Apr 212015
 

On the grass meadow to the west of the new alpine house are a collection of Fritillarias.
F. assyriaca ssp. assyriaca is in full bloom, drooping flower head with yellow, darkening to orange with age, fringes. At the base of the tepals are well developed nectaties, containing a surprisingly large quantity of nectar. The flower gives off a musty odour on a warmer day than we have been experiencing.

F. elwesii is later to open with a darker purple flower, and thicker, waxier tepals. It also exhibits similar linear striations to the inside of the tepals. No scent from the flower and minimal nectar.
Both are native to Turkey where they can be found growing in cornfields and on screes.

Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca

Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca

Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca on left F. elwesii on right

Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca on left F. elwesii on right

Fritillaria elwesii

Fritillaria elwesii

Apr 142015
 

The Magnolia season is well and truly with us, the weather conditions have been perfect for these magnificent deciduous trees to bloom in profusion and for such an extended period with no damaging frost to talk of.

Magnolia campbellii is native to the Himalayas and western China. Associating well with the tree species Rhododendron predominantly around 2500 – 3300m on mountain sides.

The cultivar ‘Charles Raffill’ has much deeper colour through the tepals, a deep rosy purple.

It pays to look up into the canopies at this time of year although; quite often it is the carpet of fallen petals at your feet that gives away the beauty above.

Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia campbelllii 'Charles Raffill'

Magnolia campbelllii ‘Charles Raffill’

Apr 072015
 

This is the time of year for young growth to exhibit some, not all, of their best characteristics. The young foliage of Anemone x hybrid is pushing through the soil. Sturdy leaf petioles are covered in dense fine hairs. The leaves, a delicate bronze upper surface and showing a frosty white reverse.

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/uk_news/Environment/article1540182.ece

An interesting article, it puts our Garden into perspective, here we cultivate plants. Also our role to explore and explain the world of plants becomes all the more essential in promoting the importance of the plant kingdom.

Anemone x hybrida

Anemone x hybrida

Anemone x hybrida

Anemone x hybrida

Apr 012015
 

Filling an alpine trough with colour is Primula marginata, a native to the Alps. The rosette of evergreen foliage is toothed around the edges and white farina is found on both the upper and underside of the leaves. Older plants gain a woody appearance as the stem elongates with each growing season, shedding the lower leaves.

A variable species in flower, having a colour range from dark purple through to white, resulting in many named cultivars within the horticultural trade.
On a warm day a faint, most unusual scent, a mix of wood smoke and aged tobacco can be discerned emanating from the flowers. Several flowers are held on a flimsy peduncle.

Primula marginata

Primula marginata

Primula marginata

Primula marginata

 

Mar 242015
 

From this time of year onwards Scottish gardens are coloured with Rhododendrons in flower. At RBGE Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum is flowering in the lower woodland garden. Native to NE Myanmar where collections were made by Frank Kingdon- Ward. These packets of seed returned to many gardens throughout Britain and are now seen as mature plants through the country.

This evergreen species holds many flower trusses and adds considerably to the interest of the Rhododendron collection at RBGE. Scarlet red petals on opening. In bud it is just as attractive. The flower truss shedding brown papery bracts on opening.

A flowering shoot from a specimen growing at Logan garden was selected in April 1954 by the then owner of the Logan estate, Ronald Olaf Hambro, of the banking dynasty, to exhibit at the RHS show in London where it received an Award of Merit. This was in the decade before Logan was gifted to the nation (1969) and became a regional garden of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Mar 172015
 

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’ is an easily grown and propagated deciduous shrub that never fails to flower.
The racemes of flowers develop as the new growth expands. These racemes of individual white flowers resemble smudges of correction fluid so loved by the typing pool to alter the infrequent mistakes. Single specimens lack the impact that a wave of five or seven in a border provides at this time of year.
The species has long been in cultivation, introduced from Western North America by David Douglas in 1826. An early cultivar, ‘Albidum’ according to WJ Bean, was raised in Scotland in the 1840’s.

It may be of interest to know that the works of Bean are now available on line at:

http://www.beanstreesandshrubs.org/

All the information gleaned from years of study and correspondence with the prolific plant collectors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that Bean transcribed into his original volumes of “Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles” is now freely available thanks to the International Dendrology Society.

Ribes sanguineum 'Albidum'

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’

Ribes sanguineum 'Albidum'

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’

Ribes sanguineum 'Albidum'

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’

Mar 102015
 

At this time of year wild fluctuations in air temperature are often experienced. Over the weekend, a high of 14.8oc was recorded at the Garden. The following two days also recorded into double figures. Not a reason to become complacent and much too early for an early sowing of lettuce outdoors.
Soil temperature is a more even; rise and fall affair. This benefits root growth and the ability of a plant to produce spring growth. Within a collection of herbaceous plants the range of colour, form and texture of new growth is quite phenomenal. Sharp edges to Crocosmia contrast with the concertina like unfolding of Alchemilla foliage. The best way to appreciate this new growth is as a low shaft of sunlight radiates along the ground highlighting the fresh shoots of spring. The best by far are the thumb like twists that Paeonia mlokosewitschii throws up. Seen to advantage with fresh compost mulching the ground around.

Alchemilla mollis

Alchemilla mollis

Crocosmia pottsii

Crocosmia pottsii

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Mar 042015
 

An apt name for a flower that bursts into colour at the start of the growing season. Iris ‘Vivacious Beginnings’ is one of several cultivars new to the alpine house this season. For the second week; seasonal plants of interest highlights the diversity of colour within the alpine house. The team working to cultivate these plants are producing a much admired display that is constantly replenished from the growing frames. One specimen deserving mention is Dionysia afghanica, looking literally like a perfect miniature pin cushion, covered with light mauve flowers. This plant requires substrate drainage and a cool root zone to succeed in cultivation. Here grown in a terracotta pot within a second, larger, pot. Native to North West Afghanistan where it grows through limestone and enjoys shade provided by the cliff faces from the intense sun.

Alpine display

Alpine display

Dionysia afghanica

Dionysia afghanica

Iris 'Vivacious Beginnings'

Iris ‘Vivacious Beginnings’

Feb 262015
 

The sand bench within the alpine house contains a swathe of colour. Spring bulbs in full bloom are always a welcome show after the winter.
Yellow, the predominant colour, with Narcissus pseudonarcissus the first of the large trumpet Daffodils to bloom.

Alpine house

Alpine house

Crocus etruseus 'Zwanenburg'

Crocus etruseus ‘Zwanenburg’

Crocus etruseus 'Zwanenburg'

Crocus etruseus ‘Zwanenburg’

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Narcissus pseudonarcissus

Feb 172015
 
Lonicera caerulea var. glabrescens

Lonicera caerulea var. glabrescens

Lonicera caerulea var. glabrescens; sparse to flower and when it does, the terminal and auxiliary cluster are small and relatively insignificant. This is a late winter flowering multi growth shrub of deciduous habit where growth becomes a criss-cross of shoots.
It has flowered through from early January into February. The cold frosty nights have not damaged the small creamy white flowers.

The species is widely distributed geographically through the northern hemisphere and consequently exhibits many variants. Several of these wild growing varieties have been described and named, of which this is one. Plants are found growing within deciduous forest areas, reaching around 2+ metres in height.
Unfortunately Bean in his book , “Trees and shrubs hardy in the British Isles” notes “it has little or no merit for gardens but is interesting botanically.” Where better a place to cultivate than in a botanic garden? The botanical interest lies in the make-up of the ovaries that give rise to the pair of flowers.