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’

Oct 262016
 

Growing on the tufa scree with roots into a well-drained substrate is Chaenorhinum origanifolium. This perennial from Southern Europe is flowering well into autumn from a summer start. The clumps of trailing shoots are covered in small purple, white marked, flowers.

The corolla has the typical open mouth of the Toadflax and Snapdragons, all in the family Scrophulariaceae. Or as we should now call it: Plantaginaceae when following the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (APG) system of classification.

Chaenorhinum origanifolium

Chaenorhinum origanifolium

Oct 182016
 

The Clematis akebioides growing at the east gate lodge is covered in flower. The buds are held on long stalks setting the flower out from the straggly stems. Opening slightly yellow they turn a burnished brown complimenting the other autumnal colours in the garden. Collected in Yunnan province, SW China where it scrambles through shrubs reaching 3 metres in height. Deciduous foliage covers the untidy mass of tangled stems that work their way into and through any plant or supporting structure to aid support.

Clematis akebioides

Clematis akebioides

Clematis akebioides

Clematis akebioides

Oct 102016
 

This week sees a second member of the genus Tricyrtis in flower. T. formosana, this species standing tall and making a show in the peat walls. A profusion of mottled purple flowers, which as the tepals drop leave the stigma prominent above the immature triangular seed pod. Growing to 1 metre plus and the thin stems supporting flowers and foliage. A native too Taiwan, it was seen growing at 2650m in a shady bank at the edge of degraded open woodland of Pinus taiwaniana.

Tricyrtis formosana

Tricyrtis formosana

Tricyrtis formosana

Tricyrtis formosana

Oct 042016
 

Tricyrtis macrantha has the largest flowers of the genus; pendulous yellow tepals are stunning when shown well against the foliage. It is the inner corolla that adds interest, covered with brown freckles. The internal flower parts are robust and cling together with a crystal icing topping. Ideally planted to cascade over a wall or rock to allow the pendulous growth to be shown to full advantage. Native to Japan.

Tricyrtis macrantha

Tricyrtis macrantha

Tricyrtis macrantha

Tricyrtis macrantha

Oct 082015
 
Sorbus microphylla

Sorbus microphylla

The specimen of Sorbus microphylla agg fruiting profusely in the copse was collected in the Langtang National Park area of Nepal. This is the area devastated by the May 2015 earthquake. It is likely that the parent plant has been destroyed by the weight of tumbling rocks and debris. Take a walk to the copse area of the Garden and appreciate this slightly built tree growing and fruiting.

Oct 082015
 

With deciduous leaves colouring and dormancy on its way, now is the time to consider tree planting. Take due account of the weather. Depending on the size of your garden choose a tree that will not dominate and overpower the gardenscape. Pictured is Betula ermanii, a deciduous Birch from Japan. Here it has made good growth and the trunk, after ten years of growth, has characteristic peeling, flaking white bark. So, a choice, fruit or forest. Many of the edible Pear cultivars also provide good yellow colour in autumn. With the added benefit of a crop of fruit. Fruit can be grafted onto a well formed rootstock of suitable vigour to suit your garden or allotment plot.

Betula ermanii

Betula ermanii

Betula ermanii

Betula ermanii

Betula ermanii

Betula ermanii

Oct 082015
 

Planted at the entrance to the John Hope Gateway is Rosa hirtula. A native to Japan where it is found growing in association with, amongst others, Larix kaempferi, Cornus controversa, Juglans ailanthifolia and Acer japonica. This year the plants have a good crop of fruit, green at present, ripening brown. The dumpy, squat hips are covered in a mass of spines with a wide, flattened calyx end.  The plant itself has vicious upward facing spines on the purple coloured shoots. Growing to two metres with finely cut foliage which takes on yellow tints at this time of year.

Rosa hirtula

Rosa hirtula

Rosa hirtula

Rosa hirtula

Rosa hirtula

Rosa hirtula

Oct 052015
 

Colour this autumn has been unrivalled. The warmth from the sun and the dry season have combined to extend the floral season. Take a last walk through the student plots within the demonstration garden. The fresh intake of horticulture students are on the cusp of grubbing everything out to prepare their plots for fresh sowings. Absorb the scent drifting off the Alyssum, a mass of white flowers. Marvel at the tall Cosmos that have not blown apart this year. The Sweet Pea towers still have pickings that would fill vases in the home, albeit with shorter stems. The real stars are two cultivars of Rudbeckia hirta, short lived tender perennials that are best treated as half hardy annuals; sowing, growing, flowering and composting each year. R. ‘Irish Spring’, with yellow petals and a green centre, the heavy morning dew settles on the foliage magnifying the leaf hairs. R. ‘Aries’ with a brown centre and markings radiating out on the petals.

Rudbeckia 'Aries'

Rudbeckia ‘Aries’

Rudbeckia 'Irish Spring'

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’

Rudbeckia 'Irish Spring' foliage with autumn morning dew

Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’ foliage with autumn morning dew

 

Oct 282014
 

With the protection of the alpine house this pan of Scilla lingulata var. ciliolata sunk into the sand bed is flowering exceptionally well. An added bonus is the scent I associate with the mass of spring flowering bulbs grown here.

Scilla lingulata var. ciliolata

Scilla lingulata var. ciliolata

Scilla lingulata var. ciliolata

Scilla lingulata var. ciliolata