The litter of fallen maple leaves that are currently covering my small area of lawn serve to remind me that the main season for exotic style gardening is coming to an end. It won't be long now before Jack Frost makes his first visit of the season and I'll need to get busy bringing in the tender plants before he appears.
At this time of the year, I like to look back at the past season's growth and evaluate what has been a success and what has been disappointing. With that in mind, here is a quick run down of a garden I've been working on now for a few years. I featured it way back in September 2010 here. It's nice to see how it has developed since then.
In their own words, my clients wanted a 'Jungle Garden' and asked me to help. No problem! Such a request is pretty much the dream brief for a gardener like me! Since then, the site has been gradually changed from a pleasant but rather un-jungly plot into an unusual and quirky jungle garden, bursting with large leaved plants and interesting flowers.
This year, not all has been plain sailing in this garden. 2012 has brought more than its fair share of wind, rain and cool temperatures. Earlier in the year, a strong gale brought down a beautiful Laburnum anagyroides in full bloom. This was one of the oldest trees on the site and it was a great shame to lose it.
|Laburnum anagyroides - felled by a freak gale in full flower. A great shame!|
A few weeks later, a day of unbelievable rain caused the stream at the bottom of the garden to burst it's banks (the first time water has ever actually flowed into the garden, as far as I'm aware) and washed away a few tubs and large quantities of mulched woodchip from the borders. Sometimes, gardening can be hugely frustrating!
One or two plants have noticeably struggled this year. In particular, the Ricinus have never really got going and are much smaller in stature than in previous years. This is normally a useful plant for a jungle style garden. Grown from seed each spring, it is cheap and can potentially reach impressive proportions over the course of a season.
Conversely, other plants have obviously enjoyed the rain. The large Trachycarpus fortunei, planted from a 90L tub back in 2010 has really taken off this year, producing many new leaves. This palm is really starting to have impact in this area of the garden and I have been especially pleased with it's progress. The shot below was taken in early summer this year.
|The main exotic border. Trachycarpus, ensete, zantedeschia and various hostas. A large Ceonothus in flower behind.|
|Ensete maurelii. Liriodendron tulipifera, The Tulip Tree is planted behind. I plan to pollard this in the future to obtain maximum leaf size.|
|Ensete maurelii and the variegated bamboo Hibanobambusa tranquillans "Shiroshima"|
|Another Ensete maurelii along with Dicksonia antarctica and Crocosmia 'Golden Fleece'|
|Colocasia esculenta 'illustris''|
|Another gratuitous shot of Colocasia esculenta 'illustris'|
|Looking up at Dahlia imperialis December 2011|
|Dahlia imperialis. Will we see flowers again this year?|
|Emerging spathes on Dracunculus vulgaris|
|Spathe detail on Dracuculus vulgaris|
|Dracunculus vulgaris in all its smelly glory! The largerst 'flower' that can be grown outside in the UK!|
|I just love these glossy blue toadstools that have appeared! I have no idea what they are, but they fit in well with the exotic theme!|
|New sunken seating area on the site of an old pond|
|The new sunken seating area with bog garden beyond.|
I hope you enjoyed the brief tour! There are various other new plantings planned for this garden for next spring, and for me, this is an exciting garden to work in. If anyone has any comments or criticisms, then please let feel free to post. It is always helpful to have feedback on planting combinations!
|A final shot, looking past a large urn towards the mock ruin at the bottom of the garden. The Paulownia tormentosa has done well this year!|