Apr 202017
 

Acacia verticillata in flower on the front glasshouse border. A mass of mini citrus yellow bottle brushes. The flowers are a mass of densely packed stamens. The sharp phyllodes are evergreen and borne in whorls around the stem. A native to South Australia where it grows as a small tree or multi-stemmed shrub.

Acacia verticillata

Acacia verticillata

Acacia verticillata

Acacia verticillata

 

 

 

 

 

(phyllode, a wing or growth on any part of a plant which functions as a leaf.)

Apr 112017
 

Pulsatilla turczaninovii, a plant from  seed collected on the Russian Altay where it grew on the banks of the River Bashkaus. Sown and grown and now flowering on the tufa outcrop in front of the alpine house. Found growing at low altitude, 426m, in association with Geranium and Iris; also woody flora, Rhododendron, Betula and Pinus. Leaves well divided the flowers blue/violet in colour. A perennial forming a tufted clump from which a prolific number of flower buds emerge.

Pulsatilla turczaninovii

Pulsatilla turczaninovii

Pulsatilla turczaninovii

Pulsatilla turczaninovii

Apr 052017
 

A selection of the Magnolia species and cultivars are in full flower at RBGE. These magnificent trees are at their best when the sun shines and the air is still. Overnight frost combined with early sun and gales are the weather conditions that bring these showy flowers to an early and untimely end. Best grown in sheltered deciduous open woodland but through the Edinburgh suburbs many fine specimens are planted in open situations and are equally as vigorous in growth and prolific in flower. A walk through the copse will reveal many fine specimens from western and central China thriving in our climate. The attached image is of M. sprengeri var. elongata, a variety with larger tepals than the species.

Magnolia sprengeri var. elongata

Magnolia sprengeri var. elongata

Mar 012017
 
Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii'

A lot of plants have caught my eye during the past decade while compiling a weekly profile on a seasonal plant of interest. Below are the consistently reliable ones. These are the plants that whatever the seasonal weather, will flower, produce fruit or give exceptional foliage interest. These are the ten to fill your garden with and appreciate for their resilience and growth.

January: Vinca difformis – Myriad white flowers covering a tight tangle of evergreen shoots

February: Galanthus spp. and cultivars, carpets of Snowdrops through borders and woodland.

An image is attached of G. nivalis ‘Sandersii’ growing in the frames within the alpine yard. The Sandersii group of Snowdrops are known for their yellow ovary and yellow tips to the inner tepals. This collection of bulbs is particularly fine, the colouration resembling free range egg yolk.

March: Iris histrioides – Plant tightly and appreciate the vivid blue of these flowers

April: Magnolia campbellii and the cultivar ‘Charles Raffill’ – Superb trees covered in impressive pink blooms

May: Syringa x persica – Scent and compact form make this a choice specimen

June: The deciduous Azaleas – Select a cultivar that suits your colour scheme

July: Lilium formosana var. pricei – compact, impressive flower trumpet and a heady fragrance

August: Desfontainia spinosa – A Chilean native with hanging tubular red and yellow flowers

September: Anemone x hybrid – A classic cottage garden favorite

October: Cimicifuga simplex- Long musty scented spikes of starry shaped white flowers

November: Ginkgo biloba – Golden yellow foliage covers the tree, dropping as a golden carpet

December: Helleborus foetidus – An evergreen perennial providing flower on the shortest day.

So to planting, there is always room in the garden for new planting. We are now at the start of a fresh growing season. The garden centres are filling with a wide array of plants in prime condition. Better still, visit a nursery and talk to the growers, don’t be tempted by short term planting it is too early in the season for that. Look at woody material; shrubs and trees. Make a wise selection and think of the decades of pleasure a £30 – £40 investment will give both you and your neighborhood. Don’t balk at the price, use your wealth to support our industry, this is an investment in your garden, our environment.

Prepare the soil well, incorporate organic matter and remove any large stones. For container grown plants, remove the pot and roughen up the edges and base of the compost root ball. This helps the new roots grow out into the border soil. Set the plant in the planting hole so that the top of the compost root ball is lightly covered with soil when you back fill. Firm and grade the soil in the border to a finished level.

Water gently, flicking some water over the shoots, leaves and stems to freshen up the plant. After all, it has been on a journey.

In the first year water all new plantings during dry spells and keep competing vegetation clear from the base of and around the plant.

Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii'

Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’

Galanthus nivalis 'Sandersii'

Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’

Apr 252016
 

Look inside the open flower of Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora’ at the base of each of the six petals is a perfect white circle that magnifies the nectar pool. A botanical feature to attract pollinating insects deep into the cup of petals thus brushing against the pollen laden anthers to disseminate to the next flower.

Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora

Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora

Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora

Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora

Apr 192016
 

There was a double take when looking up from the new growth of Polygonatum x hybridum shooting up with closed stems to the hooded parasols on the terrace. These shoots develop rapidly at this time of year sent up from rhizomes spreading horizontally just beneath the soil surface. A good plant for naturalising in a woodland situation.

Polygonatum x hybridum

Polygonatum x hybridum

Polygonatum x hybridum

Polygonatum x hybridum

 

Apr 122016
 

Two Daffodils, two completely different flower forms. Narcissus ‘Golden Cycle’ a clump filling a crevice in the rock garden with the early morning sun making the golden colour stand out perfectly. In comparison; N. ‘Telamonius Plenus’, a misshapen, ugly cultivar that is grown as a botanical curiosity. Double or semi double green tinged flowers. Originating in the Netherlands it dates back to 1620. Having many synonyms through the centuries, one of which was ‘Master Wilmers Great Double Daffodil’, none of which would make me want to grow it.  However as a Botanic Garden we grow a wide range of botanical specimens that exhibit the diversity of the botanical world.

Narcissus 'Golden Cycle'

Narcissus ‘Golden Cycle’

Narcissus 'Telamonius Plenus'

Narcissus ‘Telamonius Plenus’

Narcissus 'Telamonius Plenus'

Narcissus ‘Telamonius Plenus’

Apr 052016
 
Rhododendron davidii
Rhododendron davidii

Rhododendron davidii

Warmth in the air and a lack of frost will give a good flowering season amongst the Rhododendron collection. One worth searching the copse for is Rhododendron davidii. Collected in evergreen forest within Sichuan province, China near Dujinyan at 1900m. A strong growing evergreen with magnificent trusses of almost purple flowers. Appreciate the colour, being so different to the rest of the plants set out through the copse. But also look more closely at the individual flower, up to 14 can form one truss. Inside the corolla one or two of the fused petals have a subtle mottle mark.

Rhododendron davidii

Rhododendron davidii

Apr 282015
 
Omphaloides cappadocica
Omphaloides cappadocica

Omphaloides cappadocica

A mass planting of Omphaloides cappadocica can be seen in the upper woodland garden. This evergreen herbaceous plant clumps and appears as one mass; creating, when in flower, a distinct pool of azure blue.

This member of the Boraginaceae family is naturally found in woodlands and on shaded hillsides to 1000 metres in Turkey. In cultivation it thrives on lack of attention, just requiring a moist root run and light shade provided.

Omphaloides cappadocica

Omphaloides cappadocica

Apr 212015
 
Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca
Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca

Fritillaria assyriaca ssp. assyriaca

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 on left F. elwesii on right

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

 

Fritillaria elwesii

Fritillaria elwesii