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📢 Update announcement

My word, there’s been a lot going on!

New leaves are popping up all over the place in the house, and not only am I using the shaded wall in the garden but I’ve added a water feature that will hopefully evolve into a wildlife pond.

I’ve not been blogging my updates recently as I’ve been busy doing both indoors and out in the garden. New plants have arrived for both inside and out, and I’ve re-arranged the garden to make better use of the space now that my understanding of shaded spaces has been revised thanks to BBC’s Gardener’s World.

Houseplants

It feels like a bit of a task to document all that’s been going on but I keep reminding myself that it’s going to serve as an aide memoire for me in the future, and I might benefit from doing this if I forget something. I’ll try to keep things in chronological order.

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T. bipinnatifidum

So firstly, my Thaumatophyllm bipinnatifidum (let’s not call it a Philodendron, eh?) turned up from eBay. It’s the ‘Hope’ variety so shouldn’t get too boisterous but will look good as a large, floor-standing plant when it matures. It’s a really healthy specimen and has around a couple of dozen leaves already. Thaumatophyllum broadly translates as ‘wonder leaves’ with good reason in my opinion. If you’ve not seen a picture of a mature plant, I suggest you do a quick image search for one then I bet you’ll want one too. I think that’s a far better name than lumping it in with the Philo’s.

Next, I’ve added to the growlight pool by installing the red and blue LED strips that I used in the loft last year. I’ve read a few accounts that have persuaded me that growing plants can benefit from being exposed to additional sources of red and blue light as well as the daylight-spectrum lights I’m already using.

My current window-sill gang are all doing very well. The two M. deliciosa continue to push out new leaves that are getting larger. I havan’t seen a fenestrated one yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when one appears. The Spathiphyllum sp. has given up on its one small white flower, reverting it back to green, but is also pushing out new leaves so I assume it’s not too sunny on the sill for it. The net curtain maybe downgrades the light from ‘full sun’ to ‘medium’, but the poor weather we’ve been having possibly helps as well. The one surviving Anthurium sp. is also recovering from spending the winter months in the bedroom and is responding well to better light. I can’t recall if it’s the red or white-flowered one, but time will tell. The Schlumbergera bridgesii, Philodendron birkin and Ficus lyrata are also growing and producing more really healthy foliage.

I appear to have successfully propagated three Bromeliad sp. pups from the mother plant. I waited until they had formed good rosettes this time, and I’ve got them in wet sphagnum moss, watering only with a trickle down the rosette. They haven’t turned brown and curled up yet so I’m congratulating myself on this accomplishment for now.

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M. leuconeura

The Maranta leuconeuras have started to push out new leaves despite them looking as miserable as sin. I increased the humidity around them, even going as far as buying a mist humidifier for them. I’m glad that they’re growing, but I just wish they didn’t look so catastrophically depressed about it!

My Tradescantia zebrina cuttings are all growing quickly and I’ve chopped them even more, putting the cuttings back into the same pots to produce a bushier plant. They’ll make good give-aways in the near future.

The two Kalanchoe blossfeldiana cuttings that I appropriated from a friend’s house have rooted well in water and have been potted into my usual 50:50 coir and Perlite mix to grow on. The String of Pearls and String of Bananas have also rooted well and have been potted on. It’s the String of Turtles that I’ve really been waiting for, and this has finally started to root. I’m going to wait a little longer until the roots improve before potting it on to give it the best chance of success.

Container Garden

So, on to the garden outside…

Did I tell you I’d ordered a dozen mixed hardy perennial flowering plants? Well they all turned up in good shape despite being delayed in the post for a few days. They are:

  • Alcea rose Chaters Mix
  • Gaura lindheimeri Gambit Pink
  • Heuchera sp. ‘Palace Purple’
  • Coreopsis sp. ‘Early Sunrise’
  • Campanula Bells Blue sp.campanula
  • Alchemilla mollis sp. Alchemilla
  • Geum avens ‘Lady Strathden’
  • Kniphofia uvarla Flamenco
  • Geum avens Mrs Bradshaw
  • Verbena bonariensis Violette
  • Salvia sp. ‘Hot Lips’
  • Salvia sp. Edula Blue

I already had the Alcea rose and Geum avens ‘Lady Strathden’. The Alcea grows like a skyscraper and the Geum turns out to be a bit of a thug where space is concerned but it’ll be nice to have the additional flowers if this miserable weather ever realises it’s supposed to be summer!

I’ve sown some veg seeds, too. I said I wasn’t going to due to space issues but a couple of left-over trough planters now have radish, spring onion and lettuce seeds in them. The radish and lettuce have already germinated and I shouldn’t imagine the onions will be too far behind. I’ve also sown coriander, and will do so every weekend so I should have a regular catch crop of it to add to my curries.

I’ve also sown some late Zinna elegans sp. (California Giant and Whirlygig) seeds as Monty Don reckons it’s still okay to. There are a few other late sowings that I’ve done, but I’ll save them for another post.

So what about this pond, then? I saw on Gardener’s World that plants like ferns, heuchera and hostas are all okay in cooler, shaded areas. I previously thought that we couldn’t use that area of the garden because of the sheltering wall that’s in the way, but armed with this new information I re-arranged things to give me more space and started a ‘shady’ section to extend the number of plants. In addition I’ve become determined to add a small pond. Even if no amphibian wildlife ever uses it, at least insects and birds can use it. I repurposed a plastic tub, filled it with water and installed a little solar-powered filter/fountain from eBay that works wonderfully. I still need to add rocks and logs to make it look more natural but I’m sure it will end up looking really good. I bought six mixed fern plugs that are now sitting in pots around the pond, and I’ve sown a mixed assortment of hosta seeds to help pad out the area as I know their large, bright green leaves will definitely add to the arrangement.

I’ll let you know how things progress. 🙂