Hi, I’m back! Have you been looking for me? Wondered if I was ever going to write here again? Well, I must admit at some point I was wondering myself if I was ever going to get back behind my laptop. If you are one of my regular readers you will perhaps remember that I have been off to hospital to have a hip replacement operation. That was almost 4 weeks ago and I am now slowly recovering at home. Things didn’t go exactly according to plan; when do they ever (!!), but I am not going to bore you with too many details about the excessive bleeding I had the second week after the operation, the two trips to the A&E by ambulance after coming home due to the excessive bleeding and an operation wound that stayed open for three weeks after the operation… well, to sum it up; it’s been stressful and I am exhausted and not doing much else than staying in bed still. Although, yesterday, being 27 degrees and sunny, I did manage to go out in my garden and take a few photos, which I haven’t done for a whole month, so that gave me a kick up my backside to write a bit so I could post my photos.
27 degrees yesterday, but only 17 today! When are we going to get a proper London summer? Did we get all the summer for this year in April? I know I was joking about that back in April but I didn’t think it was becoming true. If you live somewhere else in the world and right now are enjoying a nice summer, spare a thought for us in the UK, this is meant to be the best, nicest and warmest part of the year….and the summer is rather short in our part of the world anyway, so we would like whatever we can have, thank-you-very-much!
A friend of mine visited me earlier in the week and gave me a bit of help in the garden, which was really good because it was starting to resemble a jungle. Amazing how much everything grows with all the rain we have had! She cut my lawn, which was the most important thing to do, as the garden looks so much better when the lawn is done, although calling it a lawn is probably to stretch it a bit far….I don’t know how many square feet of grass I actually got if I put it together, not that many; hardly worth getting the mower out for, but when it isn’t cut and growing to ankle height or even taller, the garden looks really unkempt. Here it is, after the mowing.
And here is the garden, seen from the other side of the arch. Remember the Dregea I have written about before? The plants that go up on each side of the arch, which I prune back really hard every February – and think I have cut too much every year….and end up wishing I had cut more every August? Well, I am already there this year! Look at this monstrosity of a plant! Because I haven’t been here every day as I usually am, I haven’t been able to tuck in all the new branches coming out on each side and the result is an arch with a total mess and lianas hanging down everywhere. The plant contains a white, sticky sap that stains clothes and itch and burns skin; if I simply start snipping the surplus branches off I will be totally covered in that sap. I have tried before….I could do one branch and leave it until next day, do another branch next day and so on, but I am afraid these plants produce new branches faster than I could remove them! So I think I will just have to leave it now and hope I still can get through the opening until it starts shedding the leaves, which is when we get sub-zero temperatures for more than a few days in a row. Next February, these two plants are in for their biggest ever pruning!
Look at my Crocosmias! Mine are called Lucifer and are supposed to become 90cm tall, but these didn’t read the instructions….well, they were about 90 cm tall the first year, and perhaps a bit taller the next year. But they grow taller and taller every year and this is the 4th year the Crocosmia is flowering and this year they are around 165cm tall. I would never have planted the corms here, right at the front of the garden had I known that they would be this tall, but now that they are here, and happily spreading I can’t really think where I should move them to – they seem to be in an ideal place right here so I guess I better let them stay. They are a wonderful addition to my summer plants, although after they have finished flowering I do wish I could cut down the stems and get rid of the whole lot, but that’s not possible; they have to stay until they die down during the winter, to store energy in the corms for next year’s flowering, so I have to put up with the unsightly browning leaves right in the middle of my seating area. But they are impressive so I suppose it’s all worth the mess in the end :-)
And here is my black grass, Ophiopogon nigrescens, I think I have posted a photo of these before when they had black berries; right now the grass is flowering, which it of course has to do in order to produce berries. The grass is now placed in an area with white stones underneath and it shows off the grass so much better than when it was placed in pots on bark. These plants are really slow-growing and don’t grow much each year, but I started out with two small pots back in 2005 and thanks to divisions I now have three plants in my garden and the neighbour garden have three plants too :-)
Here are the flowers, tiny, unassuming from a distance, but up-close and enlarged like here, quite pretty. It is actually wrong to call this ‘black grass’, although you will find lots of hits if you search for ‘black ornamental grass’. This plant is actually a perennial plant and a member of the lily family; it just happens to have leaves that look like grass. A particularly good feature of this plant is that it does not go through a messy phase. Most evergreens shed their old leaves annually causing a mess and looking temporarily rather scruffy. Not so with this beauty, it retains its shiny, almost black leaves continuously and any die back is barely visible and easy to pinch out.
That was as far as I managed to get on my first photo safari in my garden since before my operation. There’s so much more to show you; so many plants have flowered, and even finished flowering since I last made a post here 4 weeks ago! With the dismal weather forecast for the next week I doubt I will get many chances to take photos so you will have to be patient when it comes to the rest of the garden, but I will get there eventually :-)
I thought I would end this post with a picture of my cat; since I came out of hospital he has given me his undivided attention and he hardly leaves the house. I think he feels a need for protecting me and I am convinced he knows I am ‘hurt’. Whatever reason he has, I am enjoying his company and having him in my lap or next to me 24/7 is just a joy. I don’t know when I will be back writing here again, but I will be posting again as soon as I can. It won’t be 4 weeks till next time; that at least I can promise! Until next time, take care.