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’

Sep 152016
 
Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans
Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans 20140440 KRG 753 (10a

Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans

During the first growing season a newly planted shrub will establish; needing light, water and nutrient. Subsequent seasons will see good growth and the plant thriving. This newly planted Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans has sent out a dominant, vigorous shoot from the base of the plant. Left to its own devices it may suffer damage in a winter storm. To prevent this, use formative pruning techniques; head back the dominant stem by two thirds of its length and shorten each of the side shoots to two buds. While there nip out the developing seed pods on the older growth, the plant does not need to put energy into developing a future generation. This will help to form a denser growing shrub and allow the production of more flowering shoots when growth commences in the spring of 2017. Compost the arising’s, adding to your compost heap means more organic matter that can be returned to the soil in the future.

Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans

Weigela coraeensis var. fragrans

 

 

Sep 142016
 

Two South American Labiates that are set to brighten the borders for autumn are the sturdy and felty Salvia corrugata and the more spindly S. meyeri. Both with whorls of blue flowers making ideal pollinator plants attracting a wealth of insects to their inflorescence. Easily propagated by taking cuttings of semi ripe growth allowing rooting before overwintering in a protected environment.

Salvia meyeri

Salvia meyeri

Salvia meyeri 20030732B (3a

Salvia corrugata

Salvia corrugata

Salvia corrugata 20040344C (12a

Sep 082016
 

Impatiens tinctoria; from tropical east Africa to the glasshouse border and growing a stately three metres tall. The tall succulent or watery stems are sent up annually from the perennial rootstock. At this time of year the flowers are spectacular with a long spur tailing back from the white petal. The anther is heavily laden with pollen and resembles a rectangular scrubbing brush. On top of this are two delicate curled stigma. There is much to commend the flower both visually and botanically. The upper petal hooded, the lower with speckled pink markings. With a frost the dieback is rapid due to the high water content of the plant. The rootstock requires a sheltered site to successfully overwinter. Heaping with compost also helps.

Impatiens tinctoria

Impatiens tinctoria

Impatiens tinctoria

Impatiens tinctoria

Sep 292015
 

With the sun shining on the canopy of Acer saccharum we are reminded that the autumn equinox passed and the day length is now shorter than the hours of darkness. Autumn is truly with us. The cooler temperatures are causing deciduous foliage to colour and this eastern north American native is one of the first to give of its best. The lobed leaves colour up through shades of gold, yellow, orange to red. A magnificent spectacle on the south boundary to the garden.

Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum

Acer saccharum

Sep 232015
 

A nutritious and versatile vegetable, also well suited to the decorative border. From a packet of seed and an April sowing the seedlings of Chard ‘Bright Lights’ have grown and matured in the borders of the edible garden. The deep red leaf base from midrib outwards is worthy of planting in a potager where the combination of vegetables and flowers make for adventurous combinations. While in the demonstration garden take a while to appreciate the apprentice’s potager. Felix and George have both produced stunning designs this year; one bold, one subtle and restful.

Apprentices potager Sept 201

Apprentices potager Sept 201

Chard 'Bright Lights'

Chard ‘Bright Lights’

Sep 142015
 

X Amarygia parkeri is a bigeneric hybrid of garden origin. The result of a cross between two South African genera; Amaryllis belladonna x Brunsvigia josephinae. The flower stem arises from the centre of a large bulb which is covered with layers of protective brown scale. Enjoying the warmth and protection of the south facing glasshouse border the spike can reach almost 1 metre high. The buds open to a rose pink trumpet, giving out a deep perfumed scent. Bulbs are found with variable shades of petal colour due to the nature of the hybrid.

X Amarygia parkeri

X Amarygia parkeri

X Amarygia parkeri

X Amarygia parkeri

Sep 012015
 

In flower just now is a plant of the Californian chaparral; a shrub land plant community evolving through mild wet winters and hot dry summers. These areas are prone to wildfires and Mimulus aurantiacus is one of this community of plants which grows rapidly following a fire. A sub-shrub , the stems and foliage are covered in minute glutinous hairs which give the plant a sticky feel and catch wind-blown seeds. These plants flower continually through the summer months, new growth producing terminal flower buds in variable shades of yellow. The anthers are submerged in the corolla, fused as twins; one twin sitting below the other, the style is white. It will be interesting to see if it survives our winter.

Mimulus aurantiacus

Mimulus aurantiacus

Mimulus aurantiacus

Mimulus aurantiacus

Sep 172014
 

Vaccinium arctostaphylos, a deciduous shrub showing full autumn colour. All foliage shines with the vibrancy of this single deep red colour that is attracting so much attention. Amongst the foliage are sporadic, out of season ivory white flowers. Growing in the peat walls, it is naturally found on acid soils below the tree line on slopes and mountainsides, native to SW Asia.

Vaccinium arctostaphylos

Vaccinium arctostaphylos

Vaccinium arctostaphylos

Vaccinium arctostaphylos

Vaccinium arctostaphylos

Vaccinium arctostaphylos

 

Sep 092014
 
Onopordum cyprium

Onopordum cyprium

Onopordum cyprium

Onopordum cyprium

Onopordum cyprium

Onopordum cyprium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even on holiday many RBGE staff are on the lookout for interesting plants. On a trip to Cyprus one member of staff took resulted in the Garden growing a gigantic thistle. Resplendent with silvery foliage, with spines abounding over the surface, the colour tends to wash out with our torrential rain. Forming a statuesque plant not ideally suited to the rock garden, but being monocarpic will die following flowering and to keep it going seeds will be collected.

The original seed was collected from stunted plants of Onopordum cyprium. In the Gardens moist, fertile soil the plants have grown double the height, it was observed in the mountainous stony substrate near Salamiou. An area containing abandoned vineyards amongst a parched landscape all watched over by hungry vultures.