Friday, 26 November 2021

GPE #12 : Mind-Your-Own-Business, IDV!

Disappointments and Delights

H E X E N H Ä U S L I   D E V I C E


Delightful as always were our Pineapple lilies
 I'm not overly thrilled with how our garden has grown this year.  The prolonged cold from winter, through spring and into summer, plus the lack of sunshine and more rain than we're used to in England's driest county, meant that some of the more tender plants haven't done so well, or just didn't even make any effort to grow at all!
 That was directed at the Starfish Iris (Ferraria crispa) and Batflower (Tacca integrifolia) tubers I planted - nothing!  The Starfish Iris may grow next year as the tubers are still firm, but the Batflower rhizomes were attacked from the top by mould, and from the bottom by fungus gnat (sciarid fly) larvae and eventually carked it.  Bah!
 I did get some Tacca chantieri seeds from Madam A & Jon at the beginning of the year, but they haven't come up either (although they can take several months, apparently...).  My Gloriosa seeds did sprout however, managed a handful of leaves each, then were either demolished by slugs or succumbed to the cold - although I did get a couple of small tubers out of them for next year, though.  And the Iris Burgemeister was doing quite well until a week of exceptionally cold, wet weather caused all the flower buds to fall off (plus I planted it in completely the wrong place - not enough sun).

Top left: the hideous batflower stump which taunted me with that small patch of green for months on end.  Bah!  Top right: Gloriosa superba seedlings giving false hope.
Bottom  left: The strappy leaves of Iris Burgemeister can just about be made out to the left of the birdtable.  And bottom right: Starfish Iris tubers doing nothing.  Nothing!

And this is how they should have looked.  From left to right: Close-up of Tacca flower buds (looking for all the world like a couple of hanging bats) chez Dinahmow, (I probably should have taken note of her 2008 post);  Gloriosa superbum superba also courtesy of Dinah;  Irises found at Maddie's (I was going to snatch one of Ms Nations' examples, but the colours of Maddie's were a better match);  and Ferraria crispa (no one has grown these as far as I'm aware, so this photo came from the internet and forms the basis of the packaging featured in my Happy post), the Starfish Iris.

 Also, I don't like the new pond.  Well, I do, I just don't like the incredibly dated stone edges - I let The Father (an old-fashioned, hundred million year old, old git) have pretty much free reign with the design and now regret it.  As does The Mother.  Still, bits of it don't look too bad if one squints...
[I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but The Parents live with me here at Hexenhäusli Device - they have their part of the house and I have mine.  The same is true of the garden.  What you see in the photo below is their part - although I assist with the heavy lifting, and also endeavour in some "stealth gardening" by doing some surreptitious arranging and planting.]

This photo was taken in September
(the bench on the new circular paysho isn't normally there)

Squinting at the pond

More squinting

Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) - I must remember to bring some of the offsets in for winter as they won't survive the cold.

I can't remember who this was, but they probably deserved it.

'Mind-your-own-business' (Soleirolia soleirolii)
This small and unassuming, mat-forming plant is one of this year's delights.  The example above was a small handful I scooped up from the Old Vicarage Gardens at East Ruston which has spread rather pleasingly to soften one of the pond's corners.  I scooped up some more from a verge in the village which is now growing on the other side of the pond.  Eventually, I'd like it to spread all around the pond to blend the edges and the rocks together, somewhat like in the 17th & 18th photos of this post from 2017.

February - Snow! and Winter bulbs.


Daffodils in our shady garden



May was the month for Green!  Fresh growth from hostas, ferns, astilbes, knotweed (Persicaria), and ornamental rhubarb in the shady garden

This was also the staging area for seedlings and succulents before they got planted out in the garden

The view from the other side

I'm going to have to keep the deadnettle (Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver') in check this year - that bluebell was lucky to get through! 

Also in May were Aquilegias up the allotment.


June brought forth flowers: raspberry red Aquilegia vulgaris var. stellata, the little white dots of Persicaria runcinata "Purple Fantasy", and purple foxgloves and toadflax

I found an old gate on my brother-in-law's allotment, brought it home, took off the rusting hinges, painted it green and fixed it to the garage wall for my Cup-and-Saucer vine (Cobaea scandens) to grow up (thank you to Madam Arcati and Jon for the seeds)


The foxgloves were coming into their own in July

This display was helped along by emptying my purse at the beginning of the month...

The Astilbes went off like fireworks!

This selection of blooms is from the allotment.  At top left is chicory, then a couple of sunflowers, and a globe thistle (Echinops) at the bottom right.

August - There wasn't really much going on this month.  That photo of the batflower stump at the top was taken in August...


Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) 'New Zealand Purple' flowers, Pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa) 'Sparkling Burgundy', Himalyan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa) berries, and the Cup-and-Saucer vine with a very hardy spiderplant that's made it through two winters completely unprotected (all its leaves died down each winter, but it soon came back in the spring)

A selection of Cyclamen hederifolium in the front garden

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus), toadflax (Linaria purpurea) and wild carrot (Daucus carota)

Not a sweet chestnut (see Ms Scarlet's Terrifying Triffidery).
This hedgehog was a regular visitor to the front doorstep where it would shit liberally.
I think it's hibernating now as we haven't seen or heard it for a while?

October - The pond photos were taken in October, as were the Audreys and the pitiful Ferraria crispa tubers-
 Which have started growing!  I decanted them from the big pot they'd been in all spring & summer (wishful thinking, eh?) the other day, and both have short roots and one has a noticeable shoot!  They're now in the red greenhouse where I hope they make it through the winter.
 Perhaps this is a sign that we'll be in for a better year - weatherwise, at least - in 2022?


 So, there we have it.  That's the last garden on the tour, but there's one more Garden Photos Event post to come (that I haven't yet finished - barely begun, in fact), so stay tuned!


  1. Bloomin' lovely! [Although I agree - there's only so much 1970s-style rockery/pond edging one can take until one's Dad is banned from the garden; before he starts adding dwarf conifers and a "nice" red begonia, blue lobelia and white alyssum ornamental bed to set the whole thing off.]

    It has been an absolutely dreadful year for UK gardeners across the board, it seems. Roll on 2022! [And fingers crossed the current dip in temperatures to almost zero doesn't take already weakened stock off with it!]


    1. It will. Every time you're rude about someone else's taste the frost kills more of your plants. 😂

    2. I thought you were supposed to be a hound, not a bitch? Jx

    3. Don't forget Lady's Mantle and twee primroses in alternate colours.

    4. He did get some alyssum, Jon, along with some shitty little ageratums, livingstone daisies, spreading verbena, and primulas (almost primroses, Mitzi). Oh, and some vile tagetes. Fortunately, most of them got swamped by other, more vigorous plants, and the rest are hidden behind the bench in the full garden photo.

      I wouldn't have minded a late frost, Hound. I'd take my chances being rude just to get rid of those "quaint, old lady-style" specimens. My plants had got used to the bitter cold by that point (as I'm sure Jon's had), so I'm confident they'd pull through ;)

      Lady's Mantle grows "too tall", Mitzi. Anything more than 15cm high will "block the view of the garden". Pah!

    5. A friend of mine calls alyssum "piss-in-a-bus-shelter" - and yes, that is what they smell like, if ever you were to bother to crawl on hands and knees to sniff the vile things. We also tried growing ageratum once; it is a pathetic plant, so I binned it. Verbenas are fine in a hanging basket or window box, but I would never dream of putting them in a border... Jx

      PS Can't stand green flowers, so I would never grow alchemilla!

    6. Green flowers do seem rather pointless, I agree. And The Mother did make up a couple of very nice mixed pots last year which contained spreading/trailing verbenas (and fuchsias, of course!), but putting them in the actual ground seems like a big fat waste of effort.

      I can think of much better things to get down on my knees for...

    7. The Ageratum I grew were odd plants that would only show up every other year, so they were easy to accidentally dig up and toss on an off year.

    8. No great loss then, Peenee.

      Although, I have noticed that the bees seem to like them...

    9. Jon, I can be a total bitch, dear. But only proportional to the rudeness I receive.

  2. I can see why you hate the garden....there is absolutely nothing to see here of any beauty. LOL! I love it, and knew it would be stunning. Thank heavens you clarified that last picture, I thought you adopted a hedgehog.

    I would love to try Cyclamen, but I don't think it will do well here with our conditions.

    And I love a last minute entry!!!! Who or what could it be handsome!??!?!?! It's been a swell Garden Event this year.

    1. Thank you, Maddie! We did kind of adopt that hedgehog (and two others) - it's eating from a bowl of food The Mother put out. They'd trundle into the back garden after sunset, eat a few slugs (not enough for my liking - probably didn't want to fill up before getting to the food bowl out front), shit all over the lawn, wander around the front grunting and snuffling (loud enough to keep me awake), before shitting all over the steps and front lawn, then trundling off to the house down the road because they also put food out for them.

      Cyclamen tend to be autumn/winter plants (as I think Jon pointed out in Mitzi's GPE post?), although I don't know how much cold they can tolerate? Conversely, I don't think they like hot summers (they're dormant then, anyway)? Perhaps you're just blowing too hot and cold, Maddie?

      Oh, and I'm sure something will catch your attention in the next post!

    2. Cyclamen coum is hardy down to −19 °F (−28 °C). Jx

    3. There you go , Maddie! 2022 should be the Year of the Cyclamen!

    4. OH!!!! Maybe Ill have a go if I find any. I will have a look see from the garden center for next year. Although I get them as gifts from people at Christmas...

  3. Excellent repurposing of the old gate.

    I've never seen a hedgehog as we don't have them over here. It looks like something out of a Star Trek episode. I've never seen hedgehog shit either.

    1. I was very pleased (and surprised!) with my gate handiwork, Very Mistress. And then even more pleased when the Cup-and-Saucer vine seemed to like it too!

      If tribbles were spiky instead of fluffy, they'd be hedgehogs. Although I don't think tribbles would leave black, sticky shit everywhere. Their only excrescence seems to be more tribbles

    2. Sorry - no "Igel" in Canada ? Seriously ? I thought they live all over the Northern hemisphere.

    3. Me too, Mago. However, I've just discovered that there are no hedgehogs native to the Americas (or Australia). They can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa (and New Zealand, by introduction).

  4. I like the pond.... it reminds me of being a kid....oh, that's the problem, isn't it?
    You should see my pond - more like a swamp!!

    1. In the top picture of the pond do I spy a couple of boats sailing on the surface? Even better!! You couldn't do that in my pond.

    2. Ms Scarlet, it sounds like you should be giving tips to Melanie in how to become a Bog Witch!

      Good spot re the boats - although there are actually three of them (and they enabled me to use my 'boats' label/tag thingy!). They're Count Podgkinson's entertainment when he comes round. Surprisingly, he hasn't fallen in yet. Maybe next year?

  5. I quite like your Dad's rockery edge pond the only problem you might have in the future is if he gets the urge to paint the rocks in alternating colours to make them stand out more, it is a worry.

    I had a similar problem with my Canna lilies bulbs, they just rotted away to nothing.

    Can you find a breeding pair of hedgehogs and send them to MJ?

    1. Shhhhh! He'll hear you, Mitzi!

      Oh. No he won't, he's half deaf. Phew!

      After The Father wore himself out fitting all the rocks together, I did my best to undo his work and made the rock edges less regimented, leaving gaps to grow things in. I even put some in the pond in an attempt to make it look more natural. I might move them around a bit more in the spring before it gets warm enough for him to go out in the garden?

      I'm not sure hedgehogs will be able to hibernate through six months of a Canadian winter? And what if the fall into the Vodka Fountain or Gincuzzi during the summer?

  6. Yes, yes, let 2022 be the year of cyleman and bogs! Sounds fantastic to me! I keep meaning to plant cyleman here. I feel like we have a Pacific Northwest version here, but I'm not certain. I love the backyard and the pond. Your old man would feel at home around here. Some of my plants are considered "old lady" plants but they are dependable and no or low fuss. Because of the amount of land I'm working with I prefer a dominant green backdrop with surprises and discovery of color for those willing to look closer. I find dicks, clits, and bright colors rather boring if they hang out all the damn time. One needs a sense of discovery, you know?

    1. As I did some research for Mago's answer, I thought I'd continue the theme with yours: apparently, (like the hedgehog) cyclamen are native to Europe, Asia and Africa, but C. hederifolium (like mine) is suitable for the Pacific Northwest. There you go, Melanie - Cyclamen from me and a swampy bog from Ms Scarlet!

  7. It's all too green for me, I can not discern nothing. A pond is fine, as long as nobody can drown in it, like visiting kids. And I know that the pond thing is bad when it stinks, but I get that is not the case here. (Concrete solves the problem.)
    I like the view from above - there you sit, get hammered, and the day is yer friend. There may be other life designs.

    Congratulations IDV. I remember well the pics from some time ago, when there was nothing besides strange wildlife. Now we see here cultur in it's most original sense - herzliche Glückwünsche !

    1. Ah, you have given me an idea, Mago! Instead of a boring old window (from which I took that full garden photo near the top of the post), perhaps a Juliet balcony is in order? Hmmm...

      The strange wildlife is still in residence, too. Aside from the hedgehogs, the pheasants, deer and owls are still about. I haven't seen anymore foxes, but I know they're about as I can hear them in the evening and at night. Mice and/or voles also visit the compost heaps...

    2. Who?

      Oh, yes. That little shit... Do you know, I've barely seen him this year. I think he must have buggered off on holiday during one of the lockdown let-ups and not come back?

    3. Beaky will be back. A garden that lovely (if birds have any appreciation of beauty) is too inviting to stay away.

  8. Typical of a gardener to lead off with a list of the few flops he's had before admitting how spectacular the garden is. It's absolutely beautiful.

  9. Truly the frosting on this cake. Love your garden, dear. And a hedgehog to boot? I love the little pond. You are blessed. Kizzes.

    1. Thank you, Upton! Hopefully the pond and its surroundings will look a bit more natural next year. And I hope the hedgehogs come back too! (We have a couple of hibernation boxes in the garden, and at least one has been in use)

  10. Where to begin....
    You've managed a ghastly year remarkably well. As I write, the heavy rain is easing somewhat so I may tempt Providence and try to get some things planted today.
    On Thursday I had two chaps in to trim those ginormous Eucalypts at the front.The Man was concerned that a storm might hurl heavy limbs either south, onto a neighbour's solar array or north, onto our roof. So,eyes leaking, lip trembling, I watched the butchery. And I now have somewhere to plant a new Tecomanthe hillii and, if I can afford one, a Strongylodon macrobotrys!
    I also have a couple of "ponds" forming where the tracks of the machines made depressions.I'm sure your papa would have fun!

    1. Oh, good luck with your new garden, Dinah! I can't wait to see how it progresses - and I'm sure there'll be another spectacular show for next year's GPE (that Strongylodon macrobotrys Jade Vine is rather stunning!)

  11. I don't see any disappointment in your garden. I wish I was only able to have fun and talent to do such things in a garden as you have done. I wouldn't even know where to start.

    So for now, I'll come sit in your garden and loosen the bow tie, and take it all in.

    1. Ah, thank you, Asriel!

      I think I need something loosening, too - just imagining your loosened bow tie has got me all hot and bothered! I think you may need to join me and Maddie in the Gincuzzi!

  12. WOW! That's some gardening, sweetpea! I'll try and up my game for next year (of course you know that means you might not have to remind to send in some photos)! All y'all are such inspirations! xoxo


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