Creating a Splash


At 8.30 this morning I had the pleasure of showing Margie, Helen and Sarah from our fantastic local gift shop around the garden at The Watch House. Being a retailer myself I appreciate that weekends are not always available for doing as one pleases: customers must come first. We arranged a pre-opening tour and the weather was absolutely perfect for it; still and cool, with not a cloud in the sky. We enjoyed large mugs of strong Assam tea served from an outsized Russian teapot which is impossible to carry in one hand. We talked about history, plants and books: I could not think of a nicer way to start my day.


Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’ with Aeonium 'Poldark', The Watch House, September 2016


My charming visitors described the garden as ‘an inspiration’, which I took as a compliment. Having been away all week I could only see everything that wasn’t right, so it was lovely to get feedback from people who were either too oblivious or too kind to mention it.

Occasionally in the space of a week certain plants will go berserk whilst others decide to sulk. Oddly it’s the dahlias that seem to be on the dejected side at the moment. A few have started to succumb to red spider mite whilst other have a mysterious leaf-curling disease. At this time of year I find it’s better to let these things run their course rather than fight against them, removing only the most disfigured leaves: the tubers will produce perfectly healthy foliage again next season. Meanwhile Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’, below left, which has failed to conjure up any of the promised dark leaves, has been taking steroids. On Monday it was shorter than the aeonium growing next to it and by Saturday the aeonium was almost invisible. I put this down to daily watering the week we were on holiday which has clearly promoted a growth spurt. The problem is that everything else now looks a bit puny in comparison.


Colocasia esculenta, The Watch House, September 2016


We have received no proper rain for several weeks and the plants in the raised bed are parched. I rarely bother to get the hose out but when drought-tolerant plants start to wilt it’s time to take action. It was a pleasure to watch the water droplets sparkle like diamonds as they cascaded from the spray gun onto dry, thirsty foliage. Watering in the sunshine, although strictly not to be recommended, is a treat for all the senses. I can’t share the complete experience with you, but here’s something for your eyes and ears to enjoy:



Within a few moments everything had perked up marvellously, just as it does in the tropics. The removal of the climbers at the back of the border last weekend has already allowed a lot more light in and I can see bronze and burgundy foliage colours becoming stronger by the day. The irony is that whenever I resort to using a hose it promptly rains. The downpours that have been promised have not materialised and instead there’s a thin hesitant mizzle in the air. Useful only for coaxing the slugs and snails out, hopeless for creating a splash.

Wishing  you a wonderful weekend in your garden. TFG.


watering and Dahlia "Magenta Star", The Watch House, September 2016





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9 thoughts on “Creating a Splash

  1. I think we had a lot of the rain here. Still, parts of my garden really need it. I have been indoors sorting through guidebooks of previously visited and loved gardens (now all neatly filed) and perusing the web to establish the identity of a beloved Pelargonium ‘Crimson Unique’, a great plant which does not suffer in the rain. Very useful here. Love your tropical raindrops!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the way you write/describe you and your interaction with your garden! It is so lovely but also it is almost the end of the season so I love that you can let go and let things take there course. I hope some day I might get my self back to England when your garden is open…would be so lovely to see it in person. If you ever fancy a trip to Houston…..I would love to show you another crazy climate!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It still looks beautiful, and there is nothing better for the soul of a gardener than visitors to the garden. 🙂 Our area is now classified as ‘severe drought’ so we are under outdoor water restrictions No hoses. So, I’ve been hauling a few buckets of water around each day to the newly planted items that just can’t make it without water. We have a slim chance of showers as the hurricane moves up the coast and out to sea. We have our fingers crossed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great photos as usual your garden is still looking impeccable…you are so close to it though it’s only you who will notice what you see as its flaws! Others are simply bowled over by its lushness, variety and vigour!

    Liked by 1 person

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