Hello again! Sorry for the very protracted break but pressure of work meant the garden has been neglected for an exceptionally long time. Nor have I done any wildlife conservation work since 2012. Consequently this blog has been rather put on the back burner of late but I do now intend to make amends.
I am slowly beginning to get on top of all the greenhouse potting, partly be reducing the number of plants – more of this anon – but the garden itself has gone extremely wild! The photographs illustrate what was originally intended to be a wild garden but I which I had planned to turn into an area for fruit; despite there being two gooseberries hidden among the alkanet I think the wild garden concept has probably won!
I am still not making a good enough effort of writing posts for this blog – apologies but I hope things will get better once I get into it again. Here are some photographs of the little lean-to taken in June and August. Like the temporary house this greenhouse is now devoted to conventional pot plants although I have potted some of my largest and long neglected Dioscoreas and placed them along the back wall.
My remaining three greenhouses are devoted to succulents with space on the lower stagings and ground for bulbs. The top house is devoted to Crassulacea with Haworthias and Gasterias under the staging; the large house to cactus and miscellaneous succulent families including the Agaves and Bromeliads and the smallest one to the Mesemb family. More about all of these in due course.
I had great horticultural plans for this year; leaving off painting and writing a little to try and get the garden looking relatively respectable again. Unfortunately everything did not go as planned for a number of reasons – although the garden did look great for a week or two!.
One of the reasons was that my wife and I found ourselves looking after two terminally ill cats, one passed away at the turn of the year and the other in June. One was a rescue who we took on knowing she was poorly and actually gave her over two years she wouldn’t have had, although we desperately hoped she would have lasted longer, and the other was a young cat we had since a kitten and her illness (in fact she had two quite separate ones which seemed to us such bad luck) came as a complete shock. To stretch coincidence even further just after the second cat died we discovered that our dog had a tumour on her leg: it was the worse kind but very low grade so it has been removed and we are hoping it doesn’t return.
The second drain on my time was that, quite out of the blue, I decided to invent a second artistic career independent of my main one. In fact I started afresh as if I was a young man (I wish!) beginning his artistic journey and I am exploring radically new media, styles and themes. This has meant two sets of blogs and two sets of paintings to upload to various online galleries which consequently left too little time for other blogs.
Anyway I have started to get back into the garden again now – a rather daunting task! – and I am also beginning to make a photographic record of my plants. There have been quite a few changes predominantly in the greenhouses and hopefully I will begin to share the images and my gardening experiences soon.
Further to yesterday’s post here are a couple of photographs of the garden around 2004/2005 -they are very similar but I thought I might as well include both. As you see I had dug up the lawn (although my wife eventually got tired of the gravel and I had to replace it!).
I changed this design about a year after this photo was taken and got rid of the centre path and then planted a large mixed border sweeping right round from the bottom greenhouse (by then I had erected four) effectively cutting the garden in half – however I soon found that the dog went straight through this border, breaking all and sundry in the process – in the end I had to put in a path just for her which completely ruined the design!
I fear I will have to redesign the garden yet again as I want to fit in the new greenhouse – I have lost count how many times I have changed it. My real love is greenhouse plants and greenhouse management so the inevitable upheaval may be worth it. If and when I get the greenhouse erected I may not heat it initially but rather use it for tomatoes et al in the summer, chrysanthemums in the autumn followed by lettuce through the winter and bulbs in the spring – this was the regime I adopted in my first greenhouse over forty years ago.
By coincidence my wife has just found out some old photographs of the garden at the end of the Century when we had the first avatar of the lawn and there was only one, admittedly large, greenhouse and a tiny lean-to. All the shrubs had either not been planted or had not grown very big and there was actually flowers in the borders!!!!!