Just as we were getting into the swing of the new gardening year we were deluged….now, as true gardeners, we welcome rain but would like it portioned out more evenly please.
We were not downhearted but retreated to the Garden Room….there are worse places to be…
We chose our seats carefully, for maximum effect…
…. and tried to ignore the rather alarming amounts of rain by thinking of a few of our favourite things. No singing was involved, and not a brown paper parcel or whiskery kitten in sight but each of us choosing our plant of the moment.
We chose Rudbeckia, Plectranthus, Tibouchina urvilleana, Salvia ‘Amistad’, Dahlia ‘Autumn Orange’, climbing roses, Ophiopogon planiscapus, Trachelospermum jasminoides, Lantana, Caryopteris, grape vines, Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’, Thalyctrum delavayi, Gaura, Anemone japonica, Rosa helenae and Cosmos. Phew!
The ident this week was of plants included in the Queen’s funeral wreath, which was widely felt to have been a touching addition to the pomp and ceremony. They were all gathered from the various Royal gardens and arranged, we think, by Shane Connolly.
Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’
This gorgeous Pelly is a tender perennial sub-shrub with rose-scented, pinnately lobed leaves and small clusters of very pretty, pale, mauve-pink flowers. Like all pelargoniums, it has five petals of the same size and shape but the two upper petals differ slightly in colour and pattern from the three lower petals. It is great in pots and containers but also looks good in the front of borders, preferring full sun and a well-drained soil. It can be used in cooking, for making herbal tea and as an aromatic essential oil. Ht up to 45cm.
Myrtus communis subspecis tarentina
(communis – growing in groups)
Tarentum myrtle is a small, densely growing, evergreen shrub with small, aromatic, ovate leaves. The tiny pink buds open to starry white flowers from spring into summer, followed by white berries. Sometimes known as the herb of love, it was an ancient symbol of a happy marriage. The myrtle in the wreath was grown from a cutting taken from the Queen’s wedding bouquet. It is being used in place of Box in some situations and needs a sheltered , sunny position on well-drained soil – it loves the chalk! Use the leaves in cooking or pot-pourris and the dried berries as a spice. Ht up to 100cm – but slow, slow, slow!
The garnet-red, velvety double blooms of this smaller, modern climbing rose will appear repeatedly throughout late spring and summer and on into autumn. I have one which is flowering now in late September. As they age, the flowers display deep magenta hues. They are set against dark green, glossy foliage which makes it a very striking addition trained up walls, trellis or obelisks. Ht up to 2.5m.
Rosemarinus officinalis ‘Prostratus’
(officinalis – sold in shops, thereby indicating a useful plant)
This is a hardy, low-growing, spreading form of Rosemary, therefore a Salvia (look carefully at those tiny purple-blue flowers). The grey-green foliage, that unmistakable scent and the insect attracting flowers make it a must-have. It is a symbol of remembrance. Useful as an edging plant for herb gardens or sunny borders – drape it over the edges of walls, add it to troughs and pots – you can’t go wrong! Unless, of course, you try to grow it in anything other than a sunny spot in well-drained soil. Propagate by taking semi-hardwood cuttings. Ht 10-50cm
Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Knight’
(atropurpurea – dark purple)
Scabious can be annuals, biennials, or herbaceous or evergreen perennials. This stunning, dramatic variety is a short-lived perennial, meaning that it will come back each year for 2-3 years…longer if you are lucky. It flowers throughout summer into autumn with double pincushion flowers in the deepest burgundy, with almost black centres and contrasting white stamens. It is a plant for almost every type of planting – cottage gardens, more formal city-type gardens, prairie planting and pots and containers, adding contrast and depth of colour. It also makes a great cut-flower. Cut back hard midway through the season and it will flower again. Propagate by division or sow seeds with heat in autumn or spring. Ht up to 50cm.
This is a really important part of working at Garden House – or any other working garden or nursery for that matter. As Bridge says, “The label is more important than the plant!” There was some discussion about why we need to use Latin when labelling plants…
1. Using a universal language means knowing exactly which plant is being grown/discussed/ordered, no matter where you are in the world.
2. It allows plants to be grouped together according to their characteristics and relationships.
3. It can give extra information about the plant in a brief and universal way.
When writing labels you don’t need to put the Family, just use the Genus, the Species and the Cultivar or Variety.
Has everyone got that?! Here is a quiz from Bridge to test you…
I can highly recommend this little book as a starting point for anyone who is interested…
Jobs for the week
It was way too wet to be outside so we settled down to a game of Plant Families – think Happy Families but greener – an FGG favourite.
This is great for learning about the characteristics (and differences) of plants within some of the Families. It also bought out the competitive side of some of us….
Before it all ended in tears it was time for coffee and cake.
Lets hope for more clement weather next week! See you then. x