The Clematis akebioides growing at the east gate lodge is covered in flower. The buds are held on long stalks setting the flower out from the straggly stems. Opening slightly yellow they turn a burnished brown complimenting the other autumnal colours in the garden. Collected in Yunnan province, SW China where it scrambles through shrubs reaching 3 metres in height. Deciduous foliage covers the untidy mass of tangled stems that work their way into and through any plant or supporting structure to aid support.
This week sees a second member of the genus Tricyrtis in flower. T. formosana, this species standing tall and making a show in the peat walls. A profusion of mottled purple flowers, which as the tepals drop leave the stigma prominent above the immature triangular seed pod. Growing to 1 metre plus and the thin stems supporting flowers and foliage. A native too Taiwan, it was seen growing at 2650m in a shady bank at the edge of degraded open woodland of Pinus taiwaniana.
Tricyrtis macrantha has the largest flowers of the genus; pendulous yellow tepals are stunning when shown well against the foliage. It is the inner corolla that adds interest, covered with brown freckles. The internal flower parts are robust and cling together with a crystal icing topping. Ideally planted to cascade over a wall or rock to allow the pendulous growth to be shown to full advantage. Native to Japan.
This mottled pink foliage version of Berberis thunbergii is a cultivar known as ‘Pink Queen’. A vigorous thorn laden deciduous shrub that provides a mass of colour in the border throughout the growing season. The most intense foliage colour develops when planted in an open position exposed to full sun. Look deeper into the growth and the leaves are mid green, shaded out the colour drains from the leaves.
During the first growing season a newly planted shrub will establish; needing light, water and nutrient. Subsequent seasons will see good growth and the plant thriving. This newly planted Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans has sent out a dominant, vigorous shoot from the base of the plant. Left to its own devices it may suffer damage in a winter storm. To prevent this, use formative pruning techniques; head back the dominant stem by two thirds of its length and shorten each of the side shoots to two buds. While there nip out the developing seed pods on the older growth, the plant does not need to put energy into developing a future generation. This will help to form a denser growing shrub and allow the production of more flowering shoots when growth commences in the spring of 2017. Compost the arising’s, adding to your compost heap means more organic matter that can be returned to the soil in the future.
Two South American Labiates that are set to brighten the borders for autumn are the sturdy and felty Salvia corrugata and the more spindly S. meyeri. Both with whorls of blue flowers making ideal pollinator plants attracting a wealth of insects to their inflorescence. Easily propagated by taking cuttings of semi ripe growth allowing rooting before overwintering in a protected environment.
Impatiens tinctoria; from tropical east Africa to the glasshouse border and growing a stately three metres tall. The tall succulent or watery stems are sent up annually from the perennial rootstock. At this time of year the flowers are spectacular with a long spur tailing back from the white petal. The anther is heavily laden with pollen and resembles a rectangular scrubbing brush. On top of this are two delicate curled stigma. There is much to commend the flower both visually and botanically. The upper petal hooded, the lower with speckled pink markings. With a frost the dieback is rapid due to the high water content of the plant. The rootstock requires a sheltered site to successfully overwinter. Heaping with compost also helps.
Fuchsia magellanica produces sweet, juicy fruits containing multiple seed. These are often dispersed by birds that are partial to the fruit. From subsequent droppings chance seedlings are occasionally seen in cultivated areas, more so in the warmer and wetter west coast gardens. This seedling in the attached image is growing from the mortar joint in the brick base of a nursery glasshouse. It probably arose from a bird having wiped its beak on the corner of the wall before taking a drink in the gutter. A healthy plant obtaining nutrients and moisture from the brickwork and its joints.
Trochodendron aralioides is an evergreen tree with branches in a layered structure. The leaves are highly glabrous and with the summer sun high in the sky are reflecting the light from their surface to almost mirror like quality. Other characteristics include a long petiole and a partially serrated edge leading to a distinctive drip tip. Native to Japan, Taiwan and South Korea where it reaches 20m in height. Grows well in a dry shady situation. Some literature cites it as epiphytic on Cryptomeria trunks in its native environment.
The good sized stems on this Allium wallichianum make it a worthwhile addition to the late summer border. At this time of year foliage has reached maximum height and luxuriance so any bulbs need to be of a certain stature to send the flower into the light. Rounded heads of purple with prominent blue anthers loved by pollinating insects. The attached images show flower heads at various stages of development. The papery sheath gradually shed as the head expands to open fully. Collected in China’s Yunnan Province, growing at 3200m, on a steep scree slope.