Where do the weeks go, it’s scary how little time seems to have lapsed since last week. I’m in full on project mode in the garden, sorting out the glasshouse that I used to call my propagation house. It’s still essentially a sideshow to moving the tunnel but it needs doing so I have somewhere to put some of the stuff in the tunnel.
The garden has slipped into a state of slowly decaying lushness. It seems inappropriate to do over much tidying this late in the season so there are things flopping over the paths and collapsing in the beds and if they still have a bit of colour that’s where they stay. And there’s plenty of colour, meaning most of the paths are all but impassable.
This being Six on Saturday I must pluck six items from the melee; these are the chosen ones.
Hedychium ‘Tara’. I don’t think this has fully recovered from the stress of growing amongst the roots of the conifer I felled last year. It may be that the newly planted clump on the other side of the garden, which is still in bud, will do better. This was another Tony Schilling collection, as seed in November 1972 in the Kathmandu Valley. The seeds were germinated and grown on at Wakehurst Place and when it flowered it was identified as an unusual form of Hedychium coccineum. It is now thought to be a hybrid between H. coccineum and H. gardnerianum. It proved vigorous and very hardy. It was awarded the RHS Award of Gardemn Merit in 1993.
Elephant Hawk moth caterpillar. Two weeks back I included a video of Peacock butterfly caterpillars and a couple of days ago I found a chrysalis dangling from a lettuce leaf on a plant I’d brought home so I was going to include that. However, I was cutting concrete blocks with my angle grinder yesterday and spotted this beauty munching away about a foot from where I was working. He’s a bit dusty, but we had rain later so he’s had a shower. He’s at least three inches long. Later on, Sue called me down to deal with a large moth that was flying around downstairs. It was too lively to photograph but was a Convolvulus Hawk moth. It will have had a wing span over 3 inches and when I released it outside it flew off looking like a small bat.
Viola cornuta. These were grown from Alpine Garden Society seed sown back in April. They’re a very pretty shade of blue and have been flowering for weeks. Hopefully next year they’ll come back and be even better.
Begonia luxurians. I’d have sworn I’d done this recently but it’s been a year. This is the second year I’ve planted a couple of these Begonias out into a shady spot in the garden. They love it and perform so much better than being in a pot. This one is around four feet tall and flowering, not that the blooms add anything useful to the overall effect. They will get lifted and brought under cover for the winter, but not yet.
Miscanthus nepalensis. Last year I put this in very late, in December, by which time the flower heads had gone fluffy. They start off looking like they’ve been exquisitely created in metal, or perhaps sprayed gold for Christmas decorations. In early morning light it really is gorgeous.
The glasshouse project. I’m going to impart a bit of free advice. Ordinarily I take the view that free advice is a bad thing; you should be glad to pay for good advice and bad advice is not worth having. All the same and for what little it’s worth, you should build the foundations of your greenhouse before you put it up, not after.
The prop house went up in May 2013, set on top of a brick built, 6 foot square pond. It was fixed down to the brickwork but overhung by four feet, so there I used the ground anchors and set them in concrete. The plan was to be able to grow things in a soil bed within the greenhouse. Then it was given over to the mist system, so nothing was grown in the soil. Now the mist system has gone and I want to pave the floor, for which I need a solid base and that needs to be contained by something solid. Hence I am now building a block foundation under part of the existing glasshouse. It’s not a pretty sight, you can have a before picture and when it’s all done I’ll do an after picture. I’m not going to expose my building skills to public ridicule, what I am prepared to show you is bad enough.
The sun is shining, I have much to do and must crack on. It’s a beautiful day for almost anything other than shunting various forms of concrete about, but that’s what beckons. Our leader, the Propagator, is out plant shopping and I’m not the least envious. I’m not. Well, a bit maybe. His six, and links to the rest are here.