Sunday, 31 May 2009

Ribes laurifolium

Ribes laurifolium, originally uploaded by peganum.
Ribes laurifolium male
Another winter flowering shrub and one of my favourites. Nothing like the blackcurrants to which it is related, this is a low, gnarly, rather picturesque evergreen, producing dangling trails of pale greenish yellow flowers from red bracts in earliest spring. Easy-going but probably best with some shade from deciduous trees and shrubs. Grow Cyclamen and Scillas through it.  
Ribes laurifolium male
The male plant (the form known, confusingly, as Amy Doncaster) has more open flowers on slender, peduncles
Ribes laurifolium female
while the female flowers have thicker peduncles (which become the fruits), and a bract behind each flower. Both are lovely in slightly different ways. If you have both you may get some black currants but they are never plentiful. Both plants are available - please specify which you would like.
5L pots ~ £15
Too big to post - for collection from the nursery only

Datisca cannabina


Datisca cannabina female
A female plant in the garden here
An amazing large herbaceous perennial from Crete with luxuriant pinnate fresh green leaves on tall arching stems to 7 or 8 ft. The small green flowers appear in long tassels at the ends. Despite its origin, the natural habitat of Datisca is moist and shaded ravines and streamsides, and they grow well in ordinary soils in the UK.
Datisca cannabina male flowers
The male plant
The sexes are separate in this species (it's dioecious) and I believe they are wind pollinated. You can see the pollen in the male flowers and the sticky green stigma of the female.
The plants on offer are two years old and have not flowered yet so if you particularly want one or the other you might have to wait a little while.
1L pots ~ £8





So I said last week to Emma, looking at our garden, 'You know, I believe I'm actually finally quite a good gardener.' She looked aghast at me. She knows I live and breed plants. She knows I read everything I can find on plants, that I have a gargantuan database that started out as a little notebook wish-list of plants more than twenty-five years ago and which now has 12000 entries. She looks about at what I've created here in what is really a very modest suburban garden and she thinks I'm being laughably self-effacing. But I'm not. It's taken this long to get me to the stage where I can look about and think 'I actually feel like I know what I'm doing.' I can't tell you how satisfying that is. I've moved on average once a year since I left home including a year in Australia and several moves to university towns to study ecology. Gardens need a permanent home. It's not a good combination. So I've been through my Gargantuan Plant List and the RHS Plantfinder and noted all the things that I think are worth growing that don't seem to be available locally, or at all in the UK, and I'm going about the business of getting hold of the seeds and stock plants and setting up my very own nursery.