With the protection of the alpine house this pan of Scilla lingulata var. ciliolata sunk into the sand bed is flowering exceptionally well. An added bonus is the scent I associate with the mass of spring flowering bulbs grown here.
Weeding through the border carefully, and before a size 10 tackety boot crushed it, eagle eyed, we spotted a seedling of the Monkey Puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana.
An unexpected find, a healthy dark green colour with the tell-tale spikes to the end of the leaves.
The two mature trees in the garden to the south of the Front Range Glasshouses, one male; one female tree are producing fertile seed. The squirrels are breaking up the dome shaped cones and dispersing and burying the seed they do not eat.
A native to the Andean mountains of southern Chile and Argentina where they grow on the slopes of volcanoes. Seed was first introduced to Britain in 1795 by Archibald Menzies, a plant collector from RBGE.
Dianella ensifolia has bamboo like growth, sprouting from a rhizomatous root system. With a distribution through the Old World Tropics it has flourished in a tub positioned beneath a raised walkway. Effectively a dank basement area in the sunken courtyard of the Front Range glasshouses. Here with low light levels it exhibits a spectacular crop of berries, shiny glossy blue.
A monocot with sheath like linear foliage, a rough midrib runs the length of the leaf. The stems have overlapped brown sheaths giving an attractive contrast to the mass of evergreen foliage.
The two entrance borders to the Palm House were filled with the tuberous Begonia ‘Non Stop Yellow’ in May. True to their name these plants have provided continuous colour throughout the summer and autumn season. Still in full bloom they will soon be remove to make way for winter bedding, so admire while you are able.
Sown and then grown as plugs these compact plants produce multitudes of flowers, single and double of varying forms. As they fade each bloom naturally drops, taking away the task of deadheading.
Mature deciduous trees are developing their autumn leaf colours. With the change of weather last week it was noticeable the quantity of fallen leaves on lawns and paths through the garden.
These images of leaf colouration in the herbaceous Paeonia potaninii are a timely reminder that it is not just the arboreal members of the plant kingdom that give us autumn colours.
Enjoy the kaleidoscope of colours that this year’s warm dry summer has helped to produce.
Vaccinium arctostaphylos, a deciduous shrub showing full autumn colour. All foliage shines with the vibrancy of this single deep red colour that is attracting so much attention. Amongst the foliage are sporadic, out of season ivory white flowers. Growing in the peat walls, it is naturally found on acid soils below the tree line on slopes and mountainsides, native to SW Asia.
Even on holiday many RBGE staff are on the lookout for interesting plants. On a trip to Cyprus one member of staff took resulted in the Garden growing a gigantic thistle. Resplendent with silvery foliage, with spines abounding over the surface, the colour tends to wash out with our torrential rain. Forming a statuesque plant not ideally suited to the rock garden, but being monocarpic will die following flowering and to keep it going seeds will be collected.
The original seed was collected from stunted plants of Onopordum cyprium. In the Gardens moist, fertile soil the plants have grown double the height, it was observed in the mountainous stony substrate near Salamiou. An area containing abandoned vineyards amongst a parched landscape all watched over by hungry vultures.
The vigorous cross, Anemone x hybrida makes a dash of colour in the copse here at the garden. This shaded area with moist soil proving a perfect home to grow and develop.
A vigorous plant reaching 1.5m bearing simple terminal flowers with pink petals. It is however a variable hybrid with many colour forms. This group producing a succession of flowers with overlapped petals cupped together as a shallow dish. As the petals drop the ring of yellow stamens gains prominence.
In contrast, to exhibit the diversity of the hybrid, A. x ‘hybrida ‘Whirlwind’ has pure white petals and can be seen in the roadside planting opposite the rock garden.
Clintonia andrewsiana is sending out a mass of berries on a long stalk. The colour sets them out amongst other ground flora, a shiny lustre setting off the metallic blue. These plants are native to California and struggle to retain good foliage through the summer with us. A member of the Liliaceae family producing a whorl of basal leaves from which the flower spike appears. Usually one umbel of flowers leading, in this season of above average temperatures, to a healthy crop of berries.
It prefers semi shade and high humidity so ideally cultivate in a woodland garden where an annual, early spring top dressing of compost or other organic matter aids healthy growth.
Larkspur is an easily grown annual that repays the cost of a packet of seed many times over.
Sow early spring under glass and transplant into moist soil in a group of twenty or more for a stunning swathe of colour.
In the demonstration garden are two groups, the darker blue cultivar ‘Blue Spire’ growing in the student’s plots and the lighter blue Delphinium consolida or Consolida cultivar is planted within the herbology plots. Don’t fret about the Latin, look in a seed catalogue and choose a packet of seed for next year or if you want early flower spikes sow these annuals directly in the open ground in September. Both grow to a height of about 1.2m so allow room to develop.