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Kristen's Project

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Kristen, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Kristen

    Kristen Under gardener

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    Well ... I'd already started a note about the Winter Garden, so I'll do the White Garden after that :)

    The Winter Garden


    Had planned to have something like Angelsey Abbey's Winter Walk which is a clever serpentine path with planting that obscures the route ahead

    [​IMG]
    Angelsey Abbey's Winter Walk

    But then realisation dawned that what we want is a Winter Garden that we can view from the window and not have to venture out to enjoy! Very heavy clay here, walking across the lawn in winter isn't something that can be done casually. Also my site is wide open, so smelly things like Winter Box would be unlikely to work. (I'm going to put them in the Japanese between the Rhodies, its all evergreen in Winter anyway ... and that is really sheltered so should hold the scent. Might be over-doing it, but I'm going to underplant with Lily of the Valley too ...)

    The Himalayan Birch are getting fat enough that the stems are getting their white colour, I'll take a pressure washer to them next Autumn.

    [​IMG]

    The planting plan is basically white birch underplanted with coloured dogwood stems. I've planted C. Midwinter Fire in the foreground and the taller C. Baton Rouge behind (which I think is the best red)

    [​IMG]

    A few other Winter favourites along the edge, to enjoy if and when walking past - Hellebores and the like

    Greenhouse Flood and Drain Benches

    I bought some commercial roller benches some years ago - sadly a closing down eBay fire-sale

    [​IMG]

    I didn't buy all of them! That was in anticipation of a bigger greenhouse ... and that was finished last spring.

    I have only just got around to fitting the benches. Last spring I made do with temporary benches

    [​IMG]

    New Bench construction started last Autumn

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Foundations for the legs

    [​IMG]
    The roller-benches. I got some Ali to put on them, and then pond liner on top of that:
    [​IMG]
    I put a sink waste & plug in, a vertical waste pipe, and just need to add some standard brown 4" drainage pipe for them to discharge into, and then a sump tank.

    "Flood" the bench with a couple of inches of water, let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes, and then "drain". A lot quicker than watering the plants themselves!

    I did have capillary matting on the previous greenhouse benches but whilst it was easy to install (Chuck it on the bench and water it!) it was dry at the furthest points from the water source, and the other problem was that it was always wet - so all plants had to enjoy that, even in winter.

    I now have 4 benches, so I can choose one bench to flood less often, maybe only a couple of times a week, for example for recently potted-on plants. The far, low (for head-height clearance), bench has a 4" lip so that I can get a decent amount of water in and large pots will take up the water.

    [​IMG]

    Spring crops, and some Dahlias and Bananas waiting to go out.

    An invader right at the front, that's where the Comfrey used to be when this was "outside" :) They'll keep coming back, friends are happy with the gifts! and maybe I should set up a market stall on eBay. Bocking-14 variety, sterile, so it won't spread from seed - definitely don't plant the seed variety, I did that before I knew about the sterile variety and a decade later still get seedlings popping up where some flowers and seeds were naively put on the compost heap as an "improver".
     
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    • shiney

      shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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      I presume your Birch are jacquemontii. The head gardener at Anglesey Abbey told me he cleans theirs with Fairy Liquid.
       
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      • Victoria

        Victoria Lover of Exotic Flora

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        It is all wonderful. Do I remember an Azalea/Rhododendrum area?
         
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        • Kristen

          Kristen Under gardener

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          Yes, the jacquemontii. I had an interesting discussion about "Which Birch" with a nurseryman down in Devon. Sadly he gave up (retired I think) and the nursery is no more, all the plants I had off him were really good quality.

          "I want a Betula utilis jacquemontii but I can't make up my mind between Grayswood Ghost and Doorenbos, I need whichever one is more robust and a good do'er"

          "What you want with those fancy varieties?, just plant the plain Betula utilis jacquemontii, no one will notice the difference and all the named varieties are less robust" ... so that saved me a pretty penny, and I believe the plain one is a faster grower too.

          I thought the guide at Anglesey Abbey told me that they pressure wash them ... that's what you get for speaking to the Head Gardner!

          "I tell them each year to use a sponge and fairy liquid" vs. "Yes boss. Right lads, get the pressure washer out" ...
           
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          • Kristen

            Kristen Under gardener

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            Right :). I'll do "White Garden" next for Loli, and then the Japanese for you :)
             
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            • shiney

              shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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              At the time the trees were quite young so would have been easy to do by hand. Once they got big they may have gone over to pressure washing. :noidea: They did say, at one time, that they had got too big for their position and they would be removed. They had planted a new section of them the other side of the gate.
               
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              • JWK

                JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                Wonderful to see your projects so far advanced

                I get Bocking-14 popping up because I dig in wilted comfrey leaves before planting, it propagates itself like taking leaf cuttings.
                 
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                • shiney

                  shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                  The Russians are invading! :roflol:
                   
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                  • lolimac

                    lolimac Total Gardener

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                    :hapfeet::hapfeet::hapfeet:

                    Fabulous pics Kristen:love30:...it's like looking in a sweet shop...keep 'em coming:thumbsup:
                     
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                    • Fat Controller

                      Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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                      Blimey, my house would fit in your greenhouse a few times over! Looks smashing
                       
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                      • pete

                        pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                        Didn't realise it could be grown from leaf cuttings, sounds like an experiment coming up.
                         
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                        • Kristen

                          Kristen Under gardener

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                          Inappropriate language. Where's the mod? :)
                           
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                          • Fat Controller

                            Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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                            Pun not intended, I assure you - - does look a cracker though; bet it is a sod to heat?
                             
                          • Kristen

                            Kristen Under gardener

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                            Just a recap on the Round White Garden

                            [​IMG]

                            May 2011. Hedges planted (you can just about make you the lines making an approximate square area). At that time I was imagining a straight-through path, and we had some "left overs" junk plants from some repurposing, and we'd planted then in this area as, at the time, we had no plans to develop it. So then it turns out that where we had planted them was now ... slap bang in the middle of the path!

                            Then I decided that a round-ish room would be better, so I planted a few extra hedge plants in each corner

                            [​IMG]

                            That's 2 years later in Mar 2013. Then decided that the straight-through path would be "Uninteresting", so got rid of that and started cultivating the soil in Sep 2014

                            [​IMG]

                            Still no idea what we would do with it mind! Hedge is doing well ... it had only been in for a couple of years at that point.

                            Then a visit to Sissinghurst shaped the plan. The White Garden there is very famous of course, and looks stunning (they must have to cut the Yew hedge SO early, because they will never be able to get access via the border in Summer / Autumn)

                            [​IMG]

                            The Rosa mulliganii over the arbour in the middle is spectacular (probably largely due to a huge amount of work carefully rearranging it in Winter so it looks perfect when it flowers in Summer :) Not a low-maintenance solution then ...)

                            [​IMG]
                            Sissinghurst May 2018

                            But the more we thought about it the more the sheer diameter of our round garden was a problem. An arbour, in the middle, would need to be tall enough to stand above the plants in the surround, which would be up to about 5' and then the rose growing over it would have to be enjoyed - all without being able to "walk backwards" to admire the view, because of the perimeter hedge.

                            I also wasn't very keen on herbaceous where some things would have short-season. Also, it happens that I don't like the "flow" in Sissinghurst's White Garden. I have no idea how Vita showed people round her garden, but a brick path, two bricks wide, pushing between Box hedges is my worse nightmare for an enjoyable stroll around my garden entertaining a guest. You'd have to turn your head like an Owl to speak to the guest in line-astern! I like to be able to walk comfortably two-a-breast, and 3-at-a-pinch.

                            [​IMG]
                            Sissinghurst path

                            So ... decided our Round Garden is too wide for a central arbour.

                            At this point we had dabble with White things, some annuals, and Glads, but I was still flirting with white Delphiniums, and even a Philadelphus or two

                            [​IMG]

                            I was clearly struggling with what to do with the centre.

                            I planted a White Lavender surround (its not really white, despite the "Artic Snow" name, but rather a blueish tinge).

                            [​IMG]

                            By 2017 we had a decent theme of (Mrs K is not very good with Plant Names and the Latin further throws her off balance ... so they forthwith called) "Tobacciana", Cosmos (mixture of Single and Double), some Glads and Cleome (the Helen Campbell white variety ... none of which have germinated this year :( )

                            The entrance is hidden, so you "come upon" it:

                            [​IMG]
                            Jul 2017

                            We then decided to split off the centre, and transplanted some Yews from around the vegetable patch to try to get a flying start

                            [​IMG]

                            [​IMG]
                            2019 had trouble with rabbits so I put some chicken wire round until the plants were well established - should have taken the photo after I took the chicken wire off, sorry about that.

                            and should also have pulled out that pink renegade Cleome Helen Campbell

                            Last Autumn Mrs K finally decided what should be done with the central bit. A Dragon Garden - obviously!

                            Put down some crush
                            [​IMG]

                            and some white gravel
                            [​IMG]

                            Only trouble is that in making "secret entrances" there are no longer any motorway-paths to get into that area, so hired some conveyors to get gravel from the dumper in the lane ...

                            [​IMG]

                            [​IMG]

                            Also sorting out the perimeter path with some cobbles (I paid a £quid each for them off eBay - Granite and all. Chuffed about that .. :) )

                            [​IMG]

                            and ... <DrumRoll> ... the first Dragon

                            [​IMG]

                            Apparently there will be a pile of stones with Dragons, and a "screen" with some indiscrete kissing dragons ...

                            Sorry, can't find any photos of the annuals in flower. I think I have a walking-through video, if so I'll post a link shortly
                             
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                            • Kristen

                              Kristen Under gardener

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                              I've side stepped that, but I do have a plan (just too disorganised to have got to that point this year).

                              I have cannabis lights in the boiler room, that gets the seeds going and gets them up to small-module size. I can cope with 40 or 50 9cm pots in there, but after that they have to go into the Conservatory. No heating needed for the boiler room,. and after start of April none for the conservatory either. But the Conservatory has a limestone floor ... its a nightmare to clean after I've had the Spring benches in there

                              [​IMG]

                              so I have vowed not to do that any more.

                              Its supposed to look like this

                              [​IMG]

                              I don't remember ever putting drawing-room sofas in there! Looks like a photoshoot for a house sale ... maybe getting the floors mucky was the final straw after all ...

                              I asked a particularly fastidious friend about suitable furnishings for the Conservatory when we built it and she told me, in no uncertain terms, that I needed to get Marston & Langinger. Unbelievably expensive (they've gone bust a few times ... and now are basically owned by Alitex greenhouses and don't do furniture any more, that I know of). Anyway, its built around a steel frame, lasts forever, looks nice ... and if you are patient and set up an eBay search ... comes up very cheaply from time to time.

                              We now have four M&L sofas and half a dozen arm chairs. Basically I got carried away, and, no, I can't fit them all in ... one place I went to collect from had a gated entrance with a guard. Hubby helped me load; the stuff looked brand new; he looked a bit crestfallen.

                              "If you don't mind me asking, why are you getting rid of the furniture?"
                              "Wife said we needed a change"

                              Ah ... well thank you very much!

                              Another lot I picked up, and whilst we were chatting, it turned out the chap had been a manager for one of the Stringfellows nightclubs. "Middle Eastern customer gave me his watch as a thank you for looking after him for the week he was in London ... paid for the furniture ... and the conservatory it was in"!!

                              I lead a charmed life, I tell you ... anyway, if you want some nice Conservatory wicker furniture set up a search on eBay for Marston & Langinger and see where it leads you.

                              Where was I? Ah yes ...

                              Cannabis Lights, then Conservatory (not this year, I've got a few gravel trays, but definitely no mess). The idea is that I will have blue water-pipe hoops over one bench in the greenhouse, and then put a thermal blanket over that at night, and a [greenhouse] fan heater underneath. I reckon that won't need a lot of top-up heat, and the greenhouse holds temperature between 2C and 3C better than my original 12x10 amateur greenhouse, and given the volume of air within it I reckon an insulated bench, somewhere in the middle, is not going to take a lot of heating for a few months in the spring.

                              I hope you only wanted the short answer? :)
                               
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