Welcome to the Saruyama Blog, intermittent and generally off topic. Occasionally you might see some trees...and weird ones at that.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

At last a little sun...

I hope dear reader, that absence has made the heart grow fonder, if this is the case, then I will quit the blog altogether and enjoy England's attempts to regain their recent former glories on the cricket pitch.  I must say there is nothing better than working in the garden, sun on your bald spot listening to Test Match Special.  I have been able to do a little of that recently, and the garden has seen a few newcomers to Saruyama HQ, including this reprobate very welcome visitor. It dawned on me as well, when I was tidying up the garden that I hadn't actually put any pictures up yet, so here is an introduction to the very humble Saruyama HQ.

It started off looking like a bit of wasteland in Feb 2012 when we moved in,  fences had been blown down, it had been neglected but it was just what I had been looking for.  As secure as you will find around London, big for the rent and an empty canvas...

View from the gate

 There was an old shed which was still usable and that was about it. A dead tree covered in ivy, no fences and a load of rubble around the garden.  Fast forward a year and a half and there is now a workshop/shed, polytunnel, benches, bbq area (for her indoors) cum outdoor workspace and benches, lots of (but not enough) benches

View from the gate now

The sunny bench, Gets sun all day long....when we see it.

The covered bench...kept things dry over the winter.

The shady bench...Spruce, taxus, Larch all like it here.

View from the workshop...including BBQ area, complete with some new arrivals from some little garden centre.

The deciduous bench, Gets shaded during the midday sun from the massive tree behind it.  the grass was all resown last year and is there to improve humidity.

The biggest problem with the garden is that we are not connected to the house and so there is no running water or electricity.  Rain water collection worked to a point, but the blue water butts sprang leaks over the winter and so I had to invest in a pair of massive water tanks...

 They were off the shelf tanks and they couldn't have been any better dimensions.
2150 Litres of water...enough for a month of hot weather?

It's all powered by a 80W solar panel and a 12V deep cycle battery, with a pump that gets to a decent pressure.  Where there is a will there is a way, although there have been a few mistakes on the way...and some trees suffered because of it.  

To be honest, it is only a small garden and it is full of trees, not all of them fantastic, but I am happy with it.  Any more and I would be struggling to keep up with it.  I do not have the energy to run an operation as big as International Bonsai Mirai, so there is no point me trying.  It is hard enough fending off the wildlife that surrounds me, including a pesky fox and several cats.  They seemed to be attracted to a fertiliser which I am trialling. Any ideas other than a shotgun are welcome.

So along with the new tanks, which I somehow managed to install myself (I knew that physics degree would come in useful one day), there have been a few new arrivals to the garden. Some great, including this...possibly the holy grail for sabina? Look at the tight Itoigawa like foliage on this.  I will be taking cuttings and hoping that it doesn't flower.  Fingers crossed.

The tree is ok, but I will be looking at this as a donor tree more than anything, or at least as a subject to understand sabina a little more.  The ones I do have all seem to be of a good foliage type and seem to be growing very well, except for the one that is planted in Akadama....so this one is in an akadama free mix.

This is an unusual Juniper, I was told it was a Juniperus repens, I am not sure, but it is definitely a needle juniper with rigidia like foliage.  Roots may be a problem though. We shall see.

Also got this Phoenicia. It is not the greatest tree but it does have a big bulging live vein in a good place, so grafting practice is an option.  Phoenicia will be a difficult tree to get compact in the UK I feel, due to the incredible lack of sunshine we have been experiencing.  This is a test tree as opposed to one which will make a masterpiece.

I have quite a few trees in the poly tunnel to compensate for the poor weather, including these two azaleas, one you may recognise with the black choker on the left, the other is a recently pruned Aozora I have been working on for ages with no joy...just not thickening up, so it has gone in the ground for a while.

Yes that is four bags of Kanuma they are sitting in.
The tree cascading down next to it is being fertilised.  In the sense of it is being...tickled at the moment. 

An oriental bittersweet which is currently flowering and being sprayed with an artificial pollinating spray in order to set some fruit.  Hopefully it will work this year again.  I have high hopes for this tree eventually.  It may not be thick, but it is fruity.

Anyway, there is a bit of a view into what I get up to when I am not on the road. There is plenty still to do and I need some time to work on my trees, but slowly slowly I am getting there.  As a nursery, I am not open to the public, I'm not at home enough to do so at the moment, and so it is by appointment only, and only to people who I know...can't be too careful. Get in touch if you fancy a visit.  Am in the Blackheath area of SE London.

Anyway, England are back at the crease, hopefully we will see another Joe Root century tomorrow...come on Yorkshire! Onwards and Upwards


  1. next time your doing the cornwall trip we wont bother playing with trees (in daylight), I think we'll do benches, paths, tunnels and sheds - looks absolutely brilliant m8 - credit to you. Tweak 1 is feeding the trees not the critters.... never get foxes here, must be the pack of beagles we've got haha

    1. I charge double for heavy labour. Thanks for the offer though. The only thing missing from the garden is a dog, seriously, but it would be impossible at the moment...looking forward to the tweak.

  2. Nice to hear from you again Peter, & what compensation for the long silence - cracking post, & fantastic garden.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Chris R

    1. Thanks. It was my mum and my surrogate father (Les Storey) who have been mentioning it, so after I tidied up for him, I figured I had better put some pics up.

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  4. Very nice garden you have there. Did you get jealous with the phoenician? :-))


    1. Haha...I never get jealous of other people's trees and I know that I would never get the same results as you can. I will stick to what grows well in the UK...and that seems to be grass.

  5. I hope you checked Les's pockets before he left, you can take the man out of Scouseland but you can't take the Scouse out of the man....you'll notice something missing soon.
    My bittersweet isn't flowering, so not in tickling mode yet.
    As my kanji isn't as far advanced as I was hoping would you kindly remind me of the mixing ratio please, thanks again for the tickling fluid.
    Nothing wrong with a nice bit of grass Trev

  6. Looks like a well thought out carefully designed garden to keep trees happy.
    I'm just about to move to a new place with a similar size area available to be devoted to c.100 trees. Would you design the bench space, or anything else, differently if you were starting again?

    1. Not really, I gave the whole situation a lot of thought, we moved in January but due to the weather and work, I didn't start work until May last year, so I had a couple of months to look at the sun, check the wind flow etc. I would have more benches if I could, and possibly chop down a tree in next doors garden. The covered bench should be taller, the roof is too low, but I don't want to be to conspicuous and annoy the neighbours. A 1m tree fits under it fine, but it does restrict airflow a little.