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In a Cornish Garden. Summer - Gladiolus Byzantinus

My house and garden were owned by the same family for generations, before I bought it. The house is over 400years old. I don.t know how old the garden is. It was pretty derelict and mainly grass, brambles, bracken and weeds, no trees and exposed to the Westerly winds blowing in from the sea. Poldhu Cove is just over the hill from the garden. In the old days the land in the garden had to sustain the family that lived here. But in the years before I moved in , it had become very neglected. There were some pig sheds and  an old dunny (outdoor toilet). At the beginning of the 20th Century, they grew Anemones to send to London. When I first moved in here, Anemones would pop up here and there ! A relic from the past life of the garden. I've just planted hundreds of Anemones, to bring back the tradition of growing them ! Some of the old apple trees, that are over a hundred years old are still going strong and produce fruit.

Anyway, what I did inherit in the garden was a naturalised colony of Gladiolus Byzantinus, commonly known as 'JACKS', here in this part of Cornwall. They've been here a long, long, time. There are hundreds of them. They are very hardy and spread freely from cormlets. They are truly wonderful ! They think they originally came from Spain and Italy (Sicily).

The whole end corner of the garden was full of them, when I moved in.   I had to dig some of them up and move them -            ( which they quite happily do - The corms are quite deeply down in the ground), when I dug out the large pond. I dug the pond by hand ! It took me a long time ! ..... years ! My poor old dog used to patiently sit at the edge of the huge hole I was digging, waiting for me to finish for the day, and anyone who came down to the garden would only see my head ! The soil from the pond was moved to the far corner and became a man-made hill. Which I called Silbury Hill . My theory is that the ancient man-made , Silbury Hill at Avebury in Wiltshire is the result of digging a pond somewhere !

The Jacks (Gladiolus) that were moved,  naturally colonised, as you can see from the photos and from May to June give a spectacular show.

Meanwhile the Aeoniums are multiplying. I leave them out all Winter here. They are very easy to propagate. You just break off one of the rosettes, leave it 24 hours for the end of the stem to dry off, so it doesn't rot when you put it into a pot with good mixture of soil and horticultural grit.

A new thing I've introduced to the formal part of the garden, is some wooden obelisks. Painted in Farrow and Ball , Studio Green. They are about 2 metres tall and on each side I've planted different Clematis. Mainly Class 2. Each Clematis flowers at a slightly different time. So the obelisk will always have flowers through the Summer.

You can order Gladiolus Byzantinus from plant growers online. Give them a try !

I'll blog again soon


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