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’

Aug 312016
 
Fuchsia magellanica seedling
Fuchsia magellanica seedling

Fuchsia magellanica seedling

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.

 

Aug 232016
 

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.

Trochodendron aralioides

Trochodendron aralioides

Trochodendron aralioides

Trochodendron aralioides

Aug 162016
 

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.

Allium wallichii

Allium wallichii

Allium wallichii

Allium wallichii

Aug 082016
 
Hydrangea sargentiana
Hydrangea sargentiana

Hydrangea sargentiana

Producing flower heads of dinner plate size in the copse is a young specimen of Hydrangea sargentiana. Stout stems bear the terminal corymb, flat at first and then as the head matures takes on an undulating appearance. The head is composed of many small light purple fertile flowers, all lightly scented. These individual five sectioned domes burst open and reveal seven or more protruding anther and filaments. Beneath is a split stigma/style. A spattering of larger white infertile flowers sits to the edge of the corymb. The young growth is distinguished by a covering of bristly hairs; this disappears on older wood which has an attractive light brown peeling bark. Native to Western China where it was collected by Ernest Wilson in 1908.

Hydrangea sargentiana

Hydrangea sargentiana

RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
Accession Number:20120034
Scientific Name:Hydrangea sargentiana Rehder
Family:Hydrangeaceae
Genus:Hydrangea
Epithet:sargentiana
Collector:Wilson, Ernest Henry
Year:1907
Origin:Hubei, W:Hsing-shan Hsien
Elevation:1,800m
Plant:20120034C
Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
Plant:20120034D
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/C21/ZZE060
Plant:20120034A
Location:/Living Collections/Benmore/YE6/835
Plant:20120034B
Location:/Living Collections/Benmore/YE6/740
20120034_D_1.jpg
20120034_D_2.jpg
Aug 022016
 
Leucojum autumnale var. oporanthum

Leucojum autumnale var. oporanthum

A show of delicate white, in a south facing bed of the rock garden, is a planting of Leucojum autumnale var. oporanthum. These tiny bulbs send up a thin stalk on which a white flower opens. Needing an open sun drenched spot to flower well, this Moroccan native is the harbinger of the autumn flowering bulbs. Several flowers to each stem, buds pointed vertically up like a biro point. The inner tip of the white petals have a crystallised appearance. Strands of light linear foliage cover the ground beneath.

Leucojum autumnale var. oporanthum

Leucojum autumnale var. oporanthum

Sep 082015
 
Gentiana paradoxa

Gentiana paradoxa

Sitting atop the limestone wall at the alpine area where the roots are guaranteed a growing medium with good drainage is Gentiana paradoxa. Enjoying exposure to full sun this is a bright compact plant to grow. The flower terminates the seasons’ growth; blue cupped fused petals make up the corolla tube. Sprouting sporadically are hair like shreds where the edge of the corolla has divided as if by scissor action. Peer further down and white and dark purple mottling appears. Ice white anthers make this all in all a very attractive flower. Native to the Caucasus where it develops a central rosette from which the stems shoot up from. Flowering height of 300mm the thin linear leaves are arranged in tiered whorls.

Aug 252015
 

A fine growing season for the genus Eucryphia – cool and moist. This deciduous species, E. glutinosa is awash with white petalled flowers supporting a spectacular central mass of delicate stamens. The red anthers split releasing copious amounts of pollen. As the flower buds first expand, the brown sepals protecting the immature petals contrast against the tightly rolled cylinder.
First introduced from Chile in 1859; looking through details of our wild collected plants it has been found growing from 60 – 700m in lush, species rich Chilean forest dominated by Nothofagus, at lower altitudes observed growing at stream margins in dry forest.

Eucryphia glutinosa

Eucryphia glutinosa

Eucryphia glutinosa

Eucryphia glutinosa

Eucryphia glutinosa

Eucryphia glutinosa

Aug 182015
 

Astilbe japonica has plumes of pure white flowers with a musty scent attracting the pollinators, as the name implies, a native to Japan. The generic name Astilbe, is from the Greek “without brightness” referring to the leaves lack of brightness. Growing to 1.2m it is a strong growing clump forming plant, flowering more prolifically in sun but thriving in light shade.

Astilbe japonica

Astilbe japonica

Astilbe japonica

Astilbe japonica

Aug 112015
 
Desfontainia spinosa
Desfontainia spinosa

Desfontainia spinosa

Desfontainia spinosa a native to Chile, Ecuador, Peru. The parent plant of this specimen was growing in the Alerce Andino National Park, Chile at a relatively low altitude of 200 metres. The plant is covered in striking mid red tubular flowers, the lobes coloured yellow. The stamens are fused to the inner of the corolla tube with the needle like stigma tube retained on the plant well after the corolla drops. This well branched slow growing evergreen shrub has leaves with unforgiving spines. It is well worth sourcing this plant for the colour it provides.

Desfontainia spinosa

Desfontainia spinosa