Monday, 10 December 2012

Ranunculus


Ranunculus calandrinioides
Ranunculus calandrinoides

Ranunculus is an amazingly varied genus and I have a bit of a thing for them. This is one of the species found in the Western Mediterranean region with glaucous elliptical leaves (almost like a small Hosta) and gorgeous white flowers, slightly pink tinted. This species (from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco) is winter green and winter flowering and although cold-hardy, is not generally recommended for outdoors. Word has it though that it will grow in dry shade, perhaps peeking out from under a myrtle or bay into the low winter sunlight. Perfectly easy in a pot in an unheated greenhouse, kept dry in summer but well watered and fed when in growth. Very few.
1L pots ~ £8




Ranunculus cortusifolius
Ranunculus cortusifolius

The Madeira buttercup – a splendid species- bigger and bolder in all its parts than normal buttercups, and flowering for months from late winter to early summer. Not generally regarded as terribly hardy, I’ve not tried it outdoors here yet. One thing is for sure, it starts into growth very early (in autumn in fact) and those big lush leaves do look vulnerable. If you want to grow it outdoors, my feeling would be to try it in a moist, shaded, sheltered spot, but failing that, keep it for the cool greenhouse. Gardeners in Cornwall or Brittany should give it a go.

Update ~ these plants have passed the winter evergreen and unscathed in the tunnel with just a fleece over them, so evidently they're hardier than we've been lead to believe. I'm going to plant one out in the open next. Watch this space...
1L pots ~ £7




Ranunculus platanifolius
Ranunculus platanifolius

A very easy and adaptable, and frankly just very lovely white flowering buttercup. Fresh and easy, and did I say lovely? Suitable for any retentive soil in sun or semi shade. Not even slightly invasive.
1L pots ~ £6



Alpines


Euphorbia capitulata
Euphorbia capitulata
A tiny tiny little species - much smaller than E.myrsinites, which it sort of resembles. Those flower heads are less than a cm across. Nevertheless it's completely hardy in a well-drained sunny spot and once settled is one of those species that's inclined to run underground, so not such a delicate little thing after all. Perfect with other reasonably vigorous alpines and small bulbs though.
1L pots ~ £6




Potentilla tridentata
Potentilla tridentata
A very pretty creeping species for any alpine conditions but looking especially good, I think, with heathers and other moorland plants not too dry.
lifted from the ground ~ £6





Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Salix fargesii

Salix moupinensis or fargesii
Not at all your average willow, with big glossy green, beautifully textured leaves and long green catkins. The new growth and stems are deep red. A magnificent medium-sized shrub for any site that is not too dry. See if you can find a place where the sun shines through it at the end of the day. It really glows.
5L pots ~ £16




Thursday, 20 September 2012

Helwingia

Helwingia chinensis
Helwingia chinensis
A peculiar evergreen woodland shrub which makes its flowers on the upper surfaces of the leaves (the flower stem is fused to the midrib). This on its own makes it a botanical curio, but it is also a pleasant and intriguing species with dark glossy leaves, maroon tinged when young, and an attractive upright habit.
Helwingia chinensis
In good years, red berries will appear, also attached to the leaves. An excellent small to medium sized shrub, best in moist sheltered woodland. Hardy but better with shelter from too much sun and wind.
5L pots ~ £12




Helwingia himalaica
Helwingia himalaica
A slight variation on the above. 
Helwingia himalayensis
Equally nice but with leaves a little bigger and if anything, the new foliage is even glossier.
Hardy but best in moist sheltered sites. Hates freezing winds.
5L pots ~ £12




Monday, 17 September 2012

Iris milesii

Iris milesii
A really choice relative of I.tectorum and japonicum with tall branching sprays of remarkable, frilly, purple speckled flowers.

Easy on any sunny freely drained soil. Extremely nice.
field grown ~ £8




Ribes viburnifolium

Ribes viburnifolium
An unusual low spreading evergreen currant from California with neat rounded leaves and deep red flowers
Ribes viburnifolium
A low, spreading shrub for a sheltered sunny spot.
4L pots ~ £12




Saturday, 15 September 2012

Bomarea


Bomarea edulis
Bomarea edulis (aka hirtella)
A fabulous species - basically a climbing Alstroemeria with umbels of bell-shaped flowers on and off through the summer until the frost. In autumn, the green fruits split to reveal bright orange seeds.

Bomarea edulis fruits
Possibly the hardiest Bomarea – the parent plant has gone from strength to strength completely unprotected in our semi shady woodsy raised bed, climbing through a dwarf Prunus. A stunning herbaceous climber to about 6ft.
1L pots ~ £10




Bomarea salsilla
Bomarea salsilla
A more delicately built species with coral pink flowers on twining stems. I've not tried it outside yet but it should be hardy enough in a sheltered spot with the tubers planted deep.
1L pots ~ £10




Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Iris fulva

Iris fulva
A legendary Iris (is that too strong a word?) from the deep south of the USA with flowers as close to red as any. This species is cold hardy but does have a reputation for needing more heat than we typically get in the UK. Nevertheless these seedlings have proved quick to flower here and very vigorous. For shallow water in full sun, so that it heats up quickly in spring. Thoroughly recommended.
lifted roots ~ £8


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Digitalis micrantha

Digitalis micrantha
Basically exactly like a tiny version of D.lutea - very cute
1L pots ~ £6




Eomecon chionanthum

Eomecon chionanthum
The Dawn Poppy - an Asiatic relative of the American Blood Root (Sanguinaria) that flowers on and off through the summer. This is one of those unusual plants that wanders about on long rhizomes but without swamping other plants. It just comes up amongst them here and there. Adaptable but best in moist woodsy conditions. Ideal for colonising under trees and shrubs.
1L pots or lifted from the ground ~ £6





Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Rhamnus ludovici-salvatoris

Rhamnus ludovici-salvatoris
A terrific dense twiggy shrub endemic to the Balearic Islands, and almost never available in the UK. The literature tells us that it is probably not hardy but these have been undamaged by recent winters here. These are from seed collected on Ibiza and are remarkably variable (I'm not totally convinced they are not hybrids with some other local Rhamnus ) but generally they have small leaves, some more or less spikey (like a tiny holly), some more or less glaucous, some turning glossy green with age.
Rhamnus ludovici-salvatoris
For sun and free drainage.
Would make a great little pot plant, or even (why not?) bonsai.
Thanks to Frutos and Susana Torres for the seed.
2L pots ~ £9




Monday, 20 August 2012

Dipelta ventricosa

Dipelta ventricosa
A gorgeous and very choice member of the Abelia group. A tall upright deciduous shrub, as easily grown on chalk as on acid soil, in sun or part shade.
Dipelta ventricosa
Beginning to flower in late winter, the main display is in mid to late spring. Attractive deciduous leaves and peeling papery bark. Fully hardy. rare, I think, only because it's slow to propagate.
4L pots ~ £14




Mirabilis longiflora

Many gardeners will be familiar with the so-called Marvel of Peru (M.jalapa) usually grown as a summer bedding plant in the same way as Dahlias. It is frankly a rather garish plant (in my opinion) best known for the way its flowers change colour with age. Our species are much nicer and come from the deserts of western North America. They should be quite cold tolerant but like the Penstemon we offer, needing the absolute maximum of sun and perfect drainage. Definitely worth a try on thin chalk soils. Some protection from winter rain would not go amiss. Failing that try them as patio pot plants.
Update - both these species came through last winter completely unscathed on our chalk bed. Multiflora came up quite early, behaving like a normal herbaceous perennial and put up with some harsh weather. The longiflora are just emerging as I write, in May, but look strong.

Mirabilis longiflora
Mirabilis longifolia
A glorious night-scented species - the fragrance redolent of tropical evenings. (The very long-tubed white flowers are typical of plants pollinated by moths.) A low spreading bushy perennial with rather sticky green foliage.
xeric bed
Very vigorous and easy on the dry chalky raised bed at the nursery, and could well be hardy enough to survive the winter outside (USDA zone 7) in a sheltered spot with rain protection. If not would also be fabulous in a big terracotta pot on the patio, brought in for the winter.
Update - ours are re-emerging in our dry raised bed, along with several seedlings! Definitely worth trying outside then, at least in dry sunny sites.
1L pots ~ £8




Sunday, 29 July 2012

Euonymus

A real favourite genus of mine. For those who only know the rather characterless hedges of E.japonica and fortunei there are so many very different and much more interesting species to look out for, especially for their autumn colour, but the new growth, flowers and overall habit are worth checking out too.
Euonymus are especially good for chalky gardens.

Euonymus nanus turkestanicus
Euonymus nanus turkestanicus
A creeping evergreen species, quite different to the others with small narrow dark green leaves along wide-spreading stems. The leaves turn rich red brown shades in winter.
Codonopsis rotundifolia angustifolia
The flowers, though small, are plentiful and well worth looking out for. Small red spindle berries may follow.
Euonymus nanus turkestanicus
Excellent in dry shade but very adaptable.
3L pots ~ £9




Euonymus cornutus quinquecornutus 
Euonymus cornutus quinquecornutus
in flower
Euonymus cornutus and Polygonatum fruits
in fruit


What a mouthful. An Asiatic relative of our native spindle tree. The names mean 'horned' and 'five-horned' respectively, referring to the fruit which is typical Euonymus, having colourful seeds (orange in this case) emerging from a decorative casing, but in this species the casing has five long appendages (the horns) like a green propellor.
Although greenish brown, the flowers are also very pretty, carried on thread-like stems and worth looking out for in early summer. Semi-evergreen, this is a nice small willowy shrub for shade. Young plants – slow-growing.
3L pots ~ £9




Euonymus spraguei
Euonymus spraguei
Similar to E.fortunei - this is a spreading evergreen suitable for dry shade. It has green spiky fruits that split to reveal orange fruits
1L pots ~ £7