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’

May 262016
 

The Azalea collection is blooming. One of the best on the bank is Rhododendron luteum, reliable to flower, full of mid yellow blooms and the scent drifting through the lawn. These plants grow through S.E. Europe, Turkey and the Caucasus. Strong growing, deciduous, much branching shrubs. The flowers are followed by elongated seed capsules full of seed, much of which may be viable and can subsequently lead to self-seeding.

Rhododendron luteum

Rhododendron luteum

Rhododendron luteum

Rhododendron luteum

May 182016
 
Malus sieversii

Malus sieversii

Growing in the nursery is a fine, sturdy young specimen of Malus sieversii. A native to Central Asia and known to be the wild apple that apple breeding developed from. Through DNA analysis it is believed that the majority of the cultivars of domestic apple are related to this species which is now endangered in the wild. In bloom just now, blush pink in tight bud, turning white as the five petals open and developing an origami like shape in the centre.Malus sieversii 20050545a (4a

 

May 102016
 
Anemone ranunculoides 'Pleniflora'
Anemone ranunculoides 'Pleniflora'

Anemone ranunculoides ‘Pleniflora’

Anemone ranunculoides a spring flowering native that carpets open woodland. The long spindly stems arise from delicate rhizomes that colonise moist organic soil. Atop these spindly stems are foliage and a single terminal flower, held above the foliage on a short stalk, opening a fresh yellow in spring sunshine. A welcome alternative as undercover in woodland to the more common, at RBGE, A. nemorosa. Also look out for the semi double form, A.ranunculoides ‘Pleniflora’ on the raised bed between the two alpine houses. The outer petals bleach white on senescence.

Apr 252016
 

Anemone ranunculoides a spring flowering native that carpets open woodland. The long spindly stems arise from delicate rhizomes that colonise moist organic soil. Atop these spindly stems are foliage and a single terminal flower. This, held above the foliage on a short stalk. Opening a fresh yellow in spring sunshine. A welcome alternative as undercover in woodland to the more common, at RBGE, A. nemorosa. Also look out for the semi double form, A.ranunculoides ‘Pleniflora’ on the raised bed between the two alpine houses.

Anemone ranunculoides

Anemone ranunculoides

Anemone ranunculoides 'Pleniflora'

Anemone ranunculoides ‘Pleniflora’

May 262015
 

Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii has long linear leaves as you would expect from a member of the Agavaceae family. This is a stunning perennial that repays planting space in the border with a reliable show of multiple upright racemes, covered in blue flowers. Opening from the base of the spike, the long petals twist together as they senesce.
Enjoys an open situation with a moist root run, yet dislikes waterlogged soil. Native to western north America and generally hardy with us. Once planted leave to their own devices as they resent disturbance.

Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

Camassia leichtlinii ssp. suksdorfii

May 182015
 

The second half of May and we hope the frost is finished for the season. Make sure all half hardy and tender perennial stock you are planting out for summer display is hardened off before sinking a trowel into the soil. As you can see from the attached images a late frost followed by early, bright sunshine can have devastating effects on tender young growth. These woody plants sit out in all weather. Trees and shrubs form the backbone of planting and still thought must go as to where in the garden these plants are situated. The large woolly leaves of Hydrangea sargentiana were full of sap which thawed too rapidly as the sun hit the foliage. The tender tips of Pterocarya fraxinifolia will recover, this is a young plant grown from seed collected in Georgia. There are mature, wide crowned, specimens growing successfully elsewhere in the garden. Decoratively, the most noticeable damage is on the young Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’ the showy red shoots are burnt brown, spoiling the display.

Hydrangea sargentiana

Hydrangea sargentiana

Pieris japonica 'Variegata'

Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’

Pterocarya fraxinifolia

Pterocarya fraxinifolia

May 122015
 

Viola spathulataThe strap leaved Viola spathulata is thriving in the tufa wall that forms the backdrop to the alpine shelter here at RBGE. A native to cliff faces in Iran where the roots push into hairline rock crevices to gain a secure hold and draw up moisture to ensure survival. Here the individual tufa rocks were bound together to replicate these natural limestone landscapes where distinctive flora’s develop.

Covered in the typical viola flowers, V. spathulata is composed of five petals, four facing upwards and the fifth pointing down. Light mauve in colour with a darker colouration in the throat.

 

 

May 062015
 
Acer davidii ssp. grosseri

Acer davidii ssp. grosseri

Amid the seasonal blossom and mass flowering of spring are interspersed subtle touches. Often unnoticed, these all add to the interest of the garden in spring. Acer davidii ssp. grosseri, a deciduous tree from northern and central China can be seen growing on the Pyrus lawn here at RBGE. At the base of the multiple flowered pendulous inflorescences are recurved delicate pink bud sheaths. These turning deeper red with maturity. These are shed as growth extends and the flowers mature to clusters of the traditional winged seeds.

Acer davidii ssp. grosseri

Acer davidii ssp. grosseri

 

May 272014
 
Polygonatum humile

Polygonatum humile

Polygonatum humile 19933874C

Polygonatum humile

Polygonatum humile 19933874C 2

Polygonatum humile

 

 

 

 

If there was ever a plant that deserved to be in this category it is Polygonatum humile. A delightful herbaceous member of the Ruscaceae family it razzles through the soil forming a tidy compact mass of foliage. Naturally found in open woodland and through grassland in the Himalaya’s and western China. Replicate the conditions in cultivation – semi shade and moist organic soil and this plant will send out rhizomes colonising bare soil. Pendulous, waxy, almost white bell shaped flowers shading to green. At the end silver gilt marking to the tip. These are borne singly in the leaf axil, several to each stem.