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’

Feb 222017
 

A good selection of young plants of Bergenia pacifica from a sowing in 2015 are flowering for the first time in the nursery. From the attached image can be seen the development of the flower bud and growth leading to a succession of the plants flowering. The flower spike holds a selection of flowers in the terminal cyme that are a welcome warm pink in the last days of winter. A heavy bearer of nectar that can be observed as droplets on the inner surfaces of the petals. A rhizomatous evergreen perennial with rounded foliage, deepening red as temperatures drop through the winter.  Native to east Russia and Siberia where it is found in damp woodland and open meadows, this plant is ideal grouped in semi shade growing in moist border soil.

Bergenia pacifica

Bergenia pacifica

Bergenia pacifica

Bergenia pacifica

Feb 142017
 

Muscari azureum has sent up its instantly recognisable inverted cone of azure blue flowers. Native to Turkey this is a bulb that appreciates good drainage and a sunny aspect and will naturalise through borders. Just look along the alpine wall later in the year, it is full of M. azureum naturalised in this free draining sun baked environment. The flowers within the raceme are mainly fertile and a minority, paler in colour are sterile.

Muscari azureum

Muscari azureum

Feb 092017
 

The forecast last night was for an overnight frost that would clear quickly. How right the forecast was, bright sunshine soon warmed the ice crystals with damaging consequences to the Viburnum bodnantense cultivars. The attached image shows the rapid browning and discolouration that occurs to the open flowers when direct sun expands the frozen ice crystals within the petals.

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont'

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’

Feb 092017
 

Rhododendron dauricum, in flower since mid-January. A good show of purple flowers on this native to east and north Asia, the seed from which this plant grew was collected on Hokkaido Island, Japan. A hardy species that is one of the first of the genera to flower, it does rely on a frost free winter to prolong the flowering as early sun directed on frozen blooms is fatal.

Rhododendron dauricum

Rhododendron dauricum

Rhododendron dauricum

Rhododendron dauricum

Feb 252016
 
Helleborus orientalis

Helleborus orientalis (20091439A)

Two different collections of Helleborus orientalis can be seen in the woodland garden. Both collected from Georgia. The smaller, with petals shaded pink and red was growing at 1210m on a grassy slope with Primula spp and amongst Picea and Carpinus. The more vigorous growing and consistent white flowered plants were found at a lower altitude 632m on a hillside of deciduous woodland. The variability of the wild species and its wide geographic location; Southern Europe to SW Asia, gives rise to many selected and named cultivars. Often sold as H. x hybridus cultivars.

Helleborus orientalis (20100667A)

Helleborus orientalis (20100667A)

RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
Accession Number:20091439
Scientific Name:Helleborus orientalis Lam.
Family:Ranunculaceae
Genus:Helleborus
Epithet:orientalis
Collector:Mitchell, John; Brown, Richard & Harper, Geoffrey
Year:2009
Origin:West Asia and Egypt:Bakuriani:Timotesubani, across from church
Elevation:1,210m
Plant:20091439A
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/W21/S010
20091439_A_1.jpg
20091439_A_2.jpg
20091439_A_3.jpg
20091439_A_4.jpg
 Location: 41.810117,43.517633

 

RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
Accession Number:20100667
Scientific Name:Helleborus orientalis Lam.
Family:Ranunculaceae
Genus:Helleborus
Epithet:orientalis
Collector:Brown, Richard & Prestage, Anne
Year:2010
Origin:West Asia and Egypt:Adjara:Nearer to Village of Tskhemlisi
Elevation:632m
Plant:20100667B
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/W09/N/A010
Plant:20100667A
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/W09/S/ZV010
2010.0667A (2).JPG
20100667_A_1.jpg
 Location: 41.690222,42.162583

 

Feb 162016
 

Carpets of Ivy, Hedera helix, are wonderful for ground cover but once the vigorous shoots start encroaching on tree trunks, walls and through the base of woody shrubs competition is fierce. The juvenile growth has smaller leaves. After several years mature, more woody growth is produced and this holds flowers and subsequent fruit. A giant in the ecological world, Ivy provides cover to myriad organisms, stability to soil, food in the form of pollen, nectar and berries, as a foil to mature trees, bird nesting cover. It does, however, need to be kept within acceptable bounds in a garden. Rampant Ivy saps vigour from other plants and on buildings will unseat coping stones and disrupt roof tiles.

Hedera helix

Hedera helix

Feb 092016
 

Daphne ‘Spring Beauty’ is indeed a beauty and scented too. An evergreen shrub hybridised in the 1820’s it has a mass of flowers in a terminal cluster. Purple in bud, opening a lighter shade of pink and when open a heavy powerful scent fills the air around and about. Enjoying an open situation Daphne will flower reliably from an early age. Choose a permanent position as they do dislike being transplanted. Ideally sheltered from drying winds and too bright summer sunshine, in soil that drains well.

Daphne 'Spring Beauty'

Daphne ‘Spring Beauty’

Daphne 'Spring Beauty'

Daphne ‘Spring Beauty’

Feb 022016
 
Ficus carica
Ficus carica

Ficus carica

Ficus carica needs a warm corner to produce a reliable crop of Figs in autumn. As a native to the Middle East as much for winter protection of the embryo fruit which populate the branches on the previous season’s growth. But this shelter and warmth is also essential through the year to ripen the fruit to split perfection. For the tastiest fruit, resist the temptation to harvest until the fig splits slightly and starts to ooze juice. As growth commences in spring additional fruit buds will form. Given a good growing season these too will swell and ripen.

Fig Ficus carica 22 1 2016 (2a

 

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