Sunday, 14 October 2012


My time at the drawing board has been very sporadic.   Mother-in-Law (aged 94) fell and broke her right shoulder/right hip in September.  Since being discharged from hospital - still unable to use right arm, therefore immobile as she can't use a walking frame - we managed to get a place for her in a BUPA nursing home for a couple of weeks..... but she hated it.   So we spent the first part of last week trying to put a care package in place to enable her to return home to her flat on Thursday with regular carers/nurses going in to look after her.

We have dealt with 14 different agencies and are totally disillusioned with the NHS/Social Services care in her area - London Borough of Bexley.   I'm fed up with hearing that if she lived in Greenwich or Bromley things would be different and a convalescent package would be provided free of charge to bridge the gap between leaving hospital and being able to live independently again.     Another example of the Postcode Lottery for the NHS in the UK!!

Rant over ....  

I have made a good start on the brown Border Collie and will email the first update to my client tomorrow.  I'll ask whether I can show progress photos on my Blog - I think the portrait is for a surprise gift so may have to wait.

During the week I will visit and photograph the black/white Border collie which will be the centrepiece of the next 3 dog portrait.  From the photos provided I can tell its a beautiful dog, but the pictures are too small for me to see the sort of detail I like to work from (the other 2 dogs are deceased so I will have to work from the existing photos and make them slightly less detailed in the background of the picture. The client lives reasonably close to me so I'm looking forward to meeting the dog 'in person'

In the meantime, can anybody help with identification of this plant?      Although it appears quite sheltered, our garden is a bit of a wind tunnel and I've lost lots of plants/shrubs in the last few years to the windy/seaside air.  I've learned that my garden makes its own decisions about what will grow, and where ... so am just sitting back and letting it do its own thing.    The house was built about 5 years ago on a large garden/orchard plot and gradually some very strange plants have been emerging as everything has settled down ... its quite fun really!

Two of these started growing at the front of the house - one right outside the window of David's 'office' and one outside my 'art studio'.    My one has thrown up a flower stem in the last 2 weeks - it still in bud.   I've called these plants several names (most not very complimentary) as they are very spiky and quite vicious when gardening around them.  I think they are a variety of Yukka but a search of Google wasn't very helpful .. they could be Yukka Gloriosa??    If so its a bit worrying that they may grow to be 2.4m high - its about 1m high at the moment.   Any ideas anybody?

Photographed 3 days ago

and again today as the buds are beginning to open slightly.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...


sue said...

No possums - definitely not Gladioli :-} If Dame Edna threw one of these into the audience she'd probably kill them - those spikes are pretty lethal.

I can see the similarity in the flower buds but these leaves have wicked spikes/thorns at the end - which is why I think they're a kind of Yukka.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

yeah looks like a yukka, and they get big :/

Jo said...

Definitely Yukka, what variety I don't know, didn't know there were differences. The plant itself won't grow that tall, just the flower part. You can eat the flowers too. I posted about them not too long ago. They grow all over the place in the south, surprised to see one in Whitstable although I guess being near the sea it may be a bit warmer.

sue said...

Thanks Jo
We've got a couple of Yukkas in the Drive but they've got white flowers so wasn't sure about these.

Pleased to hear its the flowers, not the plant, that gets so tall as these leaves are spiteful.

Last year we had a white Magnolia in flower ... not something we planted, we'd watche a shrub emerge from nowhere and get bigger over a coupleof years. We thought it might be something horrible like the Japanese Knotweed ... then it flowered!!! Isn't Mother Nature amazing.

Obviously these plants were around before the builders moved in ...they've laid dormant till now and suddenly we have all these new/surprising plants emerging

Jo said...

How exciting. You don't know what you're going to get.

Bev said...

I would say it is a Yukka Sue. I have one (I also live near the sea) which was growing under a small tree at an angle and took up too much space in my small garden so after it had finished blooming, I hacked it down and on digging up the roots I noticed some dormant buds beginning to grow, so I potted one of them on and it is now growing into a nice plant in a pot so I can move it around. I guess they are really tough plants and will grow anywhere even after being hacked about :-)You are lucky to have a red one I have only seen the whites.

Jan/ said...

It definitely looks like a yucca but I don't know the variety. We have one (white) that was here when we moved here in 1989 & even though we cut it back once, it's now huge. I don't know about your variety but I wouldn't count on it being just the flower spike that gets tall! They also spread horizontally. Yours is certainly a beautiful color though - if it's in the way, could you move it elsewhere? Be sure to show us a photo when it's in full bloom!

Hope you get your MIL settled soon and that all of you are comfortable with the arrangements.