Things That Need Improving – Number Two: The Shaded Garden

There is a very small area shaded by next door’s house and contained on the opposite side by the outhouses of our house.  At the moment it has mainly native ferns growing in it.  These propagate themselves under the polythene floor covering below the staging in the top greenhouse.  Three or four species have grown there so far!

I need to move and plant out the Aucuba and get some shade loving plants in the old sink and window box for starters.  There is a bamboo screen in the gap between the two houses which (as you can see) gets blown down at the faintest breeze so I may plant the Aucuba there – so where would I then put the ivy?  Somewhere where it wont grow up next door’s wall as I have just spent some time prizing it off there!

The, now almost rotten, uprights were on the wall when we moved in; I suppose I could attach some trellis and plant a shade loving climber – the only one I can think of at the moment is Hydranrea petiolaris which would grow far too big.  Another option would be to attach pots to the trellis for fuchsias etc.

There is a wind chime hanging down – the sound of which we have got used to now (our bedroom in immediately above this garden) – and I must confess I have been tempted to add the dreaded Buddha sculpture a few times – I can see myself eventually succumbing!

Incidentally, on the subject of strange nocturnal sounds, the pond filter system make an intermittent and unearthly banshee like wailing and we are readying ourselves for a visit from the RSPCA about the animal crying in the back garden!

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My Patio Staging

Being a penniless artist (slight exaggeration! – I emphasize the word slight!) I try to save money where I can.  Consequently when my wife bought me a fourth greenhouse, some time ago now, I bought the cheapest staging I could get.  This turned out to be made from thin galvanised steel (in sections like a Meccano kit – thankfully I had Meccano when I was a boy!) and was far too narrow and far far too high!.  I solved the narrowness by getting some extremely large plastic trays for the top and I solved the height issue by literally cutting the top of each length of staging.  This gave me four lengths of very short staging; two were of no practical use (I cut the staging at two different heights for reasons too boring to go into) and the other two I put between the lean-to and the bottom patio.  I use them for summering greenhouse plants – this year and last they have been predominantly pelargoniums.

More Greenhouse Photographs

Here are a few more pictures of the recently potted plants in my greenhouses (or not in the case of the plants in the cacti house).

In the Eighties when I had a very large collection of plants I used to exchange leaf and stem cuttings with other enthusiasts (mainly of the Crassulaceae for practical reasons as, by and large, they root readily from a single leaf)).  I haven’t got much of a collection now but if anyone is interested in swapping unrooted leaves etc. please let me know.

The Passing Of Lilac Time

Some time ago I bought three small Syringa (Lilac) plants from a very large mail order company – who shall remain anonymous.  When they arrived the plants were scrawny little sticks.  Unsurprisingly (but disappointedly) one succumbed the first winter but the other two have eventually grown fairly well.

However flowering is patchy in the extreme.  The light lilac flowered a little this year but the purple one insisted on only flowering on the side facing our neighbour’s garden (perversely facing north) – I meant to ask them what it looked like!

The moral is probably order at the beginning of the season and get plants from small specialist nurseries rather than multinational behemoths.  However I do intend to enjoy the flowers on the odd occasion when I manage to see them!

Common Lilac

Common Lilac

The Greenhouses Post Potting – First Batch Of Photographs

I meant to post this last week but pressure of work prevented me from doing so.  I will try and post garden updates more regularly if I can make the necessary changes to my daily schedules.

Below are a handful of photographs of my plants and the changes to the greenhouses now that most of the potting has been done.  I didn’t do the cactus/mesembryanthemum house but photographs are included anyway – hopefully they wont be too boring!

Part of left staging in the Succulent House

Part of the left staging in the Succulent House, This greenhouse concentrates on members of the Crassula family plus Aloes, Haworthias, Gasterias etc. under the staging.

Part of the right staging in the Succulent House

Part of the right staging in the Succulent House

Part of the left staging in the Cacti/Mesembryanthemum House

Part of the left staging in the Cacti/Mesembryanthemum House. This has most of what is left of my cacti collection with members of the Agave family underneath.

Part of the right staging of the Cacti/Mesembryanthemum House

Part of the right staging of the Cacti/Mesembryanthemum House. This has most of what is left of my mesemb collection with xerophytic bromeliads underneath.

Part of the left staging of the Mixed House

Part of the left staging of the Mixed House. This is mainly Crassulaceae and Euphorbias with epiphytic cactus (the few I have left) immediately underneath.

Part of the right staging of the Mixed House

Part of the right staging of the Mixed House. This has a large range of plant families including Crassulas and Euphorbias and a range of caudiciform succulents. There is a small number of orchids underneath.

The partly cleared Lean-To

The partly cleared Lean-To which will house tomatoes, peppers etc, during the summer and half hardy succulents and other plants during the winter months.

The outdoor staging (novel concept this!)

The outdoor staging (novel concept this!) which has a small number of half hardy succulents at the moment.