Mar 242015
 

From this time of year onwards Scottish gardens are coloured with Rhododendrons in flower. At RBGE Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum is flowering in the lower woodland garden. Native to NE Myanmar where collections were made by Frank Kingdon- Ward. These packets of seed returned to many gardens throughout Britain and are now seen as mature plants through the country.

This evergreen species holds many flower trusses and adds considerably to the interest of the Rhododendron collection at RBGE. Scarlet red petals on opening. In bud it is just as attractive. The flower truss shedding brown papery bracts on opening.

A flowering shoot from a specimen growing at Logan garden was selected in April 1954 by the then owner of the Logan estate, Ronald Olaf Hambro, of the banking dynasty, to exhibit at the RHS show in London where it received an Award of Merit. This was in the decade before Logan was gifted to the nation (1969) and became a regional garden of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Rhododendron meddianum var. atrokermesinum

Mar 172015
 

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’ is an easily grown and propagated deciduous shrub that never fails to flower.
The racemes of flowers develop as the new growth expands. These racemes of individual white flowers resemble smudges of correction fluid so loved by the typing pool to alter the infrequent mistakes. Single specimens lack the impact that a wave of five or seven in a border provides at this time of year.
The species has long been in cultivation, introduced from Western North America by David Douglas in 1826. An early cultivar, ‘Albidum’ according to WJ Bean, was raised in Scotland in the 1840’s.

It may be of interest to know that the works of Bean are now available on line at:

http://www.beanstreesandshrubs.org/

All the information gleaned from years of study and correspondence with the prolific plant collectors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that Bean transcribed into his original volumes of “Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles” is now freely available thanks to the International Dendrology Society.

Ribes sanguineum 'Albidum'

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’

Ribes sanguineum 'Albidum'

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’

Ribes sanguineum 'Albidum'

Ribes sanguineum ‘Albidum’

Mar 102015
 

At this time of year wild fluctuations in air temperature are often experienced. Over the weekend, a high of 14.8oc was recorded at the Garden. The following two days also recorded into double figures. Not a reason to become complacent and much too early for an early sowing of lettuce outdoors.
Soil temperature is a more even; rise and fall affair. This benefits root growth and the ability of a plant to produce spring growth. Within a collection of herbaceous plants the range of colour, form and texture of new growth is quite phenomenal. Sharp edges to Crocosmia contrast with the concertina like unfolding of Alchemilla foliage. The best way to appreciate this new growth is as a low shaft of sunlight radiates along the ground highlighting the fresh shoots of spring. The best by far are the thumb like twists that Paeonia mlokosewitschii throws up. Seen to advantage with fresh compost mulching the ground around.

Alchemilla mollis

Alchemilla mollis

Crocosmia pottsii

Crocosmia pottsii

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

Mar 042015
 

An apt name for a flower that bursts into colour at the start of the growing season. Iris ‘Vivacious Beginnings’ is one of several cultivars new to the alpine house this season. For the second week; seasonal plants of interest highlights the diversity of colour within the alpine house. The team working to cultivate these plants are producing a much admired display that is constantly replenished from the growing frames. One specimen deserving mention is Dionysia afghanica, looking literally like a perfect miniature pin cushion, covered with light mauve flowers. This plant requires substrate drainage and a cool root zone to succeed in cultivation. Here grown in a terracotta pot within a second, larger, pot. Native to North West Afghanistan where it grows through limestone and enjoys shade provided by the cliff faces from the intense sun.

Alpine display

Alpine display

Dionysia afghanica

Dionysia afghanica

Iris 'Vivacious Beginnings'

Iris ‘Vivacious Beginnings’

Mar 272014
 

This, a deciduous suckering shrub, native to the Pacific coast of North America making a straggling untidy plant. Oemleria cerasiformis, leafs out from the last days of February. The unfurling foliage is of theOemleria cerasiformis lightest green and with a smell of fresh peas. The embryo flower racemes slowly elongate and then on a sunny day the first colour shows with a hint of white petal exposed. A dioecious plant with male and female flowers on separate plants scented of spice. Ours is covered in male flowers so no chance of the pendulous cluster of plum like fruits appearing in autumn.

Oemleria cerasiformis

Oemleria cerasiformis

Oemleria cerasiformis 19665085 1 POPUP

Oemleria cerasiformis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Mar 182014
 
Scoliopus bigelovii 19802458C 3 POPUP

Scoliopus bigelovii 19802458C

Scoliopus bigelovii is referred to as having quaint flowers by the Alpine Garden Society in their Encyclopaedia of Alpines.

The RHS dictionary of Gardening is more specific, mentioning a malodorous smell. Quite unpleasant when you take the time to reach down and let your senses appreciate the odour. As did Jane, one of our Garden Guides who brought it to my attention tucked away in the alpine peat steps.

Forming a tight clump of fresh green shoots sprouting up in open cylinders with the flower spike above. These unusual flowers comprise linear marked sepals surrounding again three thin much reduced petals all surrounding the flower parts. A native to NW America, in cultivation preferring a moist, shady situation sheltered from excessive cold.

Mar 042014
 
Forsythia x intermedia 'Spring  Glory' 19855002 23 2 2014 POPUP

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Spring Glory’ 19855002

It must be spring, the Forsythia has coloured up. Noticeable colour in the buds clothing the bare stems is the first sign that we are pulling out of winter and day length is increasing. Forsythia x intermedia ‘Spring Glory’ is the first to break ranks in the two beds planted with species and cultivars of the genus Forsythia.

A plant as reliable in its flowering as spring follows winter. The buds respond to the increasing warmth and open exposing the bright yellow petals. Expanding to splay out and recurve slightly. One of the many cultivars resulting from the hybridisation of F. suspensa and F. viridissima. ‘Spring Glory’ is a further hybrid from an earlier American cultivar ‘Primulina’. All to the benefit of gardeners who by planting add to the colour of spring.

Secondary to this, although a sighting of equal importance confirming that spring has indeed arrived was the sight of not one but three of the finance department staff on a lunch time perambulation through the Garden on a day when the maximum temperature reached 11c at midday. This on the 25th February when the sun shone from 8.30am continually until 3.45pm and then again made a spot appearance at 4.15pm.

 

Mar 262013
 

Clumping over a mound in the rock garden is a sturdy plant, Arctostaphylos pumila, an evergreen shrub of the Ericaceous family.

It is endemic to a small area near Monterey on the Californian coastline, in North America, where it can be found beneath Pine trees and on the coastal strand. The leaves are shrouded in fine downy hairs giving a degree of protection from desiccation by coastal breezes. This is especially noticeable on the newly emerging growth and gives a surprisingly soft feel to a ‘lino’ like leaf. Beneath the foliage is attractive reddish brown bark, which flaks with age.

This plant is on the verge of flowering, the cluster of immature ivory bells hang down from terminal growth.

Arctostaphylos pumila. Photo by Tony Garn

Arctostaphylos pumila

Arctostaphylos pumila. Photo by Tony Garn

Arctostaphylos pumila

Arctostaphylos pumila. photo by Tony Garn

Arctostaphylos pumila