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Hi Salino (and for all).. Great to hear from you, thought I had bored you to sleep. Ref your rambling on well not to me and you may have noticed I have more than a very similar tendency myself - you love to natter, I love to natter, we all love to natter. Please do comment any time - love to hear it. And please do drop the Mr. Keen thing - officially I am Keen 1 but the name is Syd to yourself and any others on Site who may care to use it.  Ref the many plants I have grown  I am just one of many on Site I am sure but you can do a lot of gardening in 56 yrs. I will if I may comment separately on this plant thing and all our likes and dislikes  - next post. Now ref conifers. Yes I have always liked them but sparingly since they can I think if overdone be a little heavy. I have had three gardens now and they all had them some biggish and also tall and slimmish - I suppose it depends on the space you have available. I had Cham. law. Fletcherii, Thuyas and a dwarf Pine or two at first and also the Irish Juniper (until it finally goes (literally) sideways. Had a selection at second which this may sound a bit awful but since the garden was only smallish space was at a premium - I took off all the lower branches on all of them and clipped the tops to a ball - looked quite good actually and left space under to plant. Here ( we have been just about three years) the conifers were here on arrival - 3 lovely green tall slim Thuyas, two golden Chams clipped tight at the front. Theres a couple of minis in my recently created raised bed for some encrusted Saxifragas etc ( not mossy) - they are Elwoods and Elwoods gold and also another nearby green flecked white whose name I know not. One of my favourites is Thuya Rhinegold (sp?) which I had in the first two gardens and will get round to planting one here. Another very important aspect with the conifers is their winter worth and as you said adding some height etc. Like the Marjoram etc love to crush a bit of foliage for that lovely "Piney" smell, especially with Thuyas. Ref those spaces I have no idea what on earth happened there but I ain't no genius on PC's as I said-hopefully the Site can remove them?. Regards.

Hi all.  We all would agree that we all have our own ideas about the plants we like to grow and also design etc etc. I am only saying this due to a thought that occured about me talking of all these plants with ( to many) "fancy names" - we do all know though that it is the only way to positively identify a plant everywhere - popular names vary up and down Country.  Heres the story - I had a great pal who was also very keen on he's garden but loved annuals in very straight lines and patterns and also grew some really good ( but really blowsy) Chrysanths. He could never understand my garden full of ( to him) dull plants and no splashes of bright colour everywhere - used to call me ( forgive this word please) a "snotty" gardener, all these plants with the  "high fallutin"  names. I suppose it could appear (other than to all  who grow the same as myself)  that way to many . May I say please that I have about the same number of "everyday" plants as the "snotty" ones and love them dearly - Phloxes, Iris, Daylilies, Sedums, Helianthemums, Heleniums, Campanulas, Geraniums, Liatris and so on and so  on - you know the ones. Just wondered what others thought though not meant in any way to be controversial - just for conversation.

Hi all. Better soon "get my coat" ( another Fast Show fan me). May I mention birds in the garden. We all love them ( except perhaps Woodie on occasions when he has "pecked your Peas" ( if you have ever had your "peas pecked" by him you will know what I mean). Seriously they are part of the garden scene and it would not be the same without seeing them about. I am a great bird lover and like most of us encourage them into the garden as much as poss. Delighted to say that we have Wrens nesting in the garden and very close to the bungalow. Theres just the bog standard conservatory on the side here and next to i tis a narrow path with the garage right next to it - about a 3 feet space and that far away from indoors.  Its on that garage wall that the Roses and Clematis grow on trellis. and in the middle of one of these "clumps"  they have their nest. They started building it some weeks ago - lefi it for while and then joy of joys they came back and looks like they mean business this time. All sorts of comings and goings now  and I have closed off the path and put a notice to stay out and for why. Doing everything poss not to disturb them because so much would like to see again a family of young Wrens. At last address had a nest of them  in a conifer just 6 feet from the back of the bungalow and though did not see them "decamp" they did stay around the garden for a couple of hours until their parents presumably took them off to the the woods. I will try to describe what happened in those couple of hours  - There was  about 8 or 9 ot these just fledged young, nothing more really than fluffy fluttering golf balls (I like that) and they were everywhere, on the garage, on the shed, the trees and even on the deck  -  just everywhere  and with the parents seemingly  trying to keep it all under control, at the same time was this clamouring for food and all trying to get in first to mum and dad.  Best part part of all though was to watch them "scale" a fence, these were 4 feet high. Off the ground they just seemed to hurl themselves at it at it and clung on halfway up, somehow from there they propelled themselves to the top - goodness knows how they did it. A sight to see and I hope to see it again here with these - will take pics if poss and share with you a..


...I enjoyed reading that about the Wrens, some of my favourite little birds... don't see enough of them here... too many cats, everyone seems to have a cat, sometimes half a dozen, feral ones around too... I do have a Jenny Wren, and I still call them that... visit my garden through the winter and early Spring but haven't see her for some time...maybe she's busy with young now.. I always know she's about as her whirring sound is unmistakeable... could be a 'he' of course,, I wouldn't know..., plant names... I know what you mean with this, I too like to be accurate with these and don't mind mostly, but I get annoyed when just as you get familiar with some of them they change it to something else... also like you I find people think you're being a bit uppity or clever, but we just like to be specific I think and not to confuse it...

...people near me think I am the local gardener, but I know they can be a bit surprised and disappointed when looking at my garden as they don't see what they expect to see - a  whole range of summer bedding in mass effect... which is what they seem to expect at this time of year... virtually all my garden is permanently planted... I do like some annuals and wouldn't be without them in containers but my garden, like yours I expect, ebbs and flows, and many of my plants will flower perhaps for just a week or two, maybe a month, then others take over...lots of foliage along the way which doesn't always impress..  people are polite but I know what they're thinking.... ''where's the colour..??''.... it's there, you just have to look for it, or wait for it....  so come back next week..!... of course at this time of year most of our gardens will be in full flow... but even so, I still have, and enjoy, quiet areas that are resting... so to speak... where it's more foliage than flower...and people don't always understand that...

...I thought you would have a nice collection of conifers.. I've heard of most of these that you grow... I also like the 'Rheingold' and forgot to mention that, although I don't grow it now, I have a related one called 'Golden Tuffet'.. and I love these they make little balls of golden foliage tipped orange in winter.. I grow them next to Pittosporum 'Tom Thumb'.. it's dark foliage contrasts well I think.... to liven up this area midsummer.. I grow a white shrub rose called 'Diamond'... it has a very long flowering season just coming into bloom now, very thorny but it provides that colour I need for this area...bright and sparkling...



Hi. A couple more Hostas and part of the back plot looking to thr woods.





Hi. Apologies- no idea what went wrong there - if enlarged they are massive. Think I will have to give this pics thing up - more nuisance than I am worth.

I think using the Latin names is important.....we then get the exact plant we want.  We shouldn't be afraid of being seen as pompous.  

Re conifers.   Love them too.  Got quite a few and the well known albertiana conica is still a favourite with its lime green new foliage.  Taxus Coppershine though is fantastic right now.....almost orange foliage, rheingold has nothing on it.  Foliage changes from green and white, to increasingly coppery orange and finally to butter yellow in late summer.  It's wonderful next to pale yellow hellebores in the winter and blue frikartii monch soon.  Juniperus Sulphur Spray is lovely foliage amongst heathers and alongside pittosporum Tom thumb.  

Share the expressed fondness for hostas too......luckily I don't get them eaten and, so far, my luck is holding out again this year.  

Uncinia uncinia rubra was mentioned earlier somewhere.  I like this "grass".  It's nothing much right now but in winter it's excellent.  Again I have this,in front of a double white hellebore and it's a good looking winter scene.  Winter is just as important to me as any other season so I aim for as much colour as possible then from my perennials, etc

Hi Verdun.  Thanks for that. Some conifers do a lot for a garden - I will remember that one you mention and consider instead of Rheingold. Note you mention Hellebores another favourite of mine but only grow three. In spite of trying it umpteen times Niger  I have never succeeded with and yet folk tell me it is easy renough. I have corsicus,  foetidus and orientalis. I know you love grasses and I have some, Hakenochloa, Molinia, Carex (2 var), Millium (Bowles), Holcus, Phalaris ( in spite of its rampings love this for those leaves all different), Briza, Ophiopogon green and black, Liriope though not strictly a grass I treat it as such - have had others in the past but plot too small now so a try a few of everything. If I may say you are obviously very knowledgeable about plants and this I think is right, if you love things you must know all about them - what think you. Regards.

Hi. A couple of pics of the front sheeted and shingled garden - this to keep the Moles at bay which happy to say it does. Its a good thing really apart from that since this area is so very dry and its as much as i can do to keep that area at the back happy i n the dry spells. Looks OK and have a few shrubs in containers and  also behind me in the pic I have a nice Viburnub, a var Eleagnus,  yellow Choisya, couple of Laurels, more Bamboos, a Rhodo and a couple of small Azaleas under.



Hi Salino. I would be most surprised if I found a gardener who did not  like birds but I have known many b/watchers who do not garden.  Its a funny thing that here we live right next to a wood and in an area of many many beautiful trees both broad leaved and coniferous - my pet is a 50 ft Larch just over the fence - in spite of this theres far fewer birds (numbers and varieties) than there was in our last garden in a village  near Colchester. I figure it is the tall and mature trees responsible because averagely small birds do not nest/live in big trees - where theres hedgerows here theres a better selection can be heard at least. Ref the front garden well now't I can do about that but I do keep it looking nice naturally. The little Boxes I will clip to a ball when theres enough growth.

Hi B-L. Sorry I am a bit behind in replying to your last post. Firstly ref the book I can appreciate you are very busy indeed but the time will come when you have got it to your way of thinking and with all that interest and the experiences behind then get that pen out.- I have read some really super book written by folk who did just the same as what you have - best wishes whatever. Ref the Hosta slugs and snails are their enemy number one and it is always so sad to see a hitherto superb clump overnight be chewed by them. I was talking to Salino and we spoke of there being far fewer Thrushes about now, a couple of regular visitors of their ilk soon made its mark. Sharp gravel under them and keep their hideyholes to a minimum where poss. A daily look under the leaves often pays dividends. There is another   way -  I like to grow them and that is in containers where you can really keep an eye on them but this often is just not practical.   Hunt them mercilessly is the answer I think.  May I say again your garden looks superb and all credit to you makers of it. Regards.

A few years ago thrushes did seem to disappear....last year or two they have reappeared.  

Re hellebores keen, I have about 30 plus.  So, I guess I like them.  Such good value as they provide lush looking foliage in the summer to set off other perennials, etc yet provide so much brilliant colour from late winter to spring.

Re the grasses I don't grow phalaris for the reasons you gave but that same leaf colouring I get from miscanthus variegatus and to a lesser extent from cala. Overdam and misc morning light. The brightest white grass is Arrhenatherum bulbosum.  Best during late winter up to about now.  Have you grown it?  For red grasses Imperata red baron is a joy turning blood red....Pennisetum rubrum eaton canyon with foxy red folkage with beige/red flowers ..bit tender but wonderful in summer along with its cousin rubrum fireworks. .   Carex buchannii and comans bronze are evergreen red grasses here.  You guessed I like grasses too?  Grow elymus magellanicus other blue foliage except juvenile eucalyptus foliage comes close to it.  Grow most grasses except those I think will be invasive.  

Finally, re liriope there's a new variety now....Blondie I think it's called with pure white foliage.  Trying to get that.


...the first photo you put up there, when I enlarge it, just looks fantastic, I love that very much....

..I know you like your Hosta's and they are so very pretty in the pictures... the green/yellow variegation is quite fetching...

..once again, I must say I love that hard landscaping in your front garden, the brick pillars and fences not to mention the pristine look of the surface area... very suited to container growing this... it might not be my way of doing it.. but I think it looks quite beautiful nonetheless... I would be quite proud of that look... and especially suitable for either older people  who cannot always do the things we used to, or busy younger ones, with not much time...

Hi Verdun.  You know your grasses very well, I am going to read, digest and possibly obtain some of your choices here. I have one proviso about any variegated plants in that they can possibly look unwell and even diseased - that white Liriope appeals not  at all since to me it would fall within that caegory - to each their own as always in all things - one persons meat etc etc. Possibly the worst example to me are these "mottled" Willows with their green/white/pink foliage. Really good to hear from you and read your comments and thank you - keep them coming for me please.

Hi Salino. Thanks lass for your kind comments - Ref that front garden it was all a matter of making the best of believe me a very bad job - that front was a complete and utter mess with the Moles activities and I did what I could with it all - glad you like and thank you. Please do note my earlier comments to you in that I am always happy to chat to you and exchange thoughts - any time..


Hiya keen

Yep I understand totally what you say about looking "diseased". .  I think liriope may well be like this but I will still get it and see.  The grasses I mentioned are "clean".  I assure you  they look good with the possible exception of pennisetum fireworks.....not totally convinced by this one. ( maybe too much going on) .  There are some junipers with white splodges that look diseased.  I grow only plants I really like....they have to look good in their own right and then look even better when associated with something equally as good

Those "mottled" willows ??  I have 3 of them.  Most visitors go straight to them and like them as I do. They need to be grown well.  I have three half standing in a sea of blue geraniums, another above persicara red dragon.  I have one in partial shade growing as a small shrub next to Heuchera raspberry jam, then acer dissectum purpureum behind that.  On the sunny edge I have salvia patens.  I think you would change your mind about "mottled" willows....ha ha

In same vein, with similar " painting" but on larger leaves is Acer Flamingo.  On the forum last year several members expressed admiration for it when I posted a picture of it.  From now until autumn it is a mound 2 metres plus high and across of beautiful pink, white and pale green foliage.  Better than any flower and for longer.

Hey, enjoy the banter with you Keen

Hi all. I am going to call this " A trip into the (gardening) past - a plant medley". With the thoughts,comments and sugestions in this post it will hopefully be interesting but depending on your attitude it will either give you much to think ( and hopefuilly talk) about or indigestion.  Either way yer 'tis.  We are all so very interested in our garden and plants as we buy today from the Garden Centres etc but how many have a thought about their Histories? - where did they come from, when, who found them, their naming, all the many myths and fables which over the years have accumulated round them?.. So off we go and here may I ask who has ever read about the "Doctrine of Signatures"?  - this was where all the early medics devised a system whereby they believed that a plant by its appearance showed exactly what illnesses it could cure - a good example being the Lungwort (Pulmonaria) with its green spotted white leaves signifying a lung disorder and so on - can be read about on Wikipedia whatever. Next on the list has anybody obtained a copy of the very comprehensive "Gerards Herbal" in which so many of these early plant introductions and all about them is written ( in old English). To come up to date some  more of this same can be read of - did mention a book by Alice Coats called Flowers and their Histories. I do believe that all this is well worth while i n that it tells of the plants you are buyings histories, so much and many good talking points obtained thereby. Lastly and just to digress a little may I say that amongst my many interests I also have a great love of Pottery and Porcelain, particularly the 19th cent and earliert/later blue and white transfer printed items and the earlier/later hand painted floral items - the early and later Worcester, Derby, Coalport, Spode, Davenport etc etc. Do pse have a look and sure you will agree some really lovely things there. Nuff said except to give an example of the myths of these plants and here consider the Mandrake ( Mandragora) plant - believed to have magical qualities and therefore not to be pulled out of the ground by a human. What they did was loosen it in the ground, tie a rope from it to a dog and let that pull it out of the ground for them. Cranky? - well maybe but most interesting reading  non the less. Do not pse blame me for any indigestion you may have after all that little lot. Will leave it with you - enjoy. 

Hi Verdun. Ref those mottled Willows. Sure you are correct here in that your ones are shown at their best with most suitable and appropriate companions to complement and set them off.. to each their own as always but these not for me though. Your garden is as you like it with what you like in it and this I totally go along with. Enjoy.

Salino you I'm not terribly keen with mottling on plants, whether Acer Flamingo or Berberis, some others maybe can't think offhand...  they seem to look a bit ill to me... I prefer fresh green.. sometimes variegated plants look that way to me too, I prefer the yellow to be a deep colour not a washed out yellow, if you know what I mean... interest in the history of plants tends towards roses more than any other... but I can't claim any great knowledge... it's just a passing interest... I sometimes like to know who the plant hunters and collectors were, past and present... as they so often get to attach their names to plants... just remember that when you see 'Sieboldii' as a suffix... this was the gentleman - P.F. von Siebold - who spent much time in Japan and introduced Knotweed to this country....on the plus side I suppose, as I know you like these... he also brought Hosta's to Europe......


...I should also add that you have some keen interests...pottery and porcelain and suchlike... I have a nice couple of Wedgewood's if that's of any not... but at least they are not 'seconds'...

...delightful Mr Syd.... anyone who has such in their home must be quite proud I should think... and houseproud too... I wouldn't want to break any...