Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 23 September 2016

Unusual Front Gardens #24: Keep it simple

I don't usually go for coleus, but these three simple pots round the corner catch my eye every time I go past them.

They're placed below a window at the end of a drab drive, with colours that blend with each other well and also complement the brickwork of the house. This photo was taken on a dreary day and their fieriness helps to lift the gloom.

I think they're fabulous, how about you?

Latin without tears

Coleus is another plant which has undergone a name change recently, though like aster it remains as the common name and is considered to be a synonym of the genus Plectranthus

Most of the coleus we grow as ornamental plants are classified as Plectranthus scutellarioides. I haven't found the meaning of Plectranthus yet, and scutellarioides means it resembles the genus Scutellaria. This genus name is derived from the Latin scutella, which means a small dish or bowl and describes the appearance of the fruit's calyx.

Update September 24th: Diana left a comment which illustrates the joy of blogging. She's found the meaning of Plectranthus for me:

Plectron = spur and anthos = flower. From: Plantzafrica website
The website adds the words plectron and anthos are Greek.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

My garlic's having a bad hair day

Sprouted bulbils on a garlic scape

This scene makes me smile every time I step out onto the patio. A couple of the spare trial garlic cloves I planted for green garlic developed a scape, then from these little miniature garlic cloves called bulbils formed.

Now these have started to sprout and they look like they're having a bad hair day. I love them for it. I'm not sure which of the varieties they're from as I planted the spares in a random fashion in their pots.

I suspect the humid weather over the past few weeks has encouraged the bulbils to sprout and their obvious viability means I'm having a go at bulking them up into garlic suitable for cropping. Bulbils are usually dried and stored much earlier in the year, but seeing we're close to autumn garlic planting time, I see no harm in a little experimentation right now.

Usually I'd save some of my garlic from my main crop for next year, but even the resistant varieties eventually succumbed to rust* up at the plot. Therefore it'll be better if I start afresh next year instead of using saved cloves. The bulbils take about 3 years to bulk up and should be clear of the disease**, so I'll buy some new-to-me varieties to try until they're ready.

I've planted them into a couple of large pots of Dalefoot*** wool compost for vegetable and salads, which I've trialled this year with good results. I've left them in a quiet corner of the garden where I can keep an eye on their development over the coming years.

I'll let you know how I get on.

* = though not as badly as the non-rust resistant varieties my allotment neighbour grew
** = propagation from bulbils is a good way of providing disease-free garlic, or revitalising a strain
*** = I received some free bags to evaluate, courtesy of Dalefoot. Spent compost mixed 50:50 with their Double Strength option also works well and is more economical too.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Weekend Wandering: Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Garden

View from the top terrace at Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Garden
View from our table on the terrace overlooking the garden
There's just over a week left to visit Wyndcliffe Court before it closes to the public for good and I'm pleased NAH and I took some much needed time out to hop over the Severn Bridge to see it earlier this week. I find a trip over water - no matter how brief - always feels like a holiday, especially as we went 'abroad' into Wales this time.

We arrived just as a group of artists were finishing their morning of sketching and painting, and we enjoyed our view of one of them beavering away whilst we relaxed over our lunch.

The sunken garden and summerhouse at Wyndcliffe Court

Much of the summer floral colour had finished and autumn was just beginning to show its hand, but Wyndcliffe Court is an Arts and Crafts house and garden, with plenty of structure and garden rooms to provide lots of interest for our visit. This is the sunken garden and summerhouse.

Sculpture views
The material and placement of this sculpture reminded me of a similar scene at Special Plants

The garden lived up to its name with plenty of sculpture to admire. I was particularly taken with this one, which provided a viewpoint from a number of vantage points. NAH being the engineer and former welding student he is, was more concerned with the quality of the steel's cut surface. 'It's not finished', was his remark. I liked the added texture, but my comment fell on deaf ears.

Garden and sculpture views at Wyndcliffe Court

Here are some more scenes and vignettes which caught my eye. There's a woodland and wilderness area to explore too, with superb views over the Severn Estuary and both Severn Bridges. The early mist cleared just enough for us to enjoy them, but alas not for my camera.

A beautiful wall colonised by nature

I was especially pleased to find this wall with my Great Green Wall Hunt in mind. With simply an old wall plus moss, ferns and self-sown foxgloves, nature proves it's equal to the task of providing something which fits well with its surroundings.

Fern sculpture

I fell in love with this fern and now regret I didn't buy it. One of my observations from Garden Bloggers Fling visits is our US cousins are much better at marrying art with their gardens. Wyndcliffe Court proves it can be done well in the UK too.

The garden is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11am to 6pm until September 25th. It's a last chance to see - do catch it if you can.
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