Gordon's Garden Diary

Slowly Learning Gardener
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Kent, England

3 Apr '07 11:03 pm
Gordon, thanks for sharing your before and after photos of the new front garden - it's looking fantastic already, I can't wait to see it when you've done the back- and foregrounds!

Your photos of your walk along the riverbank are charming, with all the wild flowers blooming away happily, and the dogs having a wonderful time, no doubt picking up on a million new and exciting smells! :D

And I just want to say to Liza, have a wonderful visit to Dinos' home, we'll hopefully hear from you while you're there but if not, will miss you lots! :cry:
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

head gardener
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4 Apr '07 1:37 pm
Dear Gordon! You are becoming more and more famous. Which makes me wonder if all busy forum members should do absolutely the same thing - their own garden thread. We all get so many good ideas - well we all have such good ideas to start with, don't we? And we all tend to mess the threads up, like random plantings, odd plants popping up in the 'wrong' places. Imagine if we all ever met in the same room - it would be like a grasshopper conversation! Cheers, sorry about the snow!
Head Gardener

garden enthusiast
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Waikato-New Zealand

Random plantings

4 Apr '07 3:06 pm
I actually am fond of the messy threads ,random plantings ,and odd things popping up .(Add accidental hi-jacks ). Your idea of us all meeting in the same room -is that an invitation Moosey -let us know when it would suit you to have us all ~

Happy Collector
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Lillooet, BC, Canada

Thanks, Everyone!

4 Apr '07 6:01 pm
Thanks, everyone, for the support! While I agree that our own threads (now that I finally have one :roll: ) is a great way to keep our pictures in one easily accessible place, I also like the great surprises I get when I run across something that I hadn't expected! But, in future, I'll try VERY hard to keep my pictures here, unless, of course, I have to post one on someone else's thread for comparison or some other special reason!

When I went to work this morning at 7:00 (UGH!- First time up so early in ages!), it was sleeting again, and, while the sun came out later in the morning, it remained unseasonably cold in the shade all day. In the sun, however, it was really nice, and when I got home at 3:30 I had to rush out and open the cold frame to keep my "babies" from heat exhaustion!

Glory be - my yellow Alcea (Hollyhock) seeds have sprouted! They were 3 or 4 years old but had been stored in a plastic baggie in the refrigerator all that time. I hope these ones are truer to what the package says than the last batch, which ended up every colour BUT yellow! They also all got rust, which Alceas are supposed to be resistant to.

I'm glad that tomorrow is my last day of real work for the week so that I can get out in the garden again, as it's such a mess after the winter. But I've been afraid to clean it up too much or to weed in case I uproot something that is just poking through the ground that I should keep. Also, the leaf litter should protect things a bit from this unseasonable cold. But I have primulas starting to bloom that I'd like to photograph but the background is such a disaster!!

There are little Hellebore seedlings all over the place, even in the pathway, so I guess I'll need to pot up some to give away, and I think it might be time to begin planting gladiolas and tigridia bulbs. I still can't find the ones that I moved a few weeks ago, but I finally found some replacement bulbs, so I'll plant some of them.

I plan to plant the tigridias in front of my cannas, which will be backed by a black bamboo. Then I think I'll put some coleus bedding plants among the tigridias to hide their spindly stems. That should look a bit tropical, don't you think??

For anyone who isn't familiar with tigridias, here's a picture of one from my last year's garden. I think they're just grand, with their bright, clear colours and their intricately-coloured throats. Each one is different!

Well, that's all for now! Cheers, everyone!

Here's one of the yellow Tigridias that I had last year. There are also glorious red ones, and each centre is different! Easy to grow as Glads!

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
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SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Bliss= a small garden + a beautiful area

6 Apr '07 11:25 am
Hi Gordon!

I really enjoyed your posts and I envy you the combination of a small garden where one can be focused with beautiful walks full of natural beauty in the vicinity. I know I have a wonderful setting and an enviable lifestyle - but sometimes I wish it wasn't all my responsibility :shock: :lol: Are we EVER satisfied with our lot, us humans!

You know what fascinates me: I write about my wild flowers and others ooh and aah about the fact that they grow wild. But if I were to list ten plants I most wish I could grow, they would include - in order, and with Trilliums right up near/at number one, Trilliums, Erythroniums and Lysichiton. Oh and of course crocus and tulips and and and...

Your unknown plant by the water looks to me very much like a type of willow (Salix) with the catkins just beginning to unfold. They can be very beautiful at this stage and some do have the pinkish (as it seems to me) tinge of those in your photos.The other one looks more like an Alnus catkin, although I really know only a few species. Your walk pics are beautiful - the serenity of the limited colour and soft light, the thought of the fish and the otters, the joy of the dogs...

Thanks for sharing!

PS: Tigridia have twice gone awol for me, despite the fact that my neighbours also say they grow them with the greatest of ease... I once had one which was neon pink - quite startlingly bright, especially with its earthy-toned innards!

Happy Collector
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Lillooet, BC, Canada

Trilliums, Erythroniums and Skunks, Oh, My!!

6 Apr '07 4:13 pm
Hi, Jack!

Thanks for the kind words; yes, gardeners are never satisfied, are we?? Here am I, envying you your almost wild cannas, while I have my dining room table filled with tiny baby ones in ugly, black pots, trying to give them a head start for our relatively short growing season!

It rained again today, so all I did was to take a few pictures of my garden before the downpour spoils everything!

Tomorrow is forecast to be a sunny, warm day (up to 17 degrees C.), so I'm planning to move some narcissus bulbs that are slowly fading away to a place where they'll get more sunshine. Then, once they're moved, I'll be able to dig in the old chicken manure that I got for my new canna bed where the narcissus used to be. I'm also going to plant some of my new tigridias there (in frontof where the cannas will go) to give them a head start. I'll put in some more in a month or so in order to have them blooming for a longer time. The cannas won't go out until at least mid-May!

All of the plants that I used to fill the new front bed have begun to grow, or, in the case of the Perovskias, to leaf out, and my indoor-planted seeds are sprouting, so soon I'll need to think once more about setting up my banks of lights inside to keep them going until they can go into the cold frame.

Well, here are today's pictures, for what they're worth!!
Daphne, Briggs Moonlight, Apr5, 07.jpg
This is the Daphne over which I gushed in my last post! It should eventually grow to about 1 metre x 1 metre, and it's evergreen.
Drumstick Primula,Apr5,07.jpg
This is the first of the drumstick type of primula to bloom for me this year; it's only about 6 inches in height right now, but should get quite a bit taller before the flowers fade.
Rescued Daffodil, Apr5,07.jpg
I rescued 2 or 3 of these from a building site where everything was due to be bulldozed; isn't it pretty? It will end up in the new, front bed.
Tree Peony,Apr5, 07.jpg
This is my lovely, single, white Chinese tree peony, just beginning to awaken after its winter nap. It was poisoned and greatly disfigured last year; let's hope life is better this one!

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa


6 Apr '07 7:04 pm
You do know how to tempt one, Gordon: looking at your pics, Daphne should have been mentioned on my list, primulas I keep trying with very limited success, dafs I have none of after losing 150 odd between springs (one came up - once - to tease me) and that put pay to my plan to naturalise a great many. Now I have none as the cost doesn't warrant annual replacement. Peonies as well I adore, but my basic red faded over years and then didn't recover from the 2005 transplanting. It produced four flowers over 11 years... As for the tree peonies, I have three yellows of which one has flowered twice in the 11 years since the seed were first planted. I've learnt that if it is not commercially available in SA there must be a good reason - and I have neither the time nor the money nor the patience for too much pampering! Still: if I could get Sequoiadendron or Larix to grow and thrive... :roll:

I hope your tree peony recovers fully - it looks perfectly healthy! I had a similar situation about 8 years back when one of my most prized trees was accidentally poisoned with Chopper through root contact with a stump that did not even need a Chopper treatment. :twisted: Needless to say, that sort of chemical is now banned from my garden areas. However all's well that ends well: the tree - a Weeping Cherry - just managed to survive, was severely and strangely pruned so that it looked for three years like a dishevelled Maltese dog, and is today again one of the prize items in our collection of trees.

Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

More Garden Pics

7 Apr '07 2:06 pm
Hi, Jack!

Thanks for the comments! I, too, have a yellow tree peony. It's called a Tibetan peony (can't remember the Latin name except that it ends with "lutea"). However, it is just a baby. I've had it for 2 winters now, and it is only about a foot tall, but it looks very healthy. Unlike the other one, this little one has bright green leaves instead of padded-looking, purplish ones.

I got quite a bit of gardening accomplished today and even took the dogs for a trip to the bush to get stumps and wild mahonias with a friend. We returned happy with a lot of "loot" which I'll take to her place when I finish with this post. She wanted the stumps for stands for some potted plants in her garden, just in case you were wondering what anyone would want them for :D !

Here are today's garden pictures:

All the best,

Euphorbia Chameleon, Apr5,07.jpg
These are the Euphorbia "Chameleon" division that I moved to the front of the new flower bed. I'm just posting them now so we can compare them with later in the summer!
Gold Lace Primulas Apr6, 07.jpg
This is one of my Gold Lace Primulas blooming for the first time from seed.
Lenten Rose Apr6, 07.jpg
Here's my largest clump of Lenten Roses (Hellebores). They've been blooming for at least a month now!
Lenten Rose Close-up.jpg
Since all of the Lenten roses hang their heads, here's what the face of one looks like!
Hyacinths Apr5, 07.jpg
These are some of my hyacinths. I forced these ones last spring, then planted them out in a hot, dry spot, and here they are again!
Jetfire Daffodils Apr6,07.jpg
This is a clump of "Jetfire" daffodils. They really like their position and increase year by year.
Rip Van Winkle Apr6, 07.jpg
"Rip Van Winkle" daffodil. This variety dates from the mid-1800s.
Seedlings Apr5, 07.jpg
Here are some of my 100 primula seedlings from last year's seeding. They all made it through the winter in good shape and should bloom this year.
Single Marsh Marigold Apr6, 07.jpg
This is a single Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustrus)- my first of this year. Soon this plant will have lots of blooms, and will be followed by the double-flowered variety. They are bog plants that grow wild here.
Species Tulips Apr6, 07.jpg
Species tulips ready to burst open!
Tellima & Geranium Apr6, 07.jpg
My favourites, Tellima grandiflora (background), with Geranium phaeum "Samovar" in front. There's also a couple of Pulmonaria flowers at the side, trying to squeeze into the picture!

Happy Collector
User avatar
Lillooet, BC, Canada

Tree Peony

7 Apr '07 5:12 pm
Hi, all!

Well, I'm back home again, and while away, I thought of some things that I should have included in my last post.

First, the Latin name of my Tibetan tree peony is, "Paeonia Lutea Ludlow II". My other tree peony came with a label that said only "Tree Peony" and which showed a double (!) white flower. Well, it bloomed the first year with a lovely, 8-inch diameter, SINGLE flower. Here's a picture of it:


Tree PeonyB.jpg
This was the first, and, so far, only flower that my white tree peony has had for me. Notice the beautiful leaves!!

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

More names to conjure with...

7 Apr '07 6:12 pm
My peony is not P.lutea - it is the one with the unpronouncable name that sounds like a Polish motorcar accident. As for the double white - they apparently achieved almost mythical status when Vita Sackville-West planted one in the White Garden at Sissinghurst. No-one had seen one before in the UK, and they are still extremely rare, if the info I drag out of the bottom of my brain is to be trusted!

I'm going to have to extend my list of wannahaves beyond ten, as you're oversubscribed it on your own... species tulips, Tellima, Pulmonaria... and as for Rip van Winkle! (Eggie, we need an emoticon showing extreme greed :twisted: :P :shock: :?: =P~ )


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