusters of creamy flowers curl up in sun and drying wind.When comfortably settled under glass you can practically see this jungle giant grow" Mine is in a shaded part of the garden,we are very free draining so it is in a bed that gets mulched and does get watered when it is really,really hot.
Now Christopher said to root by tip cuttings(stand in water for 48 hrs before putting them into the root mix)what I then did was put them into just perlite!!!I have done this with some other plant cuttings which don't like to be too moist.I put them in a warm propagator and decided now was the right time to give them some nutrients and pot them up.
Now I didn't take these cuttings until the end of September as I was going to be brave and leave the parent plant in the garden.It is in corner which is well protected so I took the cuttings as a back up.I must admit I chickened out by the middle of November and lifted the parent plant to the greenhouse.So now I have

2 lovely cuttings

and a lovely big plant!
It is a really lovely architectural plant and to look at it you really would not think it was a begonia,but now what am I to do with 3 jungle giants?!!!!
An update on how the garden and chickens are doing
as you can see they are making themselves very comfortable in the garden,but could anyone tell me how to teach them how to dig up couch grass and not my bulbs?!!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

First Sowings

Well this is week 3 and I am managing to keep up with my blog as promised.We made the big decision last weekend to let the chickens have the run of the garden.That being the Royal we,and when I say run the garden is divided up so they now have probably 30 metres down to the house.We do have foxes about and they are normally in a big walk in pen which is about 3m square.So this meant putting wire fencing around where the hedging is and of course clipping wings.Hubby was secretly smiling to himself thinking I would be regretting it in days.So ok they have turfed some bulbs out and eaten whatever was shooting,but in all honesty I have had so much fun watching them(I do have a seat up the garden to sit and watch them when its warmer)I am not letting them out every day only when I am around.
I have had a very productive morning and finally sown my first seeds,I have decided to try a little trial and have sown Cosmos 'double click',Verbascum violetta and Cerinthe major purpurascens,I am going to repeat sow in Feb and March and see which plants last and flower the best.I haven't tried this Cosmos before but find that Cosmos sensation self seeds itself from year to year.Normaly the cerinthe does but hasn't coped so well the last couple of winters
I have also sown Peppers     Sunnybrook,Antohi,Friggitello,Jalapeno,Red cherry,Hungarian Hot wax,Superchilli
Tomatoes   Purple Ukraine(very earl with lovely ruby red skins),Gardeners delight,Moneymaker,Crystal Plum(heritage tom which crops really well and makes lovely sauce),Baby Bliss.I have discovered I had no Legend seed left so must get some as we love these lovely big toms
Aubergine Black Beauty

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

 As promised I am here again!!!,hubby and I went to Birmingham Botanical Gardens yesterday.We left in thick fog which finally cleared as we went into the out skirts of Birmingham,we were really lucky with the weather and actually saw a yellow blob in the sky which I think was the sun,it has been that long since we have seen it.
As we walked around the scents of the Sarcocca and Witch Hazel were fantastic,the other thing you notice this time of the year are the amazing tree barks.When there is blossom and leaves on the trees you don't always notice them.They have so many different birches and maples,sometimes its the texture you notice and sometimes its the colour.
There were quite a lot of toddlers with mums and grannies who had taken picnic lunches with them and there are quite a few areas designed to get kids and toddlers interested,there were also a couple of school parties who were busy filling in there clip boards.
This is a Brewers Weeping Spruce
Prunus x subhirtella' Autumnalis Rosea
Stags Horn Fern,
African Hemp
There were quite a few different pinus and spruce,but we just loved the weeping spruce,if I had room in the garden I would definetely have one.It was also lovely to see a prunus flowering,we saw quite a few and another must have.There were lots of ferns to pick from but the glaucous blue and the amazing skeleton structure of the Stags Horn fern made this one top of our list.Again there were so many flowering plants in the temperate garden to choose from,we had quite a few favourites but this African hemp with its lovely soft leaves and yellow and red anthers was divine.So what did we come home with?This exquisite plectranthus,I have a silver leaved one with pink flowers that I put out into the garden in the summer but we both loved this one with its delicate flowers and dark under leave.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year,New Start

I have been quite remiss lately and neglected my blog big time,so have decided to make amends and will this year try and visit my blog on a regular basis.
I cant believe how mild it is at the moment and it is showing in the garden as a lot of the bulbs are coming up.That might be ok for the crocus but all the daffodils coming up I am sure will get knocked back as I am sure we have not seen the last of the winter.We also have a rose Golden Showers which has not stopped flowering,I even had some in a vase for Christmas,I am afraid the buds it has on it now are going to get the chop as I am going to give it a prune.
We also have flowering Winter Jasmine and Helleborus x ericsmithii whose buds are just about to open into pink flushed white flowers

It is always the first hellebore to flower in my garden,I think it tends to be over looked which is a real shame as it has a lovely pewter flushed green serrated leaves.
The melianthus has finally been hit by the last frost so we have cut it to the ground.Hubby had put some soil conditioner around the base of them for me when he did the dahlias last month.So today was just cutting them down and putting the cuttings over the crown as added protection.We don't bother to do this in the back garden but the front tends to be a bit more exposed,so this just adds as a bit more protection.
There were 4 bags of soil conditioner left so hubby spread it around the Molina transparent which again had been battered by the wind so were also cut down.I don't do the other grasses yet but these get away with being tidied up now.
That unfortunaetly was all I could manage today as the back could not cope with any more even though I can see plenty more jobs to do.But I got a lovely treat later in the day when a lovely gardening friend bought me Iris reticulata 'Pauline' which from the label has blotched purple and violet flowers,so now I cant wait to find a suitable home for it.