The blue garden

31 May

I’m hoping this will quickly escalate into some kind of Ganna Walska scenario. In the meantime, please bear with me. 

On the other side of the garden from the greenhouse there’s an area which receives more sun than anywhere else. During the longer days the morning sun beams in around the north end of the house, rises quickly enough not to cast shade across the full depth of the house and stays in direct line of sight until dusk. Seeing as blue/silver/glaucous plants tend to like sun, this is where they are to go. Here’s what it looks like now

Those are astelias at the front. The greenhouse is a long term project. It was here when we bought the place. The only other things we’ve kept are a cockerel wind vane and – inevitably – the weeds.

Only two trees here so far, Cunninghamia lanceolata ‘Glauca’ and Eucalyptus nicholii, the latter is one I grew from seed, the former was an expensive buy

There’s a gravel berm at the back roughly 12′ across. The main feature is this nice selection of Agave ovatifolia. It was grown in Somerset, from seed, provided with only a roof to keep the rain off. It’s planted at an angle, tipped to the southeast in a deep layer of gravel. It’s also big. I reckon it’s got as good a chance of success as an Agave can have in this climate. If summer turns out to be a total washout, then I have a clear plastic tent that fits over the full gravel berm. It bloody better had succeed given it cost nearly two hundred quid.

I broke up my Opuntia macrorhiza and plonked the pads into the gravel. They’ve sprouted afresh, mostly. This looks suspiciously like a flower bud. Talk about not being fussy about how it’s treated.

No part of Aloe striatula fits the colour prescription, but it’s a succulent and i’ve got them so I might as well use them.

Trichocereus terscheckii, which should be fairly hardy. Abbey Brook Cactus Nursery felt it was worth a go, given where it’s from, and i’ve seen it said of the genus that they can cope with a bit of rain and cold.

Echeveria glauca and another, NOID Echeveria, flowering away. I enjoy the look of hot coloured flowers from glaucous plants.

The berm took two and a half tons of gravel. Some of the remaining half ton is scattered in front of the berm, thoroughly weeded (or so I thought at the time) and cast with seed. I used a selection of opium poppy from Special Plants near Bath that they call ‘Boudoir Babe’. It’s a dark, richly coloured double. That’s in the middle. At the front end is cast ladybird poppy. At the back end, in front of the big Agave, I sowed Glaucium corniculatum, which I especially hope comes good, as it’s one I haven’t tried before. So far, it’s the only one of the three that hasn’t come up, sadly. (Feel free to ignore the bins and building materials in the background. As for that creeping buttercup, I offed it just this morning.)

That’s your lot for now. I won’t be making any grand purchases soon. This area needs gravel mulch, grading and weeding before it needs any more plants. Plus, the seeds will do their thing in the near future.


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