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Spencer House garden open days.

Terracotta pots planted with perennials

Spencer House, one of London's truly great town houses (over in St James on the edge of Green Park) is holding a couple of Garden Open Days this year to mark the 25th Anniversary of the restoration and reopening of the house.

Having maintained the garden for a number of years we will be helping with the Open Days by providing horticultural advice and expertise.

To dress up the public entrance we have just put together these decorative pots - and we will also be running a small plant stall to provide visitors the chance to take a plant home with them after they have enjoyed the garden. 

All we need now is some sunny / dry weather!


The most delicate of flowers - the bearded iris.

Bearded iris flower.

A real garden favourite and perhaps of of the most delicate and sumptuous of all garden flowers - the bearded iris.

This one was flowering amongst a collection of old plants we have retrieved from a landscaping job - I don't know the variety name but that doesn't matter - it is simply beautiful with its delicate markings and rich purple falls.

At a busy time of year well worth stopping for a few minutes to look and enjoy its period of flowering glory.


All shapes and colours.

Collection of succulents

While in the frost free glass house I couldn't resist taking a photo of these mixed succulents - they may not be super rare or exotic - however the range of shapes and colours shows why many people get the collecting bug - plus they are great for low maintenance house plants if you have plenty of really good light.




Cyathea fronds already unfurling rapidly.

Unfurling Cyathea fronds

While our new Dicksonias are still a few weeks away from fronding up (although given plenty of water and heat this can be remarkably rapid), our cyatheas that are under glass are now fronding rapidly.

Despite seeing the ferns frond up every year, you never get tired of seeing the croziers rising up and unfurling - there is something quite magical about it.

Our cyatheas are looking really good at the moment - growth is well under way and they seem to have over-wintered really well.


Sorting out the new tree ferns!

Setting up a row of tree fern trunks with the help of members of Grounded Ecotherapy

As getting the tree ferns set out and ready to grow is a big job - most years we get some help in from an old friend of ours - Paul Pulford (aka Scruffy) and some of his colleagues for Grounded Ecotherapy.  Here they are in the top glass house setting up the tree fern trunks ready for the growth cycle to start.

They generally camp up on the nursery for a couple of days while the job is being done - and everyone seems to have a generally good time!


The new tree ferns have arrived!

unloading a container of tree ferns

After tracking its progress across the oceans this year's consignment of tree ferns has finally arrived - and it looks like a really good selection.

The job of unloading the container and transfering the Dicksonia trunks is always a heavy job but is is really exciting to see what has arrived from southern Australia.  The tree ferns need rapid handling as they are just desperate to get growing again after their long journey.


Sempervivums - not flashy but still fascinating.

Mixed pots of sempervivums

In contrast to the wild extravagance of our Geranium maderense, the bench of mixed sempervivums is all subtle muted hues - however in many ways they are just a fascinating and beautiful.

A really good terracotta pan of houseleeks is a real pleasure right through the year and if set up properly, with really good drainage, needs little maintenance.  They are also really good little plants for balconies, rooves and window ledges where they can deal with exposed situations.


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