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.

Feb 102015
 
Iris nicolai

Deep loamy clay soil suits this bulbous Iris presently in flower in the alpine house. With the proviso that when watering none should fall on the foliage.
Collected last year within the Hazrati-Sho range in Tajikistan where it grew at 2015m with Allium, Eremurus, Rosa as associated flora in lush vegetation
A variable species in flower colour, Iris nicolai has a large flower; purple, white, yellow and splashes of deep red velvet on the falls. Quite exquisite with the early sun striking the colours through the alpine house glass.

Iris nicolai

Iris nicolai

Feb 052015
 

Days are lengthening and the soil is warming. At this time of year be aware of the weed population shooting up and flowering. Catch the winter “keepers” now. Many are flowering and others are holding embryo seed pods. Once the sun gains strength the weed population develops. There are exceptions to the, hoe all; control all, theory. Emerging bees are glad of a

Lamium album

Lamium album

Lamium album

Lamium album

nectar sink where they can take on board much needed fuel after the winter. Lamium album and L. purpureum are two self seeders that merit avoidance when wielding the hoe. These vigorous growers have square stems which hold lipped white flowers held tight in to the stem at the leaf axil. These flowers are beneficial to all emerging insects so protect a patch in your garden.

Mar 192014
 
Latua pubiflora

Latua pubiflora

Latua pubiflora has been in flower intermitently since January this year and is still going strong!

Click here for more information

Feb 252014
 
Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis 19750060A 1 popup

Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis 19750060A

Continuing from last weeks post with the theme of flowers requiring warmth to release their scent is Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis. A delightful compact species with, at bud stage, tightly rolled petals. Unfurling a dominant blue reveal yellow splashes of colour with net vein lines on the falls resembling a peacock feather in miniature. A native of Crete and areas of Greece where it is baked by the intense sunlight.

In the garden, growing at the base of a conifer where the soil is dry and moisture from rainfall hard to come by.Iris unguicularis ssp. cretensis Here the rhizomatous root system manages to imbibe and store enough water to throw out fresh growth of the narrowest pencil thin foliage and produce a crop of flowers annually.

 

 

Feb 182014
 
Clematis cirrhosa 19781106A 4 PoPuP

Clematis cirrhosa 19781106A

Clematis cirrhosa is the strong growing evergreen climber that hangs around and above the wooden door leading through from the alpine area into the growing on area beyond. The petioles grab at any available supporting appendage keeping the plant attached through gusting winds and blizzards.

For us, well worth the result, a delicate musky scent on warmer days emanates from the pendulous flowers.

The four creamy yellow petals surround the sturdy flower parts. On maturity these all give way to long achene’s that later curl in typical Clematis seed style. A native to the Mediterranean and Southern Europe so ideally placed on a south wall or free draining sheltered position thus maximising flowering potential.

Feb 112014
 
Eranthis cilicica 20071825

Eranthis cilicica 20071825

Not needing the protection of the Alpine House but cultivated to perfection therein is a pot of Eranthis cilicia. This species has much smaller, narrower and linear foliage than the Winter Aconite, A. hyemalis, commonly associated with mass plantings of Snowdrops in woodland areas of gardens at this time of year.

A native through Turkey to Afghanistan the clear yellow flowers topping the delicate foliage appearing as the snow melt occurs. They work well as an under story planting as the foliage yellows, dying back to the stumpy tuberous rhizomes and is then camouflaged beneath expanding herbaceous and shrub cover in a cultivated situation.

Feb 032014
 

A vigorous mass planting of white stemmed Rubus sp. had spread to the detriment of neighbouring, weaker growing plants. The ideal time to dig out the extensive mass of growth is during a dry spell while the leafless canes are dormant.

Rubus sp. 19913225C

Full of spines, this tangled planting requires careful handling using a thick pair of gloves.

Dig down deeply to ease out the rootstock taking care not to damage the soft young buds that will develop to form the showy stems for winter 2014/15. Work quickly and have a new planRubus sp old shoots cut outting site prepared to prevent drying out of the propagules.

The attached images show the vigour of the rootstock, cut back the straggly roots to make replanting easier. New root growth soon pushes out to anchor and feedRubus sp propagule ready to plant the growing plant.

Don’t be tempted to leave the canes full length it will result in wind rock. Cut out older brown canes and reduce back current season shoots to 300mm.

POPUP 4 Rubus sp. 19913225C CEE45 rootstock to divide POPUP 2 Rubus sp. 19913225C CEE45 Old shoot cut out POPUP 3 Rubus sp. 19913225C CEE45 Propagule ready to plant

Feb 262013
 

Plants grown from seed collected on expeditions often take several years to germinate, grow and mature into flowering sized specimens. Initially they are grown in the nursery and then given a place in the living collection. When flowering occurs specimens are taken to the Herbarium for comparison against type specimen material and published type descriptions.

After ten years this Rhododendron sp., collected in 2002 in the Gongshan of SW China, has produced flowers. The plants will be verified and a species allocated, it may even be a new species.

Rhododendron sp. Photo by Tony Garn

Rhododendron sp.

Rhododendron sp. Photo by Tony Garn

Rhododendron sp.

Rhododendron sp. Photo by Tony Garn

Rhododendron sp.

Feb 192013
 

Forming a dense barrier of glossy evergreen leaves Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’ is worth growing in a sheltered situation. The foliage of this cultivar has white banding and shows tinges of pink. Strengthening strands of fibre providing structural integrity are evident when the leaf is pulled apart.

Appreciates a well-drained root run and will reach 5metres by twining around supports. Often used as a glasshouse specimen, indeed when first introduced the species was commonly grown under glass. The heady scent from the summer flowers filling the growing area. Gradually as growers experimented with propagated material it was planted in sheltered microclimates outdoors. Here plants have survived temperatures down to –13°c.

Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Variegatum'. Photo by Tony Garn

Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’

Trachelospermum jasminoides 'Variegatum'. Photo by Tony Garn

Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Variegatum’