Monday, 23 February 2015

Dancing Ladies? Blue Terracotta. Pine away. Potato omen.

Dancing Ladies?

Barney Vick, the head gardener at East Court,was cutting back these herbaceous borders and tied  up the Miscanthus, which were  starting to collapse, to help  keep them out of the way.The result was these glorious figures; dancing? drunk? laughing? head banging? pogo-ing? or maybe just having a chat.

The Three Grasses

A perfect complement  in colour and texture these willow spheres by  Rachel Carter sit amongst the 
herbaceous plants during winter.

At the ball.

Succulent flowers.

Nature, doesn't it just  wow you every time?
These succulents  are flowering  now in the greenhouse at the pottery

These are straightforward flowers where it is easy to see the functional parts.The pollen  producing anthers  are the fluffy looking structures ringed around  the  flower. The dark structures  in the middle are the pistil which is the female part of the plant. The pistil  is made up of the stigma  which is the narrow  sticky end that catches the pollen, then the style which is  the tube that   the pollen grows down to the ovary to fertilise the seeds.   

Heart felt.

Nothing doing for me on St Valentine's evening so I cooked  up some supper. First out of the bag of potatoes was this heart shaped little fella. Maybe a sign of better things to come thought I. 

 I also thought it looked far more interesting this way up. 

Blue Terracotta Pots

I have just installed these terracotta pots from Whichford Pottery in a local garden.
I think they look rather smart.

If you are thinking the gravel looks a bit too  pink to go with the blue and black  your right but  it is just a coat of stone dust  covering the  grey chippings and will wash off in the first rain.


Pine  away.

Many years ago Whichford Pottery used a 'gnarled' pine  on one of their Chelsea stands. After the show it was taken back to the  pottery and  stood against the office  wall where it settled in nicely. Over time it grew bigger  and, inconveniently for those in the office, it  blocked out the light to the window.The roots have run out of the bottom of the pot anchoring the tree but this winter it blew over cracking the pot.

We are replanting this border so it was a good time  to get the pine out. It was not possible to dig out all the roots but it was important to get out as many as possible to give the pine the best chance of surviving the move. A pot this size full of tree  this size is heavy  but fortunately there is a good strong crew at the pottery. The guys and gals  managed to lift it out wholesale and  place  it into its new hole.  

To help with stability and  also to hopefully contain the roots to slow down growth  the pot was left on  but buried  to about half its depth.  It might look a bit odd until the planting around it gets established. Here is Will  filling in around the pot. The pallet  is temporarily taking the weight

The plan now is to pinch and prune the pine into shape, first to help balance out the growth and then to keep it compact and restore its windswept look. Anyone have any idea when is the best time to reduce some of the tips?  G.T?  My instinct is to do it now  before  the new growth in the spring. .The planting beneath  will be simple, a carpet of Hakonechloa macra and maybe a rock or two.

Stinking Hellebore

Not a particularly good picture this. In the flesh it looked very bright in the winter sun. The pink flower stems have a crystaline, glinting sparkle to them.  It is a more colourful form of our native stinking hellebore ( Crush the leaves and take a sniff - it really does stink.). It  comes  from a plant known as Helleborus foetidus 'Wester Flisk' ( Sounds like a region in the shipping forecast  but is a place on the River Tay in Scotland.)  These red tinted stinking hellebores are now known  as the Wester Flisk Group , I guess because there is quite a bit of  variation  between  plants but all have red tinted stems and leaves and a  red/maroon rim to the flower petals. With me they are prolific self seeders, this plant  is a self set seedling some fifteen metres from the parent plant which  has since died.  Be ruthless  with the seedlings and hoe them out. It is very easy to end up with a dense patch of scrubby seedlings. The leafspots you can see in the picture, they have become worse since  the picture was taken,  are a bit of a fact of life with Hellebores  and while there  are  various sprays  both organic and chemical which may or may not be effective I just enjoy the flowers and if the leaves become unbearable I  just cut them off  though when they are at their worst there is plenty else going on in the garden  to distract you.
Hellebores are members of the Ranunculaceae family which means,  somewhat surprisingly, they are very close relatives of the buttercups, Aconites, Clematis, Delphiniums, Anemones and Nigella.


  1. Reminds me of 'The lonely tree of Wales'. I reckon your instinct is right to reduce it now. GT

    1. I didnt know about the Lonely Tree of Wales but having looked it up there is quite a story there. For those interested take a look at this link
      I never think of pines as being particularly transplantable perhaps in part because when I was a lot younger I tried to get myself a Christmas tree by digging up a small plant growing on the road side in a remote part of Wales. Thr tree did not survive the experience and I got the guilts about even trying to 'nick' it.

  2. Votre blog est très beau, bravo je reviendrai.

  3. Mr, Mrs or Ms Myself, merci, reviens bientot.