Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunshine and bananas

2009 seems to have been the Year of the Chainsaw in my street. You may remember I had my purple-leaved plum pruned in the spring. Since then, one of my neighbours on the south side has removed a huge flowering cherry altogether to make way for a shed and this morning I awoke to the familiar slash and crash of tree surgeons at work on the eucalyptus in the garden that backs onto ours. Frankly, I couldn't be more pleased (sorry, Esther, I know you have strong views on tree mutilation). Not only have I now got a new bit of garden to play with, but I have a new lighting scheme as well. Fantastic!
I had meant to do a "before and after" post on the new firepit area, but I was so entranced by the new light and colour in my garden this afternoon, I found myself prowling round taking pictures from new angles instead. (Besides, the firepit "before and after" requires trawling back through the iPhoto archives, and dragging the images onto the desktop and then loading them onto Blogger. It's a job for a rainy day.)

The back of the garden, looking south-west. Thanks to a bit of judicious pruning, it now seems much lighter - but my neighbours' loft extensions are still invisible.

A red banana glows in the afternoon sun. It's not really a banana, it's Ensete ventricosum 'Maurellii', which is tender. It grows really well in a pot, as long as it gets a reasonable amount of water. I'm going to try treating them like cannas this year, cutting them down in autumn and storing them in the garage to see if I can get them to overwinter.

Looking across the garden towards the south. The phormium in the foreground is 'Maori Queen' which I used to think was absolutely disgusting. Then I realised it was just the right colour to pick up the red of the purple plum foliage at the back of the garden, and it looks lovely with the evening sun shining through it. Some people are very sniffy about coloured phormiums, but they have their uses. (The phormiums, I mean, not the people.) The crocosmia is 'Météore' which I bought in bulk at RHS Wisley. I know 'Lucifer' is much more fashionable, but I find it too harsh a red. 'Météore' is a two-tone orange which seems much softer. The tall grass on the right is Arundo donax. There used to be much more of it to screen the trampoline, and I'm still debating whether to rip the last bits out.

Looking towards the back of the house. I never used to be able to take this angle as the trampoline was in the way. Oh, the excitement!