Oct 142014
 
Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana

Weeding through the border carefully, and before a size 10 tackety boot crushed it, eagle eyed, we spotted a seedling of the Monkey Puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana.
An unexpected find, a healthy dark green colour with the tell-tale spikes to the end of the leaves.
The two mature trees in the garden to the south of the Front Range Glasshouses, one male; one female tree are producing fertile seed. The squirrels are breaking up the dome shaped cones and dispersing and burying the seed they do not eat.

A native to the Andean mountains of southern Chile and Argentina where they grow on the slopes of volcanoes. Seed was first introduced to Britain in 1795 by Archibald Menzies, a plant collector from RBGE.

Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana

Oct 082014
 

Dianella ensifolia has bamboo like growth, sprouting from a rhizomatous root system. With a distribution through the Old World Tropics it has flourished in a tub positioned beneath a raised walkway. Effectively a dank basement area in the sunken courtyard of the Front Range glasshouses. Here with low light levels it exhibits a spectacular crop of berries, shiny glossy blue.
A monocot with sheath like linear foliage, a rough midrib runs the length of the leaf. The stems have overlapped brown sheaths giving an attractive contrast to the mass of evergreen foliage.

Dianella ensifolia

Dianella ensifolia

Dianella ensifolia

Dianella ensifolia

Dianella ensifolia

Dianella ensifolia

Sep 302014
 
Begonia 'Non Stop Yellow'

Begonia ‘Non Stop Yellow’

Begonia 'Non Stop Yellow'

Begonia ‘Non Stop Yellow’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two entrance borders to the Palm House were filled with the tuberous Begonia ‘Non Stop Yellow’ in May. True to their name these plants have provided continuous colour throughout the summer and autumn season. Still in full bloom they will soon be remove to make way for winter bedding, so admire while you are able.

Sown and then grown as plugs these compact plants produce multitudes of flowers, single and double of varying forms. As they fade each bloom naturally drops, taking away the task of deadheading.

Begonia 'Non Stop Yellow'

Begonia ‘Non Stop Yellow’

Begonia 'Non Stop Yellow'

Begonia ‘Non Stop Yellow’

Sep 252014
 

Mature deciduous trees are developing their autumn leaf colours. With the change of weather last week it was noticeable the quantity of fallen leaves on lawns and paths through the garden.

These images of leaf colouration in the herbaceous Paeonia potaninii are a timely reminder that it is not just the arboreal members of the plant kingdom that give us autumn colours.

Enjoy the kaleidoscope of colours that this year’s warm dry summer has helped to produce.

Paeonia potaninii

Paeonia potaninii

Paeonia potaninii

Paeonia potaninii

Paeonia potaninii

Paeonia potaninii

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 292013
 

Not all deciduous leaf, autumn colours are fiery shades. The foliage on the Euonymus sieboldianus growing in the glasshouse border is virtually translucent. Just as rewarding in the landscape as a specimen with scarlet foliage. Pass this small tree in the early morning or at dusk to appreciate the lightness of colour. In addition appreciate the subtle pink fruits with red seeds exposed suspended from this year’s growth.

A native to eastern Asia of open woodland. There are specimens of E. sieboldianus growing near the western boundary showing, as yet, no sign of autumn colouration in the foliage. This group planting is from seed collected in Japan from parent plants growing within the lower limits of Fagus crenata forest at 1200m. One of these specimens is absolutely laden with fruit gradually segmenting apart exposing the seed.

Euonymus sieboldianus. Photo by Tony Garn

Euonymus sieboldianus

Euonymus sieboldianus. Photo by Tony Garn

Euonymus sieboldianus

Oct 222013
 
Stewartia pseudocamellia. Photo by Tony Garn

Stewartia pseudocamellia

With leaves dropping, now is the time to consider planting deciduous material.

When choosing a site it is recommended to research the growing conditions in the native habitat of your chosen species to obtain best growth of the specimen you select from a nursery or garden centre.

At RBGE a specimen of Stewartia pseudocamellia in the nursery lines is ready for a permanent planting position in the garden.

Seed was collected in Japan during 2007 from a tree growing in open broadleaved woodland at an altitude of 1475m. The mature tree had a height of 10m with a 12m canopy spread. As can be seen from the images the colour before leaf fall is an intense red.

Ideally look along nursery rows and select a good form of the species chosen for planting in your garden. If container grown, once the pot is removed, break out the sides and base of the root ball to allow fresh roots to grow out into the surrounding soil. If open grown, prune back any dried out root ends and stand in a bucket of water prior to planting.

It goes without saying that the planting hole should be well prepared and an organic compost or manure added to the back fill.

Stewartia pseudocamellia. Photo y Tony Garn

Stewartia pseudocamellia

Plant to the same level as the tree was set at in the nursery soil or container.

Firm gently, stake only if necessary.

Water lightly and look after for the first year of establishment. During the second year keep an eye on competition from surrounding vegetation and water during dry spells. From then on the tree or shrub should romp away.

Oct 152013
 

Young plants of Euonymus oxyphyllus have enjoyed this summer’s climate. The fruit produced are held pendulously on this season’s growth.

The fleshy capsule, segmented into five parts is a rich dark red enclosing several orange seeds.

The added bonus is autumn colour of increased intensity with the late warm dry spell.

Collected in Japan where it was growing on an east facing embankment in a dry stony loam at 1075m.

Euonymus oxyphyllus. Photo Tony Garn

Euonymus oxyphyllus

Euonymus oxyphyllus. Photo by Tony Garn

Euonymus oxyphyllus

Oct 092013
 

Actaea pachypoda – Fleshy and fruity

Macleaya cordata – Dry and noisy

Two herbaceous plants from opposing continents both doing what they should; setting a store of seed to reproduce the next generation. The Actaea, native to Eastern North America is found as part of the forest floor vegetation.

From China and Japan Macleaya cordata towers to two metres and produces swathes of delicate waxy coated pods held procumbent where they clatter against one another in t

he breeze. Again a woodland plant but also found in the foothills from 100 – 800 metres.

Actaea pachypoda. Photo by Tony Garn

Actaea pachypoda

Actaea pachypoda. Photo by Tony Garn

Actaea pachypoda

Macleaya cordata. Photo by Tony Garn

Macleaya cordata

Macleaya cordata. Photo by Tony Garn

Macleaya cordata

Oct 012013
 

Swelling nicely for the Halloween harvest is a patch of Pumpkins. These trailing members of the Cucurbitaceae family have appreciated the warmth of this summer.

Cucurbita maxima ‘Yellow Hundredweight’ is a cultivar traditionally grown as a Halloween pumpkin. It is also edible. The flowers arise from the leaf axils and are a solid bright yellow. Lasting only one day, in bright sunshine the colour bleaches from the petals and these then scrunch up and wither. The vegetative growth trails along the ground for two metres and more. Enjoying a full sun situation in a well-drained fertile organic soil. Another cultivar Cucurbita pepo ‘Jack be Little’ colours earlier in the season, not as large, but of good flavour. These pumpkins can be grown in compost or manure heaps where the roots benefit from rotting organic matter.

Cucurbita maxima 'Yellow Hundredweight'. Photo by Tony Garn

Cucurbita maxima ‘Yellow Hundredweight’

Cucurbita pepo 'Jack be Little' . Photo by Tony Garn

Cucurbita pepo ‘Jack be Little’

Oct 302012
 

Acer pectinatum ssp. laxiflora. This Acer flowered well and now we are reaping the benefit of the winged seed. The reddish pink wings envelope the seed, multiples are carried as a raceme from leaf axils. The colour darkening as the nights get longer and the temperature drops. Catch them on a day when the sun is shining behind them and the true beauty is appreciated.

Originating in Sichuan, China, this deciduous tree was observed growing on open south facing mountainside covered with regenerating trees and shrubs.

Acer pectinatum ssp. laxiflorum. Photo by Tony Garn

Acer pectinatum ssp. laxiflorum

Acer pectinatum ssp. laxiflorum. Photo by Tony Garn

Acer pectinatum ssp. laxiflorum