Please send in photos of your garden or a particular plant or flower in your garden, and we will share to all members, on this page. Email as usual to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Valentines! There are a surprising number of heart-shaped leaves in the garden – how many have you got?
Here is Celandine, Dogs Violet, Cyclamen and Honesty.
Somebody is smiling, in Angela’s garden, despite the snow! This is Budai, the Laughing Buddha, having a bit of a giggle.
Winter aconites and snowdrops looking happy in Vija’s garden. (For once, an example of some flowers that are blooming at the right time of year!)
Something to look forward to: Jillian has lots of babies off her Billbergia nutans, which she has potted up for sale to members, for when we can finally meet again. It’s common name is Queen’s Tears or Friendship Plant. She thinks the small plants should be big enough to flower this year. This isn’t a picture of her own plant, but something to aspire to! A challenge..
Some unusual flowers out in Angela’s garden – here is a Penstemon thinking it’s still summer, and the Anisodontea, African Mallow, has ignored the recent frosts and carried on.
Maggie has been out and about on her daily walks, and says that the daffodils down near the O2 are all coming out. A lovely sign of Spring, and a good walk along the Thames side.
The photo below might remind us all to ensure there are gaps under the fences in our gardens. There is a trend to use concrete gravel boards at the base of new fences, and while they are wonderfully sturdy and long-lasting, spare a thought for the wildlife! Frogs and toads need to travel between gardens and water sources. It’s really easy to push a trowel under the gravel board and make a little underpass for them, it makes all the difference.
Happy Dahlias, in bed for the winter, covered with a lovely blanket of Christmas tree branches!
What’s in flower in YOUR garden? All these in Kathy’s garden on January 3rd 2021, they don’t seem to know it’s winter. Although it’s a bit tatty, there is even a blue Lobelia flower, what’s that about? If you have more, send them in to feature here.
Kathy’s garden – a Fuchsia thymifolia which seems to bear its tiny flowers for 365 days a year and thrives in part-shade. What’s not to like? An added bonus that it is apparently slightly resistant to the gall mite too.
Anne R’s beautiful fully compostable wreath – ivy with osmanthus, rosemary, bay, honesty, rose hips, haws.
Primroses, snowdrops and Christmas rose out and doing their thing in Jan’s garden. Everything so early!
Lots of late colour in Chris B’s garden, Osteospermum, Pyracantha, Cotoneaster and a very pink Salvia.
This is Harry & Val’s Eucharis amazonica, which is flowering for them for the fourth time this year!
Here is Jean’s rose “Compassion”, still blooming away in November:
Penny has sent in a picture of her Cobea plant, which she says is sited in a cold part of her garden but still insisting on flowering in November. It is beautiful, and usually grows as an annual in this country, so it must love her!
Carolyn’s Salvia “Hotlips” is providing late colour and cheer in her garden, having been flowering all summer long.
Viv has sent in her star performers, Schizostylus coccinea in two colours. Or Hesperantha as I suppose we should call them. Also known as Kaffir Lily or River Lily.
This month we also have a special report on Viv’s garden:
VIV’S GARDEN UPDATE:
It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since we moved into our new house in West Park, Mottingham. Many members will have visited our old house and garden, next door, whilst the new build was taking place. For those who don’t know though, after realising that we needed to downsize, as our family had flown the nest, we decided to knock down our garages and build a smaller house adjacent to our old one.
Before the dividing fence went up between the two gardens a man came to us to erect a shed in, what appeared to him, to be the middle of our large rectangular lawn. I showed him the sticks I had placed to mark where I would like the shed to be built. He took his hat off, scratched his head and asked “Are you sure that’s where you want it? -It’s a bit random isn’t it?”
When the shed had been built a dividing fence was erected straight down the middle of our large rectangular lawn, between our old and the new gardens. I invited some friends around to see what was going on. Some even peered rather nervously through a gap in the new fence to hear what plans I was hatching for my new garden.
Whilst the house was going up I got cracking on creating a new garden.
The first thing I did was to lay a curvy hose on the lawn to plan my new bed layout. I placed long canes to indicate where I hoped to build the raised beds, compost etc. By running up and down the temporary staircase in the, by now, half built new house I could look out of the windows, then adjust the hose each time, and get a better idea of how the new flowerbeds would look. I found this quite exciting as I was fed up with my straight lines of the old garden.
Then we moved the arch from our old garden into the new one, taking care to move the rose and clematis it supported at the same time. None of the side flowerbeds have been made at this point.
I must confess, at this stage that two of my son’s friends were on hand to help with the arch and digging out the lawn to make flowerbeds. We barrowed all of the compost that I had been making in the old garden and set about improving the soil in our new beds. They also helped us to make 2 raised beds, from scaffolding planks, which quickly became temporary residences for extra plants that were in transit. Here they are with my beautiful Cercis Siliquastrum flowering profusely in the background.
I do find that gardening is rather like decorating. You have to put in many hours of hard work before you can enjoy the easy bit.
The next task was to dig up and split all of my beloved treasures in our old garden. I planted half of each one back in the old garden and half in the new. I was thoroughly enjoying myself and I was barely buying any plants but by the end of the year but I had almost filled every bed. The job was made easier by removing a fence panel so that I could dash, laden with plants, from the old garden to the new.
As you can see by the next spring the garden was starting to shape. It’s simply amazing how things have grown. After just a year it almost looks like a mature garden.
Isn’t gardening wonderful? If you put a little work in you get so many rewards.
Since taking this photo I have created a dedicated iris bed with 7 different coloured irises. I’m worried that I’m becoming an iris addict!
During this year’s lockdown my projects were a bug hotel and very small pond.
I have also been trying to introduce some vertical planting which will hopefully cover the new fence that looks so bare. So far I have put in several climbing roses including Iceberg, Compassion, Danse du Feu and Golden Gate. I’ve also planted several other climbers like honeysuckles, clematis and Hardenbergia. This is a new plant to me. Apparently it’s similar to a Wisteria but less vigorous.
All of this has required rather a lot of trellis so I do hope that it all grows!
In August I was glad to welcome many members to our open garden. We shared the day with Vija and Fran who also opened their gardens and made a whopping great £319 for cancer charities. I know that some society members could not come that day and so I thought I’d share a few photos of our progress over the year. Viv.
Enjoy a walk around Sian’s beautiful garden this October: click on the button below and the video will play. We love Sian’s pebble beach idea!
Val & Harry have sent in this selection of their Autumn stars. They have a wonderful stripy Tagetes patula ” Jolly Jester” in their border. Harry says it germinates like mustard & cress and grows to 75cm-1m. It looks stand-out!
Here is Jillian’s garden, she has a lovely display of cyclamen in her borders, some of the corms are the size of saucers!
The succulent display in Jillian’s greenhouse is looking good:
Here is Marian’s dewy autumnal rose:
Show those Autumn colours! This is Kathy’s Blueberry “Goldtraube”, what a waste to have this in the soft fruit bed, it should be on full view in a border. All the books say it needs acid soil or to be in a pot of ericaceous compost, but it fruits and thrives very happily in normal soil with a watering can of Sequestrene a couple of times a year.
Annie has harvested her garlic and it’s done very well this year. I expect these would have been part of her Autumn Show entry, never mind, next year..
Cutting back lavender is this month’s job. Kathy was a bit mystified by these structures revealed when the lavender was cut back. They look a bit like Nigella seed cases! But Mr Google says that they are the nests of the Wasp Spider, a fearsome looking spider which is spreading to the South East of England from the continent. It is actually quite harmless, and mimics the wasp so that predators leave it alone.
A lovely selection of Cosmos and Dahlias, definitely September’s flowers. These are Cosmos Purity, Dahlias Verrone’s Obsidian, Mexican Star and Bishop of Auckland. (Plus an unknown beautiful double red one.)
Mottingham Open Gardens – three of our members opened their gardens on Bank Holiday Monday to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Between them they raised £319 for this very good cause. Some photos below, and a great video taken by Hugh.
Thank you to everyone who visited!
Beautiful picture of Gatekeeper butterflies enjoying Sharon’s garden. Lysimachia clethroides is grown here with Anthemis “Cally Cream” near a Hydrangea Limelight in a pot.
These are Sunflowers, Helianthuis debilis “Vanilla Ice” growing daintily in Sharon’s garden, producing new flowers continually as she deadheads them.
Here is Peter’s rose, he says about 50 rosebuds have come off this one side shoot, which he was going to cut off. Lucky he didn’t then!
This is Carol’s back garden – a very stylish “White Garden” at this season.
The little plant below is Night Phlox, grown from seed, in Kathy’s garden. The picture at the top is during the day – when you would definitely just pass it by. But at dusk, it absolutely dances and shines out!
Not strictly a members garden, this is in the hedgerow at Vanburgh pits on Blackheath. It is our native Clematis – called Travellers Joy or Old Man’s Beard (because of the fluffy seed heads later on). It is rather beautiful at this time of year.
Emma has sent in pics of her Lilies doing very well this year and loving the hot weather. Well done for keeping the dreaded Lily Beetle at bay!
She is also very proud of her first Lockdown Courgette (and looks like lots more to come):
And finally this vase of colourful home-grown flowers. Beautiful – it would be a good entry for the Summer Show coming up soon!
This rather beautiful caterpillar will turn into a Toadflax Brocade moth. Kathy says: it gave me a turn as I thought it was a box caterpillar at first ( ie Kill on Sight!), but it seems to be reasonably well-behaved and is munching on self-sown common purple toadflax so I have left them in peace.
Val bought this clematis half-price from RHS Hyde Hall some year ago. Think she got a bargain!
Not everything is coming up roses in every Members Garden. Kathy is an organic gardener and doesn’t use any pellets.. but is thinking that may change soon. Watch your Agapanthus everyone, the little beasties hide in there!
Val and Harry have sent in four pictures of their special plants in June: The first shows off their Pelargonium collection – “Angel” “Decorative” and “Unique”.
Here is Paeony lactiflora:
Here is a “Lampranthus”, which Val says has for the last five years grown in a basket on the wall. The flowers open white and turn to pink. The plant is watered only when it rains; otherwise, it is ignored!
The fourth is Petunia ekserta, a South American plant easily raised from seed. It is winter-hardy in a sheltered dry spot in the garden:
In praise of Salvia Black and Blue!
Angela absolutely loves Salvia guarantica Black and Blue. She says “I have had the main plant for over 2 years. In places it is nearly 7ft tall. It has flowered non stop through out the winter. I took a few cuttings in April. Grew them in water initially (the Terry method!) before potting them up and amazingly one cutting is now in flower!!. If anybody would like one happy to donate. What an amazing plant. It really loves life.”
Anna and Kathy both grow this wonderful plant and recommend it if you have space. It can be tender and might need shelter in a harsh winter, but as Angela has found, cuttings take well as an insurance.
Last one for May – Rose Bonica finally getting in it’s stride up the obelisk in Kathy’s garden:
Val & Harry’s garden has a colourful combination of Californian poppies, Asphodelus microcarpus (tall spikes of white flowers), Euphorbia mellifera and, in the background, a rambling white rose in full bloom:
And just look at this fabulous Abutilon vitifolium, Val says it is from a self-sown seedling fifteen years ago, and now fifteen feet high!
Sharon sent in this picture of the peaceful, shady woodland area of her garden. She has written an article explaining how this part of her garden came about, see the Blog page to find out more. https://cabahs.wordpress.com/blog/
Nicolas has sent in three pictures of his garden – first, a Dwarf Chestnut:
This is his spectacular Chilean Lantern Tree (Crinodendron hookerianum) in full flower:
And a lovely view of the border, with the little Mexican Fleabane (Erigeron karvinskianus) on either side of a Silverbush (Convolvulus cneorum), and the two roses are Mme Isaac Pereire (dark pink) and The Generous Gardener (pale pink).
Juli has sent in a follow-up on her April lockdown project of a new bird feeding table. She says “The wood pigeons created havoc and upset the dog. So, I have now put this fine fellow up there in the hope that there is no longer room for them, so the Great Tit and his fledglings will now get a look-in. The wood pigeons will not miss out as they can return to their previous excellent job of clearing the path and pots of the feeder cast off seeds!” Good luck with that, Juli!
Juli also sent in this picture – it might look like a common Nasturtium, but this is a granddaddy of nasturtiums, it’s 2 years old! Pretty darn good for an annual plant and shows how mild it has been.
It started with Andrew’s snap of a Viola, surviving and flowering in the mortar on a school wall. Such optimism! Send in any photos you see of brave and optimistic plants surviving against the odds, we will feature them here.
Chris has a brave “whitebell” growing through the concrete:
We aren’t sure if this brave plant is trying to get in or out or under the wire:
Here’s a brave, or maybe just foolhardy, buttercup:
Juli has sent in this photo of her Jasmine which is growing up an old lilac – I don’t know about brave, its certainly spectacular! But how do you use the doorway?!
Viv has this well known opportunist Red Valerian clinging to a pile of bricks. But once Lockdown is over, these bricks are destined to make a courtyard patio, so make the most of it!
Jean spotted this lovely little brave flower, growing in nothing, on a wall. It makes you wonder why we gardeners ever bother to buy compost and fertiliser..!
Here is Sharon’s brave Welsh poppy, pushing up through the forget-me-knots, looking very outnumbered.
Peter’s yellow Corydalis, one of those “is it a weed or isn’t it?” plants, but clearly a great survivor.
Here are Pat’s brave foxgloves, growing on a wall, in no soil at all, how do they do it?
Melanie spotted this brave plant, the Rapunzel of the plant world!
This is Peter’s floral gatepost. You couldn’t plant it up like this if you tried, but leave it alone and…!
This is ivy-leaved toadflax, exploiting a crack in the wall and looking very happy.
The one that started it all – Andrew’s very brave Viola:
Juli’s project to keep busy has been making a bird table. She says it took the birds less than a day to find it, and she’s restocking it daily. She now has 6 feeders and 3 coconut suet holders, and her garden is quite small. A real hit with the wildlife though!
This common Hawthorn in full flower is one of many that line the Vanburgh Pits, just by the top Maze Hill entrance to Greenwich Park. It is magnificent, and makes you wonder why we bother to buy and grow pampered garden shrubs like Spirea etc.!
Anna’s Coronilla was purchased as a small cutting from a garden Open Day. It grows happily in a pot and flowers around now for about 2 months. Every garden should have one!
Here is another from Anna, a pretty Epimedium pubigerum, in flower now. The common name for it is Hairy Barrenwort – rather nasty, I can see why we all stick to “Epimediums” even if that doesn’t trip off the tongue either.
Below is Juli’s apple tree in blossom overload. She says it is usually a biennial fruit bearer and wasn’t expecting much from it this year. Either the mild winter, or the fact it didn’t crop heavily last year, has sent it into overdrive this year! Lots of apples for the Autumn Show maybe..
Angerstein Lane, going well over the top on tulips, just gorgeous!
Sara B has been out on dog walks and spotted some lovely blossom in Maryon Road:
And here are Sara’s Whispering Dream tulips, a birthday present:
Sara has been making the most of the Spring flowers, very crafty:
Vija’s pots of Narcissus, in the early morning April sunlight:
This is Juli’s “cloud-pruned” patio Cherry! It really couldn’t fit any more flowers on, I bet the bees just love it.
Here is Angela’s Iris japonica, or Fringed Iris, looking fab. The flowers are almost like orchids and seem to float above the foliage, which is why it is sometimes called the Butterfly Flower.
Below: Not very pretty perhaps, Kathy is very proud of her two year old “black gold”, especially as its so tricky to get hold of compost now!
Here’s Pat K’s Chionodoxa sardensis, in full bloom and some!
Maggie’s lovely spring garden. The flowering shrub is Exochorda “Magical Springtime” and was a Mother’s Day present a few years ago, what clever children she has!
Christine’s alpine trough, with Thrift in full swing. Lovely blossom on the tree.
Muscari latifolium coming out, just as Hyacinth Splendid Cornelia is going over, on Kathy’s sunny bit of the patio. Rose Cottage bulbs again, they were a winner!
So maybe we have a local heron who is going round checking out members gardens? Chris’ visitor from yesterday has popped over to look at Kathy’s pond. Thankfully the pond is netted, otherwise his breakfast would have been toad spawn..
Here are two of Chris B’s shrubs, looking very good this Spring – Spiraea arguta Bridal Wreath and Viburnham tinus:
Chris was surprised to see this visitor – a Heron, checking out her garden!
Angela says she is not a fan of tulips generally, but the Rose Cottage speaker we had last year convinced her to try these wild tulips, Tulipa sylvestris, and she is so pleased with them. They do look lovely in a “woodland” setting like this.
Jenny’s Camellia is looking wonderful, she says its thanks to all the rain, and she didn’t have to do a thing!
CABAHS Member Frances P. has written a lovely article on how she created her garden:
Successes, Disappointments and Surprises in a North-facing Courtyard Garden over 30 Years
First of all, the soil had to be brought in to create my garden out of a concrete yard – it was a mixture of all sorts from subsoil to clay to leaf mould and anything else that kind guests gave me to get it going. The garden is full of colour now. There are two camellias, Lady Clare and Lady Vansittart, a Berberis darwinii, a Daphne Jacqueline Postill, violets and a windowsill vibrant with pots of pink and white cyclamen.
There are two big pots of tulips in bloom, a large Viburnum carlesii in a barrel, covered in white scented flowers and a Skimmia in full bud, a mauve and a red Erysimum, plus other plants and shrubs that will bloom later in the year. I have a really lovely white and green Hydrangea covered in new leaves and a newly established Arum Lily alongside it.
There are four Roses : Iceberg, Salmon Leap, Brother Cadfael and Compassion – the biggest surprise of them all. This had become so rampant and unmanageable that I had my grandson dig it up – but, lo and behold, eight weeks later there it was, back again, healthy and with all the shoots showing 5 leaves (not 7) so it is the original rose not the rootstock.
Two hanging baskets of pink trailing geraniums have survived the winter, so I’ve pruned them back and fed them to encourage a new display later on.
One of the biggest disappointments was a White Star Magnolia which just sulked and wouldn’t bloom and then died. Also Choisya ternata which bloomed prolifically for ten years has sadly now died. Many climbers such as honeysuckle and Rosa banksiae became invasive, smothering nearby shrubs, so had to be removed.
I’m really fortunate to have so many things doing well and the garden is just the right size for me to manage. It will become even more welcoming from now on as the sun slowly comes over the rooftops and creeps across the yard. Time to get the folding chairs out and enjoy a cuppa and a quiet read…perhaps even a snooze.
Frances P, Greenwich