Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Away on Vacation

I leave today on a 5 week vacation to South Wales and English Border Counties. I will be visiting friends, family and the spectacular gardens in that area. The gardens will include the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Aberglasney House and Gardens, Powis Castle Garden and on the other side of the border, Hidcote Manor Garden. I will also be attending the Abergyvenny Food Festival in mid September.
For the first half of the month I will be staying in a little row house in the village of Mumbles ( now really a suburb of Swansea). I'm posting here two images of Mumbles seen from the vantage point of Oystermouth Castle. The first is a drawing made in the 19th Century and the second a postcard from the early 20th century; it's much more built up now but still recognizable.
I'm not sure if I'll be posting during this time, but I will, no doubt, be coming back with lots of pictures and stories to tell.

19th Century image showing Newton Road running off to the right. That's where I'll be staying.
Early 20th century postcard of Mumbles from the same vantage point.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cyclamen Hederifolium

I'm so careful with the Cyclamen specimen that I grow in my greenhouse, and I'm amused to see these C. hederifolium growing with great vigor outside in the garden. They have, no doubt enjoyed the heavy rains of Spring and got through the dry conditions of this years Summer by slumbering under-ground.
In the meantime only a few of my indoor plants have started to emerge; they've had a slow start but will at least enjoy the shelter of the greenhouse and will be performing well when the outdoor plants will be covered in snow.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Miss Haversham's Garden Party

I noticed this scene the other day in a neighbourhood front garden. The table and chairs are set up in a very public venue and impractical a place to sit al fresco (unless you didn't mind the bindweed reaching out for your leg). To add to this a number of tea cups had been left near the curb, conjuring up images of an abandoned tea party



Late Summer Flowers

My friend Gayla is overwhelmed by Morning Glories right now. They have arrived uninvited into her new garden and have taken over in their usual exuberant manner. I can understand how she feels about these boisterous vines, but I find when I don't have any in my garden, I end up envying those who have had the forethought to plant them in the Spring.

This large moonflower-type has been spectacular. It reminds me of the large delicately coloured forms that the Japanese seem to favour.

There is nothing unusual about this plant that volunteered in the vegetable garden, but who could resist these vivd colours and bold forms.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Plants at My Front Door

Last year I had a rather autocratic message from the UK suggesting that my love of limey, gold and chartreuse plants could lead me down the path to "brassy" tastelessness.

I bristled at this, but tried to ascertain whether this was a fair comment. My critic, perhaps had not taken into account that I live in a completely different environment from her, and that the quality of light and extremes of climate affect our reaction to colour in a different way.

In our hot, humid summers and brilliant sunshine, I find that these yellow/greens are actually cooling and rather than being strident, are very subdued and complimentary to other colours in the garden.
Well, judge for yourself. I'm showing here an arrangement of plants at my front door, which I find very pleasing, A cooling vignette in the last few days of a very hot summer.

Plants at my front door.

Durantia, Angelonia 'Purple Stripe' and purple Callibrachoa.

Coleus 'Fishnet Stockings' and Durantia.