Thursday, 29 October 2020
A fascinating species with fleshy upright foliage and striking orange inflorescences. This is one of the so-called grass Aloes (along with linearifolia and ecklonis) native to the Eastern Cape - these grow in grasslands and die down in winter to just a couple of central leaves.
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Easy-going but probably best with some shade from deciduous trees and shrubs. Grow Cyclamen and Scillas through it.
Male and female plants are available.
The female form has denser clusters of flowers with conspicuous bracts. Black berries are occasionally produced
Tuesday, 27 October 2020
I used to think Deutzias were a rather boring group of shrubs but the cognoscenti know different. It's a surprisingly varied genus and many of them are exquisite in flower.
This plant has been in the trade for a while now under a few different names. I got it as F.sinica but apparently the above name is correct, or at least, the best I've found so far.
£8 per pot
A seldom-seen scrambling shrub with subtly variegated clover-like foliage (2 or 3 shades of green) and rich pink pea flowers.
Either grow it among other shrubs so it can scramble about among them, or, if you feel motivated, train it against a wall. Either way it makes a very welcome splash of colour in late summer and autumn
Thursday, 3 September 2020
An excellent and choice hardy prickly pear with pads about 6-8ins across and forming a solid small shrub quite quickly. The fine evenly spaced yellowish areoles on a sea green background make for a very satisfying effect. Don’t however underestimate the tiny barbed spines which get everywhere. Handle it with thick leather gloves and plant it well away from the path.
The parent plant is in a front garden in Lancing, Sussex, in ordinary soil and gets no protection at all. I hear of other plants as far north as Lancashire also doing well fully exposed to the elements.
Pale amber yellow flowers appear in spring.
Saturday, 30 May 2020
A lightly-built Chilean monocot - unremarkable in every way except for the vivid blue flowers that appear in early summer on tall wiry stems. The rest of the plant consists of fleshy roots and grassy leaves.
Seems hardy here but needs a well-drained sunny site that doesn't freeze deeply in winter.
Wednesday, 27 May 2020
An absolutely exquisite, possibly naturally occurring, form of this popular shrub - always attracts attention with it's finely crafted purple white and pink flowers and neat dark green foliage. It can make a large shrub in time but, like most Fuchsias, responds well to pruning.
This is less drought tolerant than other Fuchsia - not good in small containers and definitely most at home in cool moist conditions.
nb. the variety Lady Bacon (left) is very similar and they can be hard to tell apart, but seen together, Arauco is definitely the more refined plant with better colours, and smaller leaves and flowers. I grow both but I would always recommend Arauco. It just has that certain something that even people who don't generally go for Fuchsias can appreciate.
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
Back again by popular demand - this stunning and pretty much hardy species is huge - up to 10 ft tall and with 18in rich green leaves. The flowers are rather elegant drooping rich pink and trumpet-shaped and are produced from mid summer until winter.
I find most Cannas a bit blousy - exuberant and colourful for sure, but not exactly refined. This one is the exception. It's a choice as anyone could wish.
Here I grow it in a well-drained soil in full sun with nothing but a pile of straw over the base in winter, which in fact it might not really need. It makes a big clump and is an ideal accompaniment to other big 'hardy exotics' like Zantedeschia Hercules and Tetrapanax Rex
Generous portions - £15
An excellent smaller species - vigorous but not overwhelming - almost evergreen and with remarkable flowers. These, as is usual for the family, consist of smaller male flowers below and larger female flowers above, but in this case the male flowers are in a long dangling raceme (hence the name) and the whole inflorescence is a dusky maroon.
Very hardy and easy in a wide variety of situations
Monday, 18 May 2020
A genuinely red-flowered Buddleja no less! Not totally hardy but not much tried yet outside in the UK, so well worth a try in a very sheltered spot with plenty of sun. Otherwise grow it in a really big container and bring in for the winter.
Makes a large, lax shrub with clean white felted foliage, stems and calyces.
3L pots ~ £15