Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

 A bit late with this latest post, mainly because things have been totally mad on the work front what with trying to juggle maintaining thirty gardens, nine new planting schemes, two garden tidy-ups and now a large hedge cutting job for a dear elderly couple. Sometimes I feel like looking for the partridge in the pear tree!
The biggest and most complicated new scheme is this one below, although you can only see about a third of the border. It's in the front of a very prestigious building in Branksome Park and at the moment we have a short list of about 140 varieties of plants, most to go in clumps of five or seven, to provide colour and form throughout the border during the whole year. Quite a tall order but I think we are getting there. It's easy to look through plant books and create a design, the difficulty is using plants that you can actually get hold of.

Sometimes it's good to go along to the nurseries and see if any new varieties have just come out, of if something you hadn't thought of jumps out at you. It all invariably takes up far too much time from the working day as we enjoy it so much, and as a result this trip, instead of taking an hour, took up the whole afternoon including coffee at one of the nurseries. In the picture below is a Buddleia 'Golden Glow', one of hundreds of that variety in one of several polytunnels full of Buddleias. We grabbed this one, but had to take some pictures of the butterfly (on the 'butterfly bush') first, and in the process getting some amused looks from the nurserymen.

We had planned to use Nerines at various places in the border, and at the same nursery came across many varieties, but this one in particular caught our eye. Nerine 'Isabel' is a rich and deep pink, and so good that although we only perhaps need around fifteen, we took the nurseries entire stock. There was only a tiny trolley available, as plants are usually ordered over the phone and delivered to site, and so several trips and they were all in the van. Not sure where all the spares are going to be sold to yet, but I don't see a problem as these are the bees knees of the Nerine world as far as I am concerned!

And yes, these Berberis thunbergii took our fancy, as the autumn colour is amazing.

The training is still going well, and on Saturday the toughness level kicked up a notch. We started our warm up at Bournemouth Square and had a fast walk through the lower gardens to the seafront. Claire and Rebecca didn't look quite so smiley and fresh a little later. I must say that I am very impressed with just how well all three girls are doing so far.

As I did the sergeant major shouting in their ear bit, I had to take some photos of the gardens as we passed through them. It's nearly October, but the colour is still spectacular.

We came out of the gardens at the pier, and the run began.

It was a beautiful morning, and once the run was over, very difficult to leave the beach.

Another thing having to be done at work at the moment is the application of the autumn lawn feed. It's been tricky timing everything what with all of the wind and rain throwing schedules out, but it all went down and now the benefits are being reaped. Just thought I would throw that one in!

Sunday, and the first thing on our agenda was taking a trip out to the car boot sale again. I still didn't find any treasure for my collection, but Amanda did like this top and so it came away with us. We also got hold of a nice couple of vintage champagne glasses.

Although we spent the best part of three hours at the car boot sale, it was still too nice a day to head home, and so we headed into the forest to try an get some chestnuts. For some reason, this year has not been a very good one for these, and we didn't find one, and so decided to just keep walking deeper into the woods and see what turned up.

All through my youth and adulthood I've enjoyed time here. Sometimes just walking and soaking up the atmosphere, and other times staying overnight in a shelter made from whatever nature provides. A campfire, hot coffee, good whisky and conversation....what better night is there?

And at this time of year fungus.....

....and more fungus.

We came across this fallen pine tree blown over by the wind. It surprising how it stayed up at all, given the absence of tap roots.

Amanda kept taking photos of me, much to my annoyance as I was having a rockabilly hair day!

.........and more fungus!

We even had a celebratory birthday dinner for Amandas mother Celia, so al in all quite a mixed few days. On the whole a very hard week, but we are on holiday next and off to St.Davids again. Thanks for taking the time to drop by....see you soon.


  1. Variety for sure. Love the fall leaves. So interesting the tree roots were all just out! The fungus is fun. As for your hair...I know many men who would take unruly hair just to have some! Ha. It looks good on you.

  2. You may be on holiday by this time, Gary, in which case I hope it's going well. Perhaps you'll still catch the recent tropical weather.
    I've noted that berberis for my long list of plants for my Dad's garden.
    Lovely to have a place to go for refreshment of the soul, like your forest. One of the many things I miss living in the city.