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The Second of my Twelve

Diana asks this month to choose a tree with your heart. That one tree you will always plant, always want to have in your garden. If you have a new garden you will look for a place to plant it. That’s how much you love that tree! Well here’s my problem. In my “Garden of Twelve”, I already have a tree – an existing Betula pendula, Silver Birch. And it is a small bed. So planting another tree is not an option. So my favourite won’t make it to the Garden of Twelve.

My favourite tree is Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’ and I have two in my back garden. That tree that would go everywhere with me. Come enter my little forest with me and see how this tree lightens up the otherwise rather dark area.

Made with new software, I’m playing around with panoramas. Its lots of fun. Here you see a portion of my back garden, photographed and stitched together from three photographs. From the one Pittosporum to the other. This is the “youngest” area of my garden. Apart from the mature trees, every other plant here in this area, including the Pittosporums, all the Camellias etc. were planted 17 months ago. Everything had been ripped out of this bed and the shock to my system afterwards was great. I hated seeing the walls, I loathed seeing the neighbour roof and house. But now seventeen months later I am seeing the plants fill out and its starting to look fairly nice. It’s still my least favourite park of the garden but I spend the most time here now adding plants, trying new things and trying to make it a lovely place to just “be”. It’s the area favoured by birds. On any afternoon in the last few weeks you will find all sorts of birds here.

Panorama of the area with the two trees

The arrows mark the Pittosporums. Imagine how dark it might be without them twinkling in there. (The photo enlarges if you click on it).


And here are the gorgeous trees

[one_third]The Pittosporum on the left …The Pittosporum on the left ...[/one_third]

[one_third]Foliage detailFoliage detail[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Pittosporum on the rightThe gorgeous Pittosporum on the right[/one_third_last]

A last look at before and after …

[one_half]This was taken in December 2010This was taken in December 2010[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And taken 14 months later, in Febraury 2012And taken in Febraury 1012[/one_half_last]

So there you have my FAVOURITE shrub or tree.

What’s your favourite? Join Diana at Elephant’s Eye in her monthly “Dozen for Diana” meme. (Dozen for Diana by Elephant’s Eye  – on the 3rd Friday of every month Diana invites you to write a plant portrait. “I challenge you, in 2012, each month choose a plant. Archived pictures of flowers, berries, autumn leaves, wildlife endorsing your choice. Start fresh – what will be your signature plant?”).

The look I’m going for … woodland or mini-forest – this photo below taken at and angle and hiding the wall. I’m planting now for flowers in this garden. Japanese anemones are about to bloom, Digitalis planted for colour, Camellias and Azaleas will do their thing again and in Spring we have Freesias and other bulbs.

The look I'm going for ... woodland or mini-forest

Happy Gardening


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Update on the tree planting

I’m pretty amazed at what one summer can do to a garden. I often find myself humming to the tune of “What a difference a day makes …” and thinking to myself what a difference a season makes in a tended garden.

This small portion of my back garden that I am showing here is where I planted the three Pittosporum nigrescens to get back some privacy after much clearing, tree felling and plumbing went on here. This is an update of the area, nearly eight months later. The trees themselves have not grown much (first year they sleep, second year they creep and so on), but I was not expecting much from them just yet as they will need some time to settle in. But look at everything else! I am thrilled at how things are finally filling in.

Before & Afters

[one_half]Newly planted Pittosporum nigrescens July 2011Newly planted Pittosporum nigrescens July 2011[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pittosporum nigrescens taken February 2012Pittosporum nigrescens taken February 2012[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Different angle taken in July 2011Different angle taken in July 2011[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Different angle taken in February 2012Different angle taken in February 2012[/one_half_last]

It’s not perfect yet but I’m a whole lot happier already!

Up next, the Second of my Twelve and a Book Review on Monday!

Happy Gardening

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Hope Grows Day July 2011

My second time taking part in “Hope Grows Day“, a monthly Gardening Blog meme hosted by Hanni of Sweet Bean Gardening. I am showcasing what I am hoping to see in my garden over the next month.

Lovely growth, Check!

So how successful was I in June?

  • I hoped for good rains without too much storm damage. We had good rains. It was lovely. I have not had to water my garden at all in the past 4 weeks. Not once. This week we are experiencing sunny weather, I might need to water tomorrow or Friday as there is no rain forecast and things are getting a bit dry. I had no serious storm damage. So first ” Hope”  for June gets a big Tick! Yay!
  • I hoped my newly planted bulbs would continue to grow – check.
  • I hoped the “Sinfonietta” Irises would continue to grow well – check.
  • I hoped we’d be eating cherry tomatoes – we ate 6! Not quite what I was hoping, but check all the same.
  • I hoped we’d be eating carrots from the veggie garden – not yet. No check.
  • And lastly, I hoped I would have something to show on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th June, and I did. Quite a lot actually – check.

Not bad. More checks than not.

War against the Moles!

So what am I hoping for in July?

  • I have a new “mole / vole / mole rat” problem. All the beds that do not have the solar mole repellents are being decimated by something that seems like a mole. Tomorrow we go to war. Dexter and I against the moles! We are prepared. We have ammunition – two more sonic mole repellers and organic mole repellent potions I bought today. So top of the list for July is “Get rid of the damn moles!!”
  • Of course I continue to hope that my bulbs and plants grow well throughout these winter months
  • I hope to get the back garden planted up with new plants on the side that was damaged during recent plumbing improvements
  • And finally, I’m hoping to get all my little “projects”  completed, once and for all!

What are You hoping for in July? Join us all over on Hanni’s blog and share what you are hoping for – Hope Grows July 2011.

Happy Gardening

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Up close and personal with the Pittosporum

Yesterday I showed my new shrubs / trees, the three Pittosporums, which I’ve planted as screening in our back garden. Diana of Elephants Eye, my Blotanical Mentor and ‘Mom’ to Lady Aragon and M’sieur Chocolat, (go look, they are tooo cute!) asked me a question that I could not answer so I promised a follow up post. Usually these types of posts force me to research and learn something new and I come away every so slightly wiser (one hopes).

Here’s the thing … when I was in Elgin a few weeks ago I saw three trees planted alongside each other that I loved and the owner told me they were “Pittosporum nigrescens”. I came home and looked them up, never actually found them – but what I did find was various types of Pittosporum and thought no more of it. When it came to actually buying the trees I was happy to find them listed as “Pittosporum nigrescens 2.5 – 2.8” at my preferred tree nursery and after an e-mail establishing that the price was great I had three delivered. On arrival, they were the exact trees I was expecting. But then why do searches on Google not return what I now have growing in my back garden?

More searching today reveals the actual name as Pittosporum tenuifolium, var. nigricans, with a foot note saying Name in the Camden Park Record: Pittosporum nigrescens.

Having discovered all that, doing searches for those names still doesn’t really bring up exactly what I have, certainly not in the size and beauty of what I saw in Elgin. But here are my photos taken today (apologies for the poor quality / appalling lighting – it’s been pouring with rain all day and I ran out between down-pours to get these shots). These are specially for you Diana and to answer your question, here is what I found … “‘Nigricans’ has black twigs.

Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Nigricans’ photographs
(you can click on the photos to view the enlargements)

[one_half]Pittosporum nigrescens?Pittosporum Nigrescens[/one_half]

[one_half_last]or do we call it nigricans?Pittosporum Nigricans[/one_half_last]

Who cares what they are officially called … I love them just as they are. Isn’t the foliage lovely?

Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’ photographs:
(you can click on the photos to view the enlargements)
Here are photos of the existing Pittosporum I had, the Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’. Isn’t that foliage lovely?

[one_half]Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’.[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Up close and personalUp close and personal[/one_half_last]

What is your favourite screening tree?

Happy Gardening!