8 Oct 2015

Insta-update: Whoosh! There goes another week

It's entirely typical of the week I've just had that I'm posting this a couple of days late.  There were highs and lows including a day off sick, a day without internet, two contrasting garden visits (one large, one titchy) and an awards ceremony. We had some wonderful weather last week which made it feel more like late summer; I went to Wisley (the larger of the two garden visits) convinced that I'd get some gloriously autumnal shots but, no, the sun shone, the skies were pure blue and late summer seedheads and grasses looked fabulous.

I've been very quiet about the results of Camden in Bloom.  The awards ceremony was last week and I can now bashfully reveal that I was awarded second place in the Best Individual Garden category!  Not bad for a first timer, eh?  Naturally, I sought out the gardener who was awarded first place and secured an invitation to visit her garden at the end of last week.  This was the 'titchy' of my two garden visits, a courtyard space probably no bigger than 15' x 8', and surrounded by high walls which makes it very shady, but absolutely crammed with plants and her amusing art installations - there's even a pond in one corner. It's extraordinary the amount that this lady is growing so I take my hat off to her success.  

Here's my week in nine Instagram peeks:



From top left:

1.  'HUG' - the Ficus microcarpa bonsai being grown by the Camden in Bloom first place winner. She likes to name her plants and this one is very apt and made me smile hugely.

2.  Rosa roxburghii seen at RHS Wisley. Also known as the chestnut rose - you can see why. Intriguing, spiky and beautiful but a rather challenging rosehip for all but the most intrepid of foragers.

3.  Inspirational combination planting: Euphorbia myrsinites growing through Stachys byzantina.  Extraordinary textural contrasts from two of my favourite plants - perfect for a sensory garden.  No doubt an idea which will soon be appearing in the garden here, plagiarism being the sincerest form of flattery. ;o)

4.  Physalis.  This is the first ripe fruit this year from my Cape Gooseberry shrub.  I grew it from a seed two years ago and love it - the flavour is much nicer than shop bought and very worthwhile growing.  Let's hope that it's not too autumnal for a good harvest as it's usually fruited well before now!

5.  Saffron crocus starting to appear.  Small plants were put in during late 2013; I had only leaves last year then read that saffron crocus like to be buried deep. Some were left, others replanted a good 10" deep.  Let's see what happens … 

6.  'The Twelve Apostles'.  Another garden installation from my Camden in Bloom rival.  She collects stones with faces carved by the elements for  use in her garden.  As she says, "Jesus looks rather sad." Perhaps it's the apostles on the other side of the table we should be worried about.

7.  Slightly off-piste here but I was very taken with these gorgeous Aeoniums on display out the ladies' loo at Wisley and couldn't resist a quick snap! They were over 4 feet tall and thriving outdoors in their sheltered but sunny location but I imagine will be moved back to the big Glasshouse soon.

8.  Very little autumn colour in late September at Wisley - more like a warm blast of late summer with blue skies and yellow Heleniums in the Glasshouse Borders. Autumn surely won't be long now, though.

9.  I realised that the fruit thieves had left four pears high up in the branches of my tree where they couldn't reach. I stood on my upturned bucket and managed to bring the branches down enough to reach the pears for picking. Bizarrely, this tree is supposed to be a Conference Pear.  Does anyone else think that pear looks more like a Williams pear?  

Hoping everyone is having a good week - I'm amazed at how quickly the leaves are falling or turning red now so I think next week's update could have a lot of autumn colour in it! 

22 comments:

  1. Fantastic news on the results Caro, congratulations!!

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    1. Awww, thanks guys! :o) The competition has made me look at the gardens here with fresh eyes - bigger and better is the plan for next year!

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  2. Very, very well done. I'm sure next year you will be first.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I'm already imagining a garden in full blooming glory for next year!

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  3. Oh well done Caro! That's great news from Camden in Bloom.

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    1. Thanks Jessica! It was pretty thrilling, and lovely to meet the other winners at the awards ceremony.

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  4. Well done and I love the way visiting other gardens provides great inspiration and encourages change in one's own.

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    1. Thanks, Sue and, yes, I always get inspiration from other gardens - usually in the form of a bad case of the 'wanties' when I see gorgeous plants and shrubs! Thankfully my design training has tempered any impulse buying!

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  5. You certainly had a bit of a roller-coaster week. Well done on second place, and here's to next year being even better. Nice to visit the winner as you did.
    Good pictures, and yes that does look like a Williams pear. Flighty xx

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    1. I surely did and am trying to keep things a bit calmer this week! All the winning entrants were very friendly at the awards and I found my garden rival to be a very generous host. It's nice to make friends in that way. Thanks for confirming my suspicions about the pear; it's definitely not a Conference, neither was any of the fruit on the other pear tree. Obviously mislabelled. Cx

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  6. Congratulations on your Camden in Bloom award, that's absolutely brilliant, I'm so pleased for you. All that hard work has paid off. Sorry you've been unwell, but I'm glad that you managed to visit a couple of gardens anyway. I hope you're feeling completely better now. CJ xx

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    1. Thanks, CJ. I'm much better now thanks - there's a nasty 24 hr bug doing the rounds but it's good to get these things over with. Just got to sort out the cough that I've been left with. Both gardens were visited before I got struck down with flu so I think I may have overdone things a bit! I must find time to get into the garden now - tidying up is needed now that there are standards to maintain! Cxx

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  7. Congratulations! Thats brilliant. Well done. I'm feeling very nostalgic for Wisley now. I used to go weekly but haven't been since we moved here three years ago. Must go soon. I agree with you about the pear. Conferences are thinner, aren't they? And a green-buff colour? Hope you're back to full strength. Sam x

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    1. Thank you, Sam! I do love going to Wisley to see the gardens throughout the year. The pear id is a bit strange as the trees were labelled as Conference when purchased. I've waited 6 years for fruit so haven't been able to tell until now. Yes, Conference pears are narrower, longer and sort of green and brown. Not like these at all! Caro x

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  8. I'm so glad you did well in the Camden in Bloom contest! The winning garden must have been exceptional to beat you into second place. Is your Physalis a perennial then? I thought they were annuals. Or is it just Tomatillos that are annuals? By the way, Bravo for harvesting the difficult-to-reach pears. Their awkward location was obviously their salvation!

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    1. Thanks Mark, The first place garden was completely different to mine, more pot plants to my perennials, more flowers to my flowering veg and herbs, and a small space rather than the open space of my garden. Must have been hard for the judges to assess them evenly. Physalis, yes, a perennial shrub but usually treated as an annual in the UK. They're not evergreen but as last winter was relatively mild, mine still had a few leaves on it and fruited right up to December. I read somewhere that I could grow it as a shrub outdoors but, so far, have kept it in a potato grow bag outdoors and it has done quite well. I think it's a shrub well worth growing, lovely soft leaves and lovely tasting fruit. C x

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  9. Oh, well done Caro, congratulations! You must be thrilled. Love the look of the hips on that extraordinary chestnut rose, and am definitely going to steal that stachys and euphorbia combo, both plants I grow in my front garden but never thought of putting together before. Go figure. They work beautifully together.

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    1. Thank you, Janet. Yes I am pretty thrilled and had lots of nice comments at the awards ceremony. You too with the stachys and euphorbia, huh? It would never have occurred to me either but I love it! I saw some E. myrsinites growing in a planter with eucalyptus at Capel - it's that glaucous leaf colouring again. Hmmm, loads of inspiration!

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  10. Oh my goodness! Second place eh? That is amazing! Well done you that girl!
    I just loved the hug, how cute is that!xxx

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    1. Hahaha - yes, I had a feeling that you'd like that Hug plant and thought of you when posting! There was another one called Walking which looked exactly like a pair of legs, complete with all the anatomical details just below the waist. I thought better of posting that pic! Thanks, Dina; second place was a surprise but now I feel the challenge has been set out for next year! C xxx

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  11. well done on second place, and what a good idea to visit the winner!
    I loved the autumnal heleniums best :-)

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  12. Congratulations on coming second place I always thought that you would win a prize. That is such a lovely combination of Euphorbia myrsinites growing through Stachys byzantina. Sarah x

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Caro x

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