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31 October


Have a fun halloween everyone!
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30 October

Knickers sitting about on the path, he loves to get just into the spot where we need to go!
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29 October

Beehive Ginger, Zingiber spectabile at Kew

Zingiber spectabile are similar to the well known torch gingers with basal flowers and lush foliage however the plants tend to be smaller in size with the flowers coming out the ground on 50-80cm stems. The flower as the common name alludes to resemble a honeycomb with both elongated and round flowers. Native to South East Asia they need a warmer climate than the UK for permanent planting. The colour of the flowers can range from golden yellow all the way through to the dark chocolate and all the apricot and coffee colours in between.
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28 October

Autumn Leaves

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26 October

Streptocarpus 'Lyndee'

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24 October

Miltonia 'Oscar Kirsch'

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23 October

Who's a cheeky monkey... :) Or even a cheeky gorilla. This bronze statue was at RHS Wisley when we visited a few weeks ago. See Alternative Eden for more photos of our day. 
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22 October

The entrance way into the Jungle area



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20 October

Schefflera aff. chapana 
We grow a number of hardy Schefflera species in the garden, this one is Schefflera aff. chapana which has been with us for about 3 years. We featured a number of our hardy Schefflera in this post last year.
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19 October

Twinkles, our black and white kitten
Twinkles hasn't featured on here for a while, so we thought it was about time she did! Here she is hanging out in the Jungle Hut.
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18 October

Fungi 
At this time of year we get a significant number of fungi popping up in some parts of the garden. Like many things in the Autumn they are only here for a short amount of time, but add a certain seasonal feel to the garden along with falling leaves. Our neighbour used to have a silver birch tree (Betula pendula) next to the boundary which was felled a number of years ago, we suspect that the fungi are feasting on the roots of this tree.
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17 October

Ginkgo biloba 'Mariken' with lovely autumn colour 
Ginkgo is known as the maidenhair tree, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The ginkgo is a living fossil, as a unique species recognisably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. It is native to China, and the tree is widely cultivated and introduced early in human history, it has various uses as a food and in traditional medicine. Another such rarely found species is Japanese flowering cherry ornamental trees but today in this post we will talk about Ginkgo

The nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are held in high regard in parts of Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year (as part of the vegetarian dish called Buddha's delight). In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities. Japanese cooks add ginkgo seeds (called ginnan) to dishes such as chawanmushi, and cooked seeds are often eaten along with other dishes.

The method for preparing the nuts is as follows:
1) remove the 'flesh' from the fruit first & remove the nuts inside.
2) Dry the nuts for a week or so - flesh inside the nut too easy to break if too new.
3) Use nut-cracker against the 2 sharp edges of the nut - it should break into 2 halves.
4) The flesh of the nuts can be boiled, stir-fried or oven cooked (briefly) and then eaten either on their own or as an ingredient in a larger dish
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16 October


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15 October

Dahlia 'After Eight'

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14 October

It was a very pleasant Autumn Day today so we were able to spend plenty of time in the garden.
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12 October

Pumpkin Tea Party at the 2012 RHS London Autumn Harvest Show.

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11 October






A selection of pumpkins at the RHS London Autumn harvest Show
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10 October



Pink cauliflower, at the RHS London Autumn Harvest Show yesterday evening. The show celebrates the season with a good old vegetable show, which reminded me of my childhood visiting my Grandfathers Allotment Society show at the local church hall. As well as pink cauliflowers, there were giant leaks and a giant pumpkin competition plus numerous other seasonal produce. Keep an eye on Alternative Eden for a blog in due course.
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9 October

Alpine beds at RHS Wisley. I love the way the stone slabs have been positioned in this photo. Perhaps not the easiest thing to do at home, but i'm sure it could be done on a smaller scale.
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8 October

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7 October

Echeveria 'Topsy Turvey'

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6 October

Encyclia prismatocarpa var lonoglossa
Encyclia prismatocarpa var lonoglossa is native to in Mexico and Central America in cloud forests as an ephiphyte on tree branches at altitudes of 1,200 to 2,500 meters. This orchid has pseudobulbs which each produces 2 to 3 leaves and produces bright, extremely fragrant flowers in the spring, summer and autumn that are quite long lived. Encyclia should be grown on tree-fern or cork slabs and humidity should ideally be kept consistently high. In areas that get hot and dry, it is best to raise Encyclia in pots as it is can be easier to maintain the plants moisture levels in pots than when mounted, in both cases regular misting is to be encouraged. It is a reasonably easy orchid for the beginner.
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5 October


Is it a gold fish cemetery? No, its a sculpture garden in a trough at RHS Wisley. Personally we found this one rather amusing, but some of the others were much more our cup of tea. See our recent blog for more.
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4 October

Tanacetum argenteum subsp. canum
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3 October

We love the foliage of cyclamens! Prefer the foliage over the flowers, this one is Cyclamen graecum subsp. mindleri
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2 October

Metrosideros tree with a pathway running though in the Tresco Abbey Gardens, Cornwall.

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1 October

Cycad cones at Monte Palace Garden
Whilst in Madeira last year one garden caught our attention so much we visited twice in the week. There is a large section dedicated to cycads and this particular coning specimen is magnificent

In the 18th century the English Consul Charles Murray, bought a property south of the church in "Monte" to the north of Funchal, then called "Quinta do Prazer" (The Pleasure Estate). At the turn of the century the property changed hands again when in 1897, Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues purchased the estate and built a palatial property which was later converted into the "Monte Palace Hotel".

After Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues died in 1947 and the hotel closed, forty years later the hotel and gardens was purchased by entrepreneur José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo, who donated it to a charitable Foundation he had founded to create what is now Monte Palace Tropical Garden.

For more photos from our visit see here.
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