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’

Jun 282016
 

Weigela decora collected in Japan from an area of dense mixed forest containing Cryptomeria japonica and Stachyurus praecox, these were huge parent plants spreading and reaching 4m x 4m. Here a huge bulk of deciduous woody shoots and twigs forming, an ideal ecological habitat for woodland life. Flowering just now, the peduncles opening a creamy yellow then the pinks and red shades start to appear, giving an unusual floral display.

Weigela decora

Weigela decora

Weigela decora

Weigela decora

 

Jun 212016
 

You study diligently, you consult books, you visit other gardens for ideas on colour and combination then a rampaging Ranunculus invades your border and the most appealing floral combination is created. The herbaceous Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ has become intertwined with Ranunculus repens, the Creeping Buttercup to great effect.

Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album' and Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup)

Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’ and Ranunculus repens (creeping buttercup)

 

Jun 102016
 

The Genus is just the start. As plants are collected in the field they arrive back at the Botanics with collectors notes; some detailed, some not so. These Roses were collected a seed in China. The parent plants were growing on the edge of mixed tree and shrub woodland between 2000 and 3000 meters. Associated vegetation was Rhododendron, Acer, and Sambucus with ground flora, Anaphalis, Rumex, Plantago, and Polygonatum. Having grown on the seed to planting out stage we then it to flower. A specimen is then taken to the Herbarium for verification. Once this is completed the entry in BG-BASETM (the gardens plant data base) is updated and the label engraved.

Below just are some of the species roses in flower in the Chinese Hill Side.

Species roses

Species roses

Click here to search the RBGE living collections catalogue for “Rosa”.

Jun 102016
 

The sun filled days we have been experiencing have brought out the flowers on Helianthemum nummularium ssp. tomentosum to perfection. This subspecies is native to Italy, collected on the west coast of Sicily. The mat forming habitat is ideal for colonising the concrete pad it is growing over. Here the plant absorbs retained heat from the sun to the benefit of a profusion of single golden yellow flowers awash over the evergreen foliage.

Heliamthemum nummularium ssp. tomentosum

Heliamthemum nummularium ssp. tomentosum

May 312016
 
Erinacea anthyllis
Erinacea anthyllis

Erinacea anthyllis

Erinaceae anthyllis grows in mountainous regions of Europe and North Africa. A hugging evergreen with sharp spines to protect from grazing animals. The blue tinged purple flowers cover the plant at this time of the year. Look out for it tumbling over the alpine wall where it has an open deep rooting substrate. This drained, dry medium prevents waterlogging around the base of the plant resulting in longevity.

RBGE Living Collections Accession Factsheet
Accession Number:19744076
Scientific Name:Erinacea anthyllis Link
Family:Leguminosae
Genus:Erinacea
Epithet:anthyllis
Plant:19744076E
Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
Plant:19744076D
Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
Plant:19744076A
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/Q07/S/ZT005
Plant:19744076F
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/Q09/G030
Plant:19744076G
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/Q03/2
Plant:19744076B
Location:/Living Collections/Inverleith/R46/ZZZE60
Plant:19744076C
Location:/Living Collections/Unplaced
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DSC_0161.JPG
DSC_0160.JPG
DSC_0329.JPG
DSC_0328.JPG
19744076_A_1.jpg
 Location: 55.966939112,-3.209277088
 Location: 55.964147932,-3.204664312
Jun 232015
 
Paeonia 'Rose Garland'

Paeonia ‘Rose Garland’

Paeonia 'Rose Garland'

Paeonia ‘Rose Garland’

Paeonia 'Rose Garland'

Paeonia ‘Rose Garland’

Paeonia 'Rose Garland'

Paeonia ‘Rose Garland’

 

 

 

 

 

The herbaceous Peonies; short lived in bloom but once established in the border are you callous enough to dig them out? This cultivar, Paeonia ‘Rose Garland’ dates from the 1940’s, benefitting from a few pea sticks to hold the top heavy growth in place. It repays the gardener and florist with colour from bud swell stage, when they are ideal for cutting to place in a vase, to petal drop. Left in place the seed pods ripen and split open adding interest later in the season.

Jun 022015
 
Heuchera 'Firebird'

Heuchera ‘Firebird’

May, a month of long weekends and long warm evenings; only partially true this year.

The low temperature throughout May has not been conducive to growth. The student plots are at least two weeks behind in growth compared to previous years. Fleece coverings have helped where seedlings and young plants have been transplanted. The exception is the rows of Broad Beans, especially the red flowered cultivar ‘Crimson Flowered’ which is attracting much attention from visitors.

It is the recently planted bedding Geraniums, or Zonal Pelargoniums as they are referred to, that have suffered from the unseasonably cool weather we experienced through the month of May.
As the attached image shows there is a visible purpling to the leaves in all the plants set out in the Palm House border. Compare this with the image of the Geraniums remaining in the cold glasshouse. It illustrates the importance of hardening off prior to planting out allowing the plants to acclimatise to an outdoor situation. These plants, although going through the hardening off process were not prepared for such prolonged low temperatures. June is not starting well with gales from the west.

The real star this week is Heuchera ‘Firebird’. An herbaceous plant that has produced a mass of flower spikes covered in bright red flowers. Planted as a drift to the north of the herbarium, they have lifted this dreary area with their colour.

Geranium Zonal Pelargonium

Geranium Zonal Pelargonium

Geranium Zonal Pelargonium cold damage to foliage

Geranium Zonal Pelargonium cold damage to foliage

Heuchera 'Firebird'

Heuchera ‘Firebird’

Jun 182014
 
Digitalis purpurea White form

Digitalis purpurea White form

Digitalis purpurea White form

Digitalis purpurea White form

Mass planting of the white form of Digitalis purpurea are attracting much attention in the woodland garden. These selected seedlings are sown and grown for one year, transplanted and flower during their second growing season. The flower spikes reach two metres and are covered in white flowers that en mass have the presence to draw the eye from 100 metres distance and more. Once in about them appreciate the humming of bees moving through to extract pollen and nectar from the pendulous tubular flowers.

 

Jun 112014
 
Enkianthus campanulatus

Enkianthus campanulatus

Enkianthus campanulatus

Enkianthus campanulatus

This season the Enkianthus campanulatus have flowered prolifically. This, a result of a long warm spring preceded by a hot dry summer ripening the wood. The show does not end with the falling of the flowers; the soil around the base of the deciduous multi stemmed shrub is layered in creamy white pearls, the fallen fused petals that make up the corolla. A native to Japan, now a firm addition to woodland gardens throughout Britain.