The International Steam Pages


Tua Pek Kong Rules, the Mitcheldean Garden 2019
Thanks for the Weather...

This page is part of a series of garden blogs from 2019. Click here for the index.


Each autumn we lock up the house, decamp to Penang and just hope (we're not the praying type) that it and particularly the garden will survive what the unpredictable British winter throws at them. While the 2016-7 winter was the mildest for over 100 years, the 2017-8 winter had a sting in the tail that saw a significant snowfall within days of our returning. These days we have installed a 'Guardian Angel', Tua Pek Kong, who quickly turned things around in Spring 2018 and at the moment in Spring 2019 he could fairly be accused of overkill.

We knew about this and weren't at all surprised that we were again greeted with rows of smiling daffodils and hyacinths. Some of our forsythia have been struck by galls so it was a pleasant surprise to find the one at the back looking splendid (but so too were all the others in the street).

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The view from below is much as in previous years with the addition of Yuehong's new pet 'BB'. 

I've posted similar pictures before but the camelia is a real star. Hidden among the white daffodils is another 'star', a young Magnolia Stellata, just starting on its third growing season; sadly I failed to give a pair the proper ericaceous compost and only this one survived.

The front catches any wind, so these days we give the roses a severe prune, the fuchsias also so they neither stick out too much or grow so tall we can't see out of the window.

At the back, the patio is full of hyacinth scent and we got back just in time before the geraniums dried out completely, they would love to go out but there is still a very real chance of a frost.

I had expected to miss the daffodils but there were groups in flower all over the garden. We don't buy any but they are often added as a 'free gift' by the on line plant vendors. These two are in the upper garden.

The back garden looks 'normal' but the rock roses' days are numbered.

Yuehong's lily bed is having its long threatened make over, everything came out and I dug it over and manured it. The plants have been separated and thinned out and if not this year, next year's display should be more orderly and less ragged. 

The four camelias behind are all blooming. while below the tulips need a day or two more with sunshine to open, but unfortunately since the picture was taken we've endured light hail and snow showers...

The end result of the tidying up was a full bonfire area which took barely one hour to turn to ash - subsequently scattered on the vegetable patch, although at the moment there's no evidence of its primary role as it is home to dozens of second class tulips and all the fuchsias (tender and hardy) that were in tubs and baskets last summer.

We've been back from Penang for a week and all the pending big jobs have been completed. During April we shall get the dahlias and begonias started and plan for the annuals. 


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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