Six on Saturday – 27/10/2018

I’m going to be up at RHS Rosemoor today for a meeting of the Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group, a rare chance for me to talk Camellias all day with some of the select few who share my obsession. It was a Camellia that set off the train of thought that led to this six.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Navajo’ to be specific. I planted it in full sun at the front of the house some years ago and it is now flowering freely. The autumn flowering varieties want much warmer and sunnier conditions than the spring flowering japonicas and williamsii’s, so I thought this would be the ideal place for it, and so it has proved. As it turns out, it’s also ideally sited for enjoying its display without venturing outside, which made me realise that winter flowering plants should ideally be easily visible from indoors. I sit in my armchair and only have to look up for a grand view of one of my favourite plants.

Inside, looking out; all I need is another five viewpoints and we’re done.

The room upstairs above the last view is a bedroom. You’d have to lean out a bit to see the front garden, this is not the view you’d get from sitting up in bed. There’s ‘Navajo’ again; Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’ is flowering again just above the Chamaerops palm. The roof to the left is our neighbour’s, as is all the garden between it and the hedge, which is his too. I say “his”, but he died a few weeks back and the house is empty. At bottom right is the porch outwith our front door.

Still at the front of the house, in the porch. We had this put on last year and with the sun shining on it and the front door open, it warms the house up lovely. To the right, at the top of the drive, is our seasonal flower display. We’re at the top end of a cul de sac so it’s better known in Mudgee and North Carolina than locally. On the left, under the ‘Navajo’ window, we group some of our succulent collection for the summer. The postman mostly goes the long way round now, it wasn’t always so. Agave montana is not to be trifled with. The original idea was to keep the porch itself clear of plants; that lasted about a week.


Should you ever visit us, you will be welcomed in that porch and would come into the house and through to the kitchen for the cup of tea you’ve just said yes to. Waiting for the kettle to boil, you might sidle over to the door and look out. Many years ago we replaced a cheap and nasty lean-to glasshouse on the back of the house with a Hartley lean-to. Basically it’s half a span of one of their commercial glasshouses, expensive for a glasshouse but a fraction of the cost of a proper conservatoire. It’s a glasshouse with vinyl on the floor. We can water with a watering can and not worry about the odd spill. In the afternoon the sun gets round the back of the house and it’s a pleasant place to have that cup of tea, surrounded by plants and looking out to the garden beyond its walls.

We had an extension built and that also has a door out to the garden, the one through which we usually go, the one with the wellies parked beside it. There’s the lean-to glasshouse to the right again. The other glasshouse is my propagation, cucumber, chilli, fuchsia overwintering, vegetable raising house. Be careful on the decking, it’s very slippery. It’s the biggest clear space we have because the washing pole goes in that hole in the middle.

Our bedroom runs the length of the extension upstairs and at the back we had glass doors fitted, with a metal railing outside. There are two chairs facing out which we don’t seem to use so much these days. It’s a great place to sit and look out over the garden, most of which can be seen from here. I subscribed to an End of Month View meme for a while, and this was a shot I took every month for two or three years. I just dug out one from the end of October 2015. You get to play spot the difference. Magnolia, gone; Oak tree, gone; Hazel, gone; bamboo, gone. At this time of year the house throws a long shadow over the garden which the camera struggles with more than my eyes. When it’s cloudy, the view just looks flat by comparison.

And that is the view from the inside. I’m not usually such a wuss but the cold and wet arrived rather suddenly and I haven’t adjusted yet. I haven’t put very much under cover either, which could be a problem if I’m back late today and it’s seriously cold overnight. All the while the wind keeps blowing we should be OK but Cornwall can catch you out; from most directions the wind is off the sea, which keeps the temperature up, from the northeast it isn’t, so a small shift in wind direction, or no wind, can mean trouble. It’ll be fine though. . . . .

Gotta go, should be gone in fact. Loadsa links on The Propagators post as ever.

24 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 27/10/2018

  1. Enjoyable tour around your garden Jim. If I remember rightly, you’re looking after the neighbouring front garden as well as your own, which is extremely decent of you. Our street is actually called ******** Close, which I think might be the British version, even though we call that kind of dead end street a cul-de-sac here.


    1. Dead end street has very negative connotations with us; our road is ****** Close too, named after Mike ****** who was the farmer on whose land the estate was built and who still lives nearby. I’m not doing much next door, pending it’s sale, but I will go and cut the grass sometime.


  2. Nice presentation of the tour of your house (or a part). I really enjoyed the succulents and cacti in the porch with such a beautiful light, they must be delighted in the winter! A bit too far but it would be nice to visit you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So great to have a tour of your garden from the house. I love the view from your Hartley lean-to.
    Great place for a cuppa.

    I planted an autumn flowering Camellia a coupe of years back and it has never flowered. Thanks to your post I now realise It’s not getting enough sun so I may move it…


    1. Giving Camellias similar treatment to Yucca and Agave seems extreme but seems to work in our climate. Further north even that may not be enough. In warmer climates they’d probably be better with some shade.


  4. I hope all is well with you and yours. Last we “spoke” you were caring for your wife after surgery. I am happy to see the layout of your gardens and green houses (greenhice?) and marvel that you were able to remove bamboo. I would love to eliminate a huge amount that came with our place. Some is handsome and not too bad about spreading, but there are several square meters of horrible stuff that previous owners seem to have loved. It grows into the house foundation….UGH! I am curious what will become of the shared garden. Will the house be sold?


    1. The running bamboos are a nightmare to control, mine was a clumping one. Sorry to say I sprayed it once with strong glyphosate and that killed it. Next door will be sold, next door but one is also being sold because the occupant died. Dangerous place to live round here! The tenants next door the other side of us moved out today too.
      All is well with me and mine, though treatment is ongoing, thanks.


  5. I was at Rosemoor yesterday, and very lovely it was too! Hope you had a good day. I am very envious of your glasshouse, sounds wonderful. Your garden looks stuffed full of plants to discover, I am sure there are some very interesting ones!


    1. Ken Cox, talking about woodland gardening, spoke very highly of what had been achieved in one very small garden of just 2000sq m. I have 500 and that’s much more than most people. Many of the plants have had a moment in the glare of the SoS spotlight, it’s one of my excuses for buying new ones. Seriously though, if you’re ever down this way, do pop in. I saw nothing of Rosemoor today, holed up talking plants all day, which I loved.


  6. Great views all round. I notice you keep your windows clean; impossible to take a photo from inside out here as that is always a job for the tomorrow which never comes. I must reform my approach and clean the damned things on, say, the first Monday of every August. In every other year. Actually, it’s only rather recently that I’ve paid attention to the views out of windows. Which is why so much is currently disappearing from the garden. My only conifer now is a Juniper and I’m down from seven trees to three (not counting Leylandii). Off to check for Camellia buds now.


    1. Storm Callum left salt over all the front windows. I had to clean one to get the camellia pic. The others can wait. They’ll only get dirty again so what’s the point. I have another of my six remaining conifers in my sights, which saddens me a little because I like conifers a lot, but they don’t seem to fit the current zeitgeist.


  7. You’ve got many a great view from inside your house, & many a nice place to sit w/your cuppa. Wonderful autumn colours, but then, your garden always has some great palettes.


  8. A different take on a Six, it’s great to see the bigger picture. I love my garden but can see very little of it from inside the house as it wraps around one side and most of it is at the front off to one side. Do you heat your conservatoire?


    1. The conservatory is kept above freezing but not heated as such. It’s as much as the plants we grow in it need. When the sun gets on it, it gets warm enough to sit in, even when it’s very cold outside. I was just struck by how much I was enjoying having that Camellia flowering where it is easily seen, I’m looking for a couple more similar opportunities.


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