Garden Blog - Blog Post

Parental Haul


It’s always good going to see the parents, granted that I do end up falling asleep most visits because I’m usually so tired from gardening and work. The latest visit saw us come away with a good plant haul. Over-stock from the parents’ garden is what ours is based on. We tend to leave the back seats of the car down as we’ve ferried plants more times than we have rear passengers.

The latest visit was to collect a range of plants, most notably a tropical, ornamental ginger lily, Hedychium Gardnerianum also known as Kahili Ginger. This is a monster plant with thick stems, leathery, succulent leaves and a flower so exotic and fragrant it’s impossible to not obsessively want one. It’s a good job that it grows vigorously as the parents’ one was in a pot, but it had grown so large that it had to be carved up and we’ve ended up with a piece of the rhizome; not only that but we have two seedlings from this plant too that are now sat on the kitchen window sill.

Slice of Ginger Lily

A piece of Kahili Ginger (Hedychium Gardnerianum)

Previously sheltering in the greenhouse to avoid the worst of the cold spring we’ve had, it is now outside and part of the patio pot collection. This ginger is the hardiest and it can actually go in the ground in warmer parts of the UK as long as the soil is free draining and doesn’t get too cold and wet for too long in winter. With the new corner border we are creating this year, I’m hoping that the ginger lily (at least its offshoots) will end up in that border. It grows so vigorously that I might come to regret planting it out if it thrives.

Continuing on the theme of plants that are border-line OK for the UK, the next set of plants are dark-leaved phormiums and Cupressus Sempervirens (the Italian Cypress). The phormium is a very structural plant and one will be planted in the new (to be made) corner border as a counterpart to the one opposite on Judas Rise. The Cypress are also very architectural and a pair will be going in the new front border (along with a pair of phormiums) and the other two will be dotted in the back. Cupressus Sempervirens need milder winters, kind of like the ones we have been having. A long, cold (below zero) period can kill them. I am hoping that by planting them in the front and on the top of the borders in the back, their roots will not rot in the winter wet.

Phormiums and Cupressus Sempervirens

Divisions and catalogue “freebies”

The Cupressus were from an online mail-order firm and were heavily discounted as overstock and the phormium plants are offsets from a larger potted plant that belongs to the parents and which I helped divide last year.

Finally, we have yet more edibles to add to Fruit Avenue, this time in the form of red and black currant bushes. While at the parents I was asked to head inside the fruit cage and help myself to the numerous runners the original, enterprising currant bushes had produced and I eventually came away with nine. I don’t know which are red currants and which are black currants, we’ll have to wait a couple of years for them to fruit. The nine cuttings have been planted along the long length of Fruit Avenue. They had to be pruned hard to just a few shoots as the roots on them were minimal (still being fed by the parent shrub through the runner) but after a couple of days, an “is it dead?” check revealed that no cuttings had wilted so it does look as though we will end up with nine currant bushes, plus their own runners.

Currant Bush Cuttings

Spot the young currant bushes (and the weeds)

It’s not all “take, take, take” though, we occasionally supply the compost, soil and manure as we continually have bulk bags of them on the drive. We’re also beginning to have divisions of our own to pass on. This year, I split each of the three Dicentra (I know their name has changed) into four plus one. Three went back in their original positions, six ended up in the borders and four are potted up. I’m hoping they will successfully establish this year and end up in a good home the next. There may be spare iris and hostas too.

Potted split Dicentra

I’m hoping at least two out of four will survive?

This haul of almost 20 plants from the parents took two trips. It’s a good job they only live just around the corner, isn’t it?

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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lynngator 29/05/2016 - 3:37 pm

A very nice haul, Sunil! And I know the parents were happy for you two to tidy up their garden a bit! Fruit Avenue is going to be spectacular (and yummy) before you know it. Have a good holiday weekend!

Sunil 31/05/2016 - 7:16 am

Hello Lynn, thank you! Even after all the plants we have planted in it, there’s still lots of space for more plants on Fruit Avenue. Things like asparagus beds and masses of herbs might see an introduction next year.

Alain 29/05/2016 - 10:18 pm

Sometimes gifts return. My mother gave me a plant 10 years ago. Hers died last year so I was able to send her cuttings in the mail (they all survived). My parent live about a 13 hour drive from here so mail was the only option!
As for differentiating the black and red currants, taste the leaves! The red currant leaves just taste like greenery but the black currant leaves taste like the fruit. You can use them to make black currant tea. Have a good week Sunil.

Sunil 31/05/2016 - 7:19 am

Hello Alain, plants seem to go around and come around don’t they and it’s great that gardens can be used as “insurance policies” so that “copies” can be made and given back. I’m not very keen on currants as they are so sour, but I’ll have a go at doing a taste test to see whether we can tell apart the red and black currants. I’ll be a year of two before they start producing.

casa mariposa 31/05/2016 - 3:10 am

What a haul! I’ve noticed Europeans and Brits grow currants a lot but they’re not common here. What do you do with them?

Sunil 31/05/2016 - 7:21 am

Hello Tammy, with currants the usual thing is to add a ton of sugar and cook them up into something given that they are so incredibly tart. I’ll be leaving most of these fruits to my other half and the birds.

Jean 31/05/2016 - 3:33 am

There’s something special about sharing plants with family. Some of the oldest plants in my garden are divisions that my mother brought the first summer I was living in this house. Years later, when a huge blue spruce tree came down in her yard leaving a gaping hole, I created a garden for her that included many divisions of plants from my own garden.

Sunil 31/05/2016 - 7:26 am

Hello Jean, virtually all our hostas and Iris Sibirica are from the parents, we also have many plants raised from seed that they collected. We’ve long since reached the stage where we’re now dividing these off-sets and they’re ready to be returned or spread out to friends and neighbours. It’s really satisfying to be able to share like this.

gardeninacity 31/05/2016 - 5:05 pm

Very nice to have gardening parents close by. Sounds like they gave you some unusual plants!

Sunil 31/05/2016 - 6:10 pm

Hello Jason, it is very convenient, for all of us. We have received a mix of unusual and the ordinary. I wonder how different the garden would be if it wasn’t for their ideas and supplies.

aberdeen gardening 01/06/2016 - 6:10 pm

Well, you have been busy. I was always fond of the ginger lily, would not have survived outdoors in Aberdeen, I am tempted to give it a try here in Cheshire. Enjoy the season ahead Sunil, hear we are in for a scorcher.

Sunil 03/06/2016 - 9:08 pm

Hello Alistair, we’re hoping that with creating the raised borders in the sunnier and more sheltered part of the garden, borderline hardy plants such as this ginger lily, agapanthus, palms, dahlias etc will be able to survive the winters. Being in the south helps a lot too!


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