Jul 232014
 

Rosa sertata

Rosa sertata Rosa sertataMoving away from mid-summer and there are signs that autumn may soon be with us. An ungainly specimen of Rosa sertata is producing hips. These are a deep red colour with a shine that makes a cars paintwork seem dull. Having a shaped narrowed neck at the stalk end and persistent sepals at the other, within it is full of seeds.

A native to Western China where it is found growing on lightly wooded slopes from 1400 – 2200m and at stream and road sides.

Jul 152014
 
Lilium formosanum var. pricei

Lilium formosanum var. pricei

Lilium formosanum var. pricei

Lilium formosanum var. pricei

Lilium formosanum var. pricei

Lilium formosanum var. pricei

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mass planting of Lilium formosanum var. priceii in the peat walls is eye-catching. Two hundred or more trumpets on short stalks, max height of 300mm, give the area a spectacular look.
The bulbs each send out one spike bearing 2 – 5 blooms, predominantly white but with reddish striations on the outer surface. Held horizontally these fragrant flowers have a narrow perianth tube gradually expanding along the length to an open trumpet.
A native to Taiwan where it is found on grassy banks.

Jul 082014
 
Calceolaria integrifolia

Calceolaria integrifolia

Calceolaria integrifolia

Calceolaria integrifolia

Calceolaria integrifolia

Calceolaria integrifolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excelling in its position as dominant member of the tufa mound, the recently planted area in front of the alpine house, Calceolaria integrifolia has flowered for several weeks and looks set to continue. Masses of clear yellow flowers are held in terminal cymes. The lower lip of each individual flower is inflated and resembles a slipper. Hence the name, from the Latin, calceolus: slipper. Originating from Chile where seed was collected from wind pruned shrubs in the coastal area near Conception. A sub shrub here at RBGE and dependant on a free draining root run, which is achieved through the tufa mound, below which a 50:50 mix of quartz sand and soil was used to build up the root zone area.

Jul 012014
 
Gillenia trifoliata

Gillenia trifoliata

Gillenia trifoliata

Gillenia trifoliata

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The delicate long light linear white petals making up the flowers of Gillenia trifoliata contrast with the red calyx. An herbaceous member of the Rosaceae family native to E.N. America. Of sturdy growth, the stems have a rough surface growing to about one metre. Not strong, they gently collapse under the weight of the branching growth and foliage.

Enjoying a dry, sunny border in the alpine area where the rhizomatous roots spread forming a clump of dancing white petals in the slightest of breezes.

Jul 302013
 

Phacelia tanacetifolia in full bloom on a patch of redundant ground is as rewarding a sight as you will see anywhere. Loved by pollinators due to the nectar store within the flowers.

A rapid growing annual with deeply divided leaves and a tall spindly habit. Reaching 1 metre + in height and topped off with heads of pale lilac flowers. The long spindly tap root is good for penetrating soil and helping to restore and improve soil structure. The green manure element should be cut down prior to seed set to avoid a weed problem. Slash down and incorporate into the soil through root cultivation.

Phacelia tanacetifolia. Photo by Tony Garn

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Phacelia tanacetifolia. photo by Tony Garn

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Phacelia  root. Photo by Tony Garn

Phacelia root

Jul 232013
 

Hot days, shady spot in the garden, jug of refreshment on the table. The flowers of Borage, Borago officinalis are deemed an essential addition to long fruity beverages. The star shaped flowers are composed of bright blue petals. These add colour to the drink or salad whilst the complete flower has a sweet taste. Well, that is what the books say; personally I get a not unpleasant straw like taste.

This annual herb is a fast growing hairy leaved specimen. A multitude of flower buds held pendulously ensure a long flowering season and a plentiful supply of fodder for bees. Widely cultivated, often through self-sown seedlings, Borage can become a weed of cultivated areas if not managed. The multitude of bees these plants attract enables successful pollination and the subsequent proliferation of seed ensuring the future of the following generation.

Borago officinalis. Photo by Tony Garn

Borago officinalis

Borage flowers. Photo by Tony Garn

Borage flowers

Jul 162013
 

Mediterranean and warm temperate species are taking advantage of this prolonged spell of hot dry weather to flower. We are observing an exceptional amount of flower on the succulent Delosperma lavisiae collected in SE Africa by Olive Hilliard and Bill Burtt.

The bees and other pollinating insects are also benefiting from the fine weather and the proliferation of dry flowers.

Three other plants that benefit from these long hours of sunshine and high temperatures each representing a different growth habit are Salvia verticillata ssp. verticillata a sturdy perennial. Eryingium giganteum a biennial or short lived perennial and Eschscholzia californica an annual, the state flower of California, the sunshine state.

Delosperma lavisiae. Photo by Tony Garn

Delosperma lavisiae

Salvia verticillata ssp. verticillata. Photo by Tony Garn

Salvia verticillata ssp. verticillata

Eryngium giganteum. Photo by Tony Garn

Eryngium giganteum

Eschscholzia californica. Photo by Tony Garn

Eschscholzia californica

 

 

Jul 092013
 

Sun wilt causes consternation when, on a warm day, leafy herbaceous stems flop. During the evening as the temperature drops the turgidity of the stems returns. The attached image shows sun wilt in Ligularia fischeri, a large leaved herbaceous perennial, at 3.30pm on Saturday 6th July. A day when the sun shone almost continually. The second image was taken the following morning at 9.00am (Sunday 7th July). No water was given to the plant overnight. On both days we recorded a maximum temperature of 24°C.

If irrigation is required then water sparingly and direct the water to the root zone. Over-watering often results in run off with water flowing into the gutter and then draining away.

If available, use stored water from a water butt rather than mains water. Watering cans are better than standing with a hose at full blast washing the plants and lawn when irrigation is not required. Where hoses are used, direct the water through a mist nozzle or irrigation head with a fine droplet size. The larger the droplet size the more soil splash occurs. Move sprinklers systematically covering the whole border before run off results in streams along paths.

Good cultivation techniques and thought in plant selection should negate the need to irrigate. There is an opportunity in spring to help the moisture content of the soil by topdressing with organic matter.

Ideally water in the evening allowing the soil to retain this moisture rather than evaporate under the glare of the sun. Where possible save precious water for food crop production.

Ligularia fischeri, at 9am. Photo by Tony Garn

Ligularia fischeri, at 9am

Ligularia fischeri, at 3.30pm. Photo by Tony Garn

Ligularia fischeri, at 3.30pm

Irrigation in the Biodiversity Garden. Photo by Toby Garn

Irrigation in the Biodiversity Garden

Jul 012013
 

Tomato breeders eat your heart out; a naturally occurring square flower.

Philadelphus schrenkii a native to Eastern and Northern Asia is flowering profusely in the Biodiversity Garden.

Vigorous deciduous shrubs, the flowers, with a nutty fragrance, are carried in racemes developing on short shoots from the previous season’s wood. Naturally the four petalled flowers hang down in bell formation. As the flowers age these petals splay open to a flat plane giving the impression of a square. Planted as a group in the garden these, once established, will rapidly reach two metres in height and spread.

Philadelphus schrenkii. Photo by Tony Garn

Philadelphus schrenkii

Philadelphus schrenkii. Photo by Tony Garn

Philadelphus schrenkii

Philadelphus schrenkii. Photo by Tony Garn

Philadelphus schrenkii

Jul 242012
 

This wet summer has given us lush growth; it has also given ideal climatic conditions for the invasion of Red Thread, Laetisaria fuciformis, a fungal disease of turf that is more prevalent in wet summers.

At an early stage of development the leaf blade of the grass turns red, patches of grass will then brown off.

There is an increased risk of infection on lawns of low vigour where a nitrogen shortage is evident. For a quick fix an application of Sulphate of Ammonia is one solution to the problem. However we are rather late in the season to go down this path. Applications of excessive nitrogen are never to be recommended and at this stage in the growing season may encourage soft growth which is poor practice for the lead into autumn where a denser sward is ideal.

Scarify and consider drainage of surface water as more permanent solutions. However even with no treatment the grass will recover and lawns will grow together as our summer dries out. Grass cuttings and debris from scarifying must be composted correctly or the fungal spores may remain viable for another cycle of infection.

Red Thread July 2012. Photo by Tony Garn

Red Thread July 2012

Red Thread July 2012. Photo by Tony Garn

Red Thread July 2012