Friday, 15 May 2015

In my new garden - GBBD May

Anyone following my blog will have noticed I have been preparing to move the last couple of months. I can now report I have moved and spent 4 days at my new house! I wasn’t sure what I would be able to show you for this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day but I went out yesterday to take some photos – in pouring rain. For once I don’t mind the odd days with rain as most of my previous garden has come with me and is now in pots and containers needing a lot of water. The free stuff from above is most welcome :-)

But first a last few photos from my old garden. These are taken last Sunday when the removal company moved all my plants, almost 700 pots and containers in total. Yes, I know, madness, but how could I leave any behind??

It was so good to have all the crates to fill the pots into as I lifted plants from the garden, many of the plants have been in pots for a long time as I have planned this move for nearly 2 years, other plants were lifted just a few weeks ago.

Some of the crates could be stacked as the plants were short enough, but most of the plants had to be transported unstacked. The removal van that came was huge, but they had to do two trips with the plants last Sunday. The following day they did only one trip with the house content in the same van even though I have a LOT of stuff. Downsizing is not easy.

And here is the garden a few hours later, after all the plants have gone. Not exactly an empty garden, I have left the new tenant a few shrubs. It is hard to believe I have taken out almost 700 plants from this garden!

The Grand Dame of the garden is flowering beautifully, I will miss this camellia. I have tried taking cuttings a few times but they have not taken.

The big Acer in the foreground is one of two plants I will be coming back for in late autumn, when I hopefully have my new garden sorted and a space ready for it.

And the other one is the Rhododendron at the far left here. The rest of the plants will stay. There are lots of hellebore babies and probably lots of spring bulbs I have missed when digging them up. They will spread and multiply over the years.

The huge rose ‘Crimson Cascade’ is staying too, it is almost 6m long and would have been impossible to dig up unless it was cut right down. The lovely peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt' is just about to flower, also staying. I hope the new tenant will appreciate the flowers.

Everything is gone from the patio area, except 2 plants I left as a welcome present for the new tenant. Oh, and my cat is having a last lazy snooze out here, he came with me too of course :-)

All there is left to do is to say ‘Goodbye garden, you have been a great place for almost 14 years.’

And now to my new garden, already looking more like a place of mine – there are plants everywhere!

And there are weeds everywhere too, my first job will be to clear out all the rubbish everywhere and get rid of the weeds and the plants I definitely don’t want, that will give me more space.

Look at that amazing ceanothus in full flower! I really appreciate some of the more mature shrubs and trees in this garden, not so happy about the acanthus that is spread everywhere – that’s going to be a big job getting rid of.

The removal men just dropped the plants in the garden wherever there was a spot and I have tried to move them about a bit so plants for shade and plants for sun are placed in the appropriate place. Not so easy to do on crutches but the crates have proved useful again as I have ended up dragging the crates on the ground. I think I will leave many of the plants in the crates for a while as moving them individually is more difficult.

The plants look a bit sorry in the pouring rain but most of them have tolerated the transport very well, I have no casualties and I have only discovered a few plants so far with minor damage. Amazing really, when you think of all these plants carried through my old house, into a van, out of the van and into the garden – so much could have happened, but they all seem fine.

Now I just need to find out what to do with this garden....I haven’t really started to make any plans yet. I need to clear out everything that needs to go first and get a feeling for what’s for keep. Then I need to decide whether to have a greenhouse or not. I REALLY want one, but not sure where to put one, and also  if I can afford one as I have had so many expenses already. But it would be silly not to put a greenhouse in before I start planting, or at least put off some space for one for later.

I better show you some flowers now, since this is GBBD – here is my dwarf lilac, filling my new garden with its heavenly scent.

There is a lilac in the garden too, right in the middle, not sure I would have put it there, but I won’t remove it so will have to work around it.

This space next to the shed is the most likely spot for a greenhouse, it is very narrow so won’t be a big greenhouse....but I am still thinking about it.

This lovely clematis came with the garden, I am not sure which one it is but it could be either C. 'Royal Velours' or C. Etoile Violette. Any suggestions? It is definitely for keep!

And this rose in the front garden is also for keep, none of my roses or clematises are in flower yet but the plants in my new garden have not been pruned or cut down so that’s why they flower already. I am not sure what rose this is, it looks lovely but it has sadly no scent.

Finding a bungalow here in London has not been easy but when I finally found one it turned out to be a perfect one for me, with a bigger garden than you usually get in inner London – even though it can hardly be called a big garden. But I have always said my garden is the most important room in my house, and so it will be in my new house.

I hope to make a movie from my new garden at the end of the month, hopefully you will get a better sense of the garden and the current layout, although my pot collection will probably stay the same for many, many months! Until next time, take care.

I am linking my post to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, please visit our host for many more May gardens.

58 comments:

  1. Good luck Helene in your new home! I wish you lots of happy days in your new garden. I am sure that all the plants will be happy in their new beds :))

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    1. Thank you Aga, it will take time to plant them all, but I will start planning the new garden as soon as I have the house fairly in order.

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  2. Looking good! I predict you are going to have great fun in getting this new garden arranged just as you want it.

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    1. I can’t wait to get started to be honest! I just have to get the house fairly liveable first :-)

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  3. Congratulations upon your successful move, Helene! I know how exciting it is to lay down roots in a new, larger garden as I did it myself almost 4.5 years ago, albeit not with most of the plants from my old garden in tow. I hope you thoroughly enjoy the process of settling into the new space. Pace yourself!

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    1. Thanks Kris, I am trying to do a bit every day, I am still pondering about what to do with the garden and haven’t come up with any great plans yet. I think I need to clear out all the weeds and rubbish first to see what I have available first.

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  4. Din gamle hage ser ikke ut til å mangle noen planter, nei! ;) Det er mye du ikke kunne ta med deg av de store plantene, og de fyller jo godt opp. Synd med at du ikke fikk tatt noen avlegger av Camelliaen. Men en kan ikke få med alt.
    Din nye hage ser frodig ut! Du har en jobb med ugresset, men det kommer uansett overalt. Innen sommeren er over har du sikkert fått fikset det meste!
    Gleder meg til å se flere bilder!

    God helg!

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    1. Den første store jobben blir å bli kvitt alt ugress og søppel og ting som bare ligger slengt her og tar opp plass. Dessuten har ingenting blitt klippet ned på mang år så når alt det er gjort så er det nok mer plass til plantene mine. Jeg skal prøve å få filmet litt neste helg så da blir det litt letter å se hvordan hagen ser ut.

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  5. It is amazing that no plants were seriously damaged in the move. That's simply wonderful. It's going to be an exciting time ahead for you planning out where all your plants are going to fit in your new garden. Loved the Lilacs and that gorgeous Ceanothus.

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    1. That must be the biggest ceanothus I have ever seen, although I know they can get very big when mature. Definitely one for keep, and there are many other shrubs here I would like to keep too, some would need a trim though.

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  6. And also from me congratulations with your new home and garden. You must be very tired. But to plan a new garden will give you a lot of positive energie I think.
    I am currious how your paradise will look next mont.
    Big hugs Marijke

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    1. Thanks Marijke, I don’t think my new garden will look very different next month, I am afraid this project will take a long time – perhaps a whole year, as I work very slowly. At the moment I have to prioritise the house and get it sorted and unpacked so all I am doing in the garden is water the plants to keep them alive. But I will get started soon :-)

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  7. I'm relieved for you that the move went well. It is an awful lot of work ahead, don't overdo it! But it will be fun. You make my 'pot ghetto' look like a walk in the park!

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    1. Thanks, I do wonder from time to time if I have done something rather bonkers, but then I realise how happy I am taking all my plants with me!

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  8. Congratulation. Now you get better place for gardening. I hope you will tidy up your new garden soon. I can't wait to see your new garden. It must be so fascinating. Happy gardening

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    1. Thanks Endah, I am thinking about my new garden all the time, but I need to sort out the house first, I have so many boxes to unpack still – but soon my garden will be top priority and I can’t wait to get started.

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  9. I am so glad the move was successful. Love the Lilacs!

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    1. Thanks Lea, the dwarf lilac was one I got in a plant swap, very happy with it.

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  10. Wishing you lots of happiness in your new home and garden. Glad the move went well. Looking forward to seeing what you do in your new garden :o)

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    1. Thanks Julie, it will take a lot of time but in my head I have a rough idea of what I would like it to look like – now I just got to make it!

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  11. Exciting times! And lots of work to do to get the garden as you want it, it will be fun.

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    1. Thanks Sue, I have no deadline for the garden so I will take each day as it comes, but I know it will take a long time so all the plants I lifted got slow-release fertiliser in the compost to keep them happy up until next spring if necessary. I hope I am finished by then!

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  12. I hope the new residents in your old home appreciate what you have left behind - not least your wonderful soil that you have improved over the years. I guess there is a lot more mulching to come in the new garden.

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    1. I am not sure if the new tenant realise how much work I put in to make my old garden look nice for him despite taking out nearly 700 plants – but that doesn’t really matter, at least I think it looked nice when I left! The new tenant is not interested in gardening, but I have left him a list of all the plants I have left him, with the names of each, a photo of each and how to take care of them. Hopefully it will spur him on to take care of the few plants he now has. As for the soil I am sure that will be wasted on him but the remaining plants will still like it.

      The first thing I will do here in my new garden is to rip out that horrible glass fibre lining that is in every flowerbed and lay down bark mulch. It will take many years to make such a nice soil as I had in my old garden but I know how to do it now, the same way as the first time around.

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  13. Congratulations on your new home and garden! What a nice change for you. I look forward to seeing all those potted plants in the ground - I can only imagine it will take quite some time and effort, whether planning or planting.

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    1. Thanks Patty, yes this will be a long project, a project without a deadline – it just got to take as long as it takes :-)

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  14. Dear Helene, I am so happy for you that the move went well and all your plants survived. Your new garden looks already like YOUR garden with the plants you brought with you situated in containers and crates. It will be so much fun to slowly get them all planted into the ground. That ceanothus is truly amazing, I wonder how old this plant is and if it is growing in your garden or in your neighbors? I love your dwarf lilac!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thank you Christina, the ceanothus is growing in my garden, in what I now have named the Shade Garden, on the side of my house – definitely mine :-) I have no idea how old it is, could be 20, 30 years old or even older. Maybe someone here would know?

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  15. Great to read the move went well and of course your plants all made it safe and sound. How is the cat settling in?
    I can't help but wonder what your neighbours think of all those pots :)
    A white picket fence and roses, perfect!! The ceanothus - wow! Don't think I've ever seen one so beautiful. There is so much to comment on but plenty of time in forth coming posts. I'll be doing another slideshow of you photos before I go - I am so excited for you :)

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    1. Thanks Angie, there is a lot to take in here, I can hardly believe myself that this garden is mine now – I wander around in the garden and find new things to see every day. The ceanothus is amazing, but the flowering season is rather short, it is already drizzling tiny blue flowers over the whole garden and it will all be over soon. But fortunately it is evergreen so a nice green bush – or more tree should I say – all year round.
      The picked fenced garden would have been perfect for my roses, had it not been so shady there by the trees. I think I will have to grow fuchsias there instead, but they will love that dappled shade. I have only said hello to one neighbour so far, not sure if she was interested in gardening as we had just a brief talk. My cat is still indoors but is getting restless so I think I will have to let him out soon. I can’t believe he has managed to be indoors for 10 days without tearing the house down, it’s been fine actually.

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  16. Whew! The move is done, now to dig in and plant your future!

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    1. Yes, it is so exciting and I can hardly wait to get started. I discovered that the cherry tree in my ne garden has lots of cherries, I do wonder what type it is and how they will taste when ripe – I have never had a cherry tree before :-)

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  17. Incredible! Your new garden already looks lush and beautiful, although I realize you'll want to move things around a bit. Wouldn't it be interesting to see your old garden about a year from now to see what the new residents do with it? Good luck as you settle in, Helene!

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    1. Thanks Beth, I hope to get a viewing of my old garden as I have arranged with the new tenant to come back and dig up the acer and the rhododendron some time during the winter. I also offered to help him with the winter pruning of the roses, as he had never done anything like that before. Let’s see if he takes up the offer.

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  18. I' glad you're well after this important move - and for your plants too.Congrats!
    Now is wonderful time to plan on your computer and your head:))
    But remember -your HEALTH is much important of all things.You have time, the summer is the best to planning, I advice you to buy a greenhouse for your many seedlings, it's valuable thing in a garden.
    Happy new house, happy new garden, dear Helene!

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    1. Thank you Nadezda, I really want a greenhouse, it is only a question of where to put it as I would like it to have some sun during the day and much of the garden is rather shady or shaded by the house. I will take plenty of time to make a decision about this so I get it right. The plants will just have to wait in pots while I decide on the hard landscaping :-)

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  19. You don't believe in doing things by halves do you Helene :-) Good luck with the new garden, I was wondering if you already had a plan or are you going to play it by ear?

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    1. Thanks Rick, I am not known for doing things by halves, nope….!!
      I have a rough plan in my head, or more a wish or a dream I should probably say. I need to clear the garden for weeds and rubbish and then trim and prune for weeks probably – and only then can I see what space I have available. This will take time :-)

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  20. Seeing your love for your plants and your determination to take as many with you as possible is just amazing. Your new garden will be as stunning as your old one. But be careful and go slow!

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    1. Thank you, I am trying not to do too much, but it is so exciting! I find new treasures all the time and I still don’t know exactly what’s growing in this garden – I’m dying to get the garden sorted so I can start planning what to do with it.

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  21. I can't imagine the work of both loading and uploading, and everything that go before and after that. I don't know why i am very sentimental, but i really hate moving not only because of the work but because i always get sad feeling goodbyes.

    But you seem so good at it as well as the packing, no casualties means excellent job. I can see the new garden is already very alive. I hope you don't get body sores from all those work, haha!

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    1. Thanks, my body do feels sore, I have walked too much, lifted too much, used my hands too much – but it’s all for a good cause and it won’t last forever so I try to pace myself but do as much as I can every day.
      I am afraid I have very good experience in packing up a house, the current house is the 24th I am living in, counting from birth. I hope this will be my last move ever!

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  22. I'm glad to see the move went well, and your plants all look so happy and healthy in spite of their ordeal. Now for the fun part of planting them all! I have a back porch full of new plants still to put in my garden this spring. Every time I get overwhelmed by all of the planting required, I am going to look at your plant collection and remind myself it can get done:)

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    1. Thanks Rose, glad I can be of help :-)
      I imagine my planting will take a loooong time, I don’t really have a deadline, I am not very well with those, but most of the plants will be happy in their pots until next spring so that’s what I keep telling myself. Only exception is the roses, they will need a permanent home as soon as possible and there’s only one good place for them in the garden – the sunny bottom part next to the shed so that’s where I will start clearing and pruning. Good luck with your planting too!

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  23. You are so inspiring Helene....I am so overwhelmed at all the plants and how bare your old garden looks but still lovely and ready to be planted by the new tenant. You do have loads of work, but those crates are perfect for keeping the plants in place and healthy until you are ready to plant them...and your garden season is all year so you have loads of time....love that you have so many lovely shrubs too....and yes make room for a small greenhouse....perfect for such an committed, talented garden such as yourself!

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    1. Thanks Donna, I have wanted a greenhouse for many years, I will try to find a space for one, at least a small one. I must admit the task ahead is rather daunting to me too, but I go out in the garden every day and just start with what’s most needed, usually watering, and then I just get stuck in with anything else – nothing in the garden feels like a chore, I am enjoying it – that helps!!

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  24. It is exciting to finally be in your new home I am sure. Sounds like the move went fairly well. Are you sure you want to leave your peony behind? I am sure you could lift it in the fall. And I would move the lilac in the middle of your new place. It's hard work to move a lilac, but I did it in this garden of ours. Perhaps you could get some help to move it? Anyway, I look forward to seeing what you do with the new garden. All the best Helene!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, I decided to leave the peony as it is so huge it would not be happy in a container while waiting for me to clear the garden and make plans, it would have needed a bathtub to live in! It is probably 30-40 years old and I inherited it when I moved into my old house. I dug it up once before, a few years after I moved in 14 years ago and it was enormous – and I only dragged it across to the sunny side. It sulked for 4 years and refused to flower in its new position in the sun, but boy was it worth waiting for. Instead of flowering with 7-8 flowers I got lots of flowers. Last year I had 56 flowers! I hope the new tenant will appreciate the peony flowers.
      I would like to move the lilac but that would yet again be a job I would have to hire someone to do, no way would I be able to do that myself so a decision to make when the garden is cleared and pruned and ready for it.

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  25. I do hope the owner of your old space appreciates the lovely plants left behind! If not already a gardener, surely the vestiges of your garden will be an inspiration to become one! I really look forward to seeing your new garden take shape. The amount of work you have to do looks daunting, but then, it is gardening, which is the most relaxing work there is! ( But take care pushing and pulling big crates around!) Best wishes!

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    1. Thanks, I have left instructions with the new tenant for each of the plants I have left in his garden, and also offered to come and help him with pruning next spring, I would be happy to teach him to take care of everything but I fear he isn’t really that interested. That’s fine, not everyone is a gardener – which is one of the main reasons why he wanted to move away from this house as he felt the garden was too much for him. I can understand why!

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  26. Good to see you moved in Helene, That is the biggest ceanothus I have seen, what a beauty. When I first discovered Acanthus and planted it in our last garden I was well chuffed when it bloomed, most of the garden presenters would talk of how this was a grand architectural plant, not so easy to dig up when you want rid of it though.
    Once you are well again, you have some amount of work ahead with all those plants, well if thats not stating the obvious! Good luck, glad you found what you were looking for.

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    1. The ceanothus has turned out to be TWO plants – or I suppose I could call them trees at that size. They desperately need to be pruned on the inside as 2/3 of the branches are dead. I can walk under the canopy and all I see is dead branches. I am not sure if I can cut away everything dead, I know ceanothus doesn’t take well to pruning but if it’s dead then surely that’s different than cutting away healthy branches….I might have to ask for some advice on this one as I wouldn’t want to risk killing them.
      I had an Acanthus spinosus in my old garden, I actually managed to dig it up too, but it took some effort. I suspect it will be more difficult here as it’s spread everywhere and the plants are well established. I think I might have to hire someone to do some digging for me once everything is cut down.
      But overall I am very pleased with the move, the bungalow needs a bit of work to fit my needs but the garden will be up to me to make. I will take my time and hopefully get it right the first time in terms of layout and hard landscaping, the planting will have to wait for now.

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  27. So, you made it! Two truckloads of plants, one for everything else. That sounds about right. Now the new garden adventure begins. Enjoy.

    (I would have moved for that Ceanothus alone--it's magnificent.)

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    1. Thanks, yes I have my priorities right!
      I could not have left my garden behind and when looking for a more practical house for me, a garden for my plants was a must. The ceanothus will be a challenge to work around but it’s definitely for keep. Nothing here has been touch for possibly more than 10 years apart from mowing the grass, I will be pruning and trimming for months!

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  28. Good luck with your new home and garden. I have been really interested to read you experience with Dregea. I aquired this beautiful climber last year, though it's still known as Wattakaka here. Here is south west France,btw, and for now I'me keeping the plant in a pot, because I will also be planning a new garden soon I hope. I would very much like to know how you went about taking cuttings, when you took them and how you treated them. I am constantly trying to get Clematis cuttings going but with rather dismal success, only three actual new plants to show for my efforts. I wonder if the Dregea will be any easier. I've been keeping the plant in a semi-shady position here as the mid -summer can have temperatures up to 40, and it's just a but too much in a fully open position. I loved the look of yours over the arch and feel inspired to try for a similar effect when I finally get it in the ground. Did you find it difficult to take up and I presume put in a pot for transplanting, how well has it handled the shock? I look forward to seeing the progress in your new garden as the weeks go by. enjoy it, and thanks for all the useful info.

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    1. Hello Sylvia, so nice to hear from someone who also has a Dregea, it is still a rare thing to come by :-) I must admit I have not had much success with taking cuttings of the Dregea lately, I am not sure why as the two plants I had growing up the arch were cuttings I took from someone else’s plant and they grew without any problems back in 2004. The first few years I made a few cuttings from my plants for other people and as a back-up for myself, but when it turned out that the Dregea was much more hardy and resilient than websites online made me believe, I gave away all the babies I had. Some years ago I tried to make a few cuttings for a friend but they all died eventually, not sure why. Last year when I tried to look for somewhere else to live I announced on a plant swap site I am a member of that I was happy to give away cuttings and asked how many wanted, 6 people asked for cuttings and I made 20. They all died. Then I made another 20, none of them took so I had to sheepishly apologise and tell them all I had none to give away :-(
      I have no idea why they all died, as I had no problems when the Dregeas were younger. Not sure why that should matter, but I did it the exact same way. I took cuttings in late summer/early autumn, semi ripe cuttings with a plastic bag over, placed in a shady place and I used hormone powder. Just normal cutting procedure. Making them from seed has proved impossible outdoors as the seeds are ripe in November/December and should be sown straight away and I don’t have a greenhouse so perhaps you could do it that way if you have a heated greenhouse once you have seedpods, but be prepared for many years before any flowers that way, propagated from cuttings you will probably have flowers in year 2 as I did. Have a go at taking cuttings, you might have much better luck than me, but if not you could always buy another plant, they are not expensive as small plants, at least not over here.

      As for lifting the 2 plants, that was much easier than I had thought. After 10 years in the ground I had anticipated roots halfway down to China, and it possibly was, but my friend who helped me just cut a circle around the plants, cut the roots and we dug out and lifted the plants out of the ground and squeezed them into 10 litres pots. The branches were cut to about 70cm tall, and that low they had not been having leaves for years so it has been a slow process getting them to produce leaves again – but it’s happing. I gave away one of the plants to my friend and I have the other here and it is going to a home in Bristol. The Dregea I have here has now got leaves and flower buds and is starting to produce new lianas so it has certainly survived the shock of being lifted. Mind you, I lifted them in January, the best time for doing things like that here in Britain, when the soil is at the wettest, I would not have done it now, we haven’t had much rain at all the whole spring and the ground is very dry and hard.

      Having the Dregeas on an arch has been a lovely display, but be prepared for some work tucking the branches/lianas in while the Dregea grows like mad in the spring and early summer, you might feel the need to do it just about every time you pass it! When the plants are a bit more mature, after 5-6 years or so you will need to really prune hard in early winter in order to keep it in check. If I had a different place to keep it in my old garden I don’t think I would have had it over an arch as you need two plants to make a good display and it simply grew too big for the arch, even the big one I had. I think a large pergola would be a better option, where you would not need to worry so much about pruning it down every year, just keeping it in check so it didn’t take over the surround area too much. The best position for it is where you have afternoon and evening sun, as the flowers smell most in the evening, like jasmine. If the sun goes away too early it won’t smell so rich in the evening.

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    2. Oh and finally, look out for Aphis nerii, the yellow aphids, they are specific for oleanders and milk-sap plants like Dregea and you will get them. In my garden they came very late in the season so I didn’t worry too much, but they kind of took over completely from late October and onwards! You might have them much earlier and might choose to spray against them. If you google aphis nerii + dregea sinensis you will find posts I have written about this yucky aphid and also a YouTube movie I made about them.

      Good luck with your new garden once you have moved, it is a lot of work moving but I am so glad I took all my plants with me. For now I am just watering the plants and trying to keep them alive whilst cutting down and pruning the new garden and making it ready for all my plants. I will be pruning for months I think.
      Take care,
      Helene

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    3. Thanks for all that Helene I will try some cuttings at the end of this flowering season, it's about halfway at the moment. I didn't get any seed pods last autumn, so maybe this year there will be some. as to the aphids I have been looking out for them since I read your post about them, so far no sign which is perhaps a surprise, but there are ants to be seen on the leaves though I'm not sure what they are after maybe just the nectar. I keep bees here too and they love this plant for afternoon feeding. I let you know if I manage to make some cuttings.
      Take care
      Sylvia

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