19th June. And everything’s coming up roses at Garden House….but roses need water….and where’s the rain? How appropriate that this week we Zoomed off to another Friday Group member’s garden in Hove, and were asked to think about the collection, storage and use of water. We’re real Eco-warriors, us Friday Group People
The virtual garden tour was excellent – and challenged us to think about water consumption, especially since April’s weather has morphed into May’s and May’s has become June’s. The garden owner uses mulch and compost extensively to prevent soil erosion and water evaporation. Planting the right plant in the right place is essential to ensure that it thrives and copes with a minimal amount of watering. Melianthus major, Daucus carota, Alchemilla mollis, Opium poppies, Alliums and Lychnis were particularly striking. A well-managed pond brings in wildlife and much of the ‘planting’ simply arrived unasked. Parts of the lawn are left unmown to encourage wild flowers. The shady end of the garden boasts an Echium forest, prompting numerous requests for seeds.
Various watering-related top tips were suggested: –
Essential to mulch and/or Strulch. Use ring culture pots to grow, for example, tomatoes. Ensure there are plenty of water butts around the garden. One website recommended for its huge range of products is http://www.waterbuttsdirect.co.uk Other butt websites are available, but be careful what you google. Use guttering on sheds and greenhouses to trap/divert rainwater. Investigate the potential use of ‘grey’ water. Use ‘leaky hoses’ around the garden. Think about using permeable surfaces as paths/driveways. Water early in the morning or late at night; water the soil, not the plant. Establish moisture retaining planting holes – should be able to water thoroughly once and then leave the plant to manage. Leave lawns to cope – they will generally recuperate after periods of drought. Investigate Hozelock tanks. Use upside-down water bottles, with a tiny hole in the cap, to water the roots of tomatoes and veg.
Some rather more ‘out there’ ideas: dig a well. Ding dong. And learn how to dowse.
Six favourites from the owner’s garden – who also supplied the photos.
Eryngium giganteum ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’
This highly structural biennial is not yet in flower, but the flower spike can be seen emerging at the rear of the plant. This cultivar of Sea Holly is named for the 19th century gardener Ellen Willmott, who, apparently, secretly scattered seeds of the plant when visiting gardens. The green stems and foliage turn silver-grey as they mature and contrast with metallic blue flowers. A self-seeder – seems appropriate!
Echinops ritro Veitch’s Blue’
The Globe Thistle’s tell-tale spiky leaves are in evidence here – shortly to be followed by its metallic blue flowers. Great in a dry, sunny border and will cope with most soil types. A magnet for insects. Can be divided in spring or autumn.
Allium ‘Red Mohican’
The excitement of an Allium head emerging! The purple/red flower is slightly elongated and has a punk haircut vibe going on. Very attractive and great in flower arrangements too. Note to self: plant more Allium bulbs.
Best to quote directly from the catalogue for Architectural Plants: ‘Grow this and die happy’. A Tree Echium from the island of La Palma, it’s an astoundingly dramatic biennial which forms a low growing rosette of silvery leaves in year one and, in year two, sends up a mahoosive silvery-grey spike, covered in little blue flowers, after which it sets seed and dies. Bees love it. Will self sow in mild areas, or collect the seed to start it off again. ‘Another example of screaming exotica.‘
Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’
The Mock Orange sounds as if it should feature in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But no. It looks quite like a Citrus flower; smells quite like a Citrus flower; it’s not a Citrus flower. Easy to grow and maintain, it’s a hardy deciduous shrub which is good in the border and also as a hedging plant. Fabulous fragrance and beautiful golden leaves, which can light up a slightly shaded spot. 2.5 m (h) x 1.5 m
Hostas, or Plantain Lilies, are clump-forming herbaceous perennials, and this is one of the most attractive variegated forms. The vivid green, ovate leaves have an irregular creamy-white edge, which light up shady areas in the garden. Spikes of blue/mauve flowers emerge in summer. Easy to grow, it likes shade and moist, well-drained soil and needs to be watered fervently, fervidly and frequently – especially in the first year after planting. It loves being fussed over, fed and mulched. Sounds like great-aunt Agatha.
Jobs for the week
Stake / support plants as necessary (it’s often necessary)
Sow poppies such as Papaver ‘Ladybird’ and ‘Lauren’s Grape’ direct into the soil – scatter the seed. Thin out as they germinate
Deadhead perennials and annuals
Remove Honesty from the garden and dry out the seed heads
Hang them upside down; the dried seed heads will be useful in flower arrangements. Leave one choice plant in the garden to collect seed from (e.g. ‘Chedglow’)
Remember the motto: Feeding Friday. Give a dilute organic liquid seaweed feed to shrubs/plants/pots
Take pipings (cuttings) from Dianthus; sow seeds of biennials
(Pipings are in the three pots at rear. Biennial seeds in front.) Taking pipings is easy to do and a cheap way to increase your stock. Alternatively, you can buy Dianthus plants – ‘The Plantsman’s Preference’ nursery is a good source. Chiltern Seeds are good for biennials.
Cut back Pulmonarias now, removing old leaves. Also Oriental Poppies
Feed and water. Keep the seed heads to use as decorations later in the year
Cuttings of Lavender, Helianthemum, Rosemary, Sage etc. can be taken now.
Continue to sow Lettuce; plant out Leeks after Broad Beans have finished; plant out Runner beans
Tend your tomatoes tenderly
Think Helicopter Parenting. They need attention! Tie-in, pinch out, feed and water.
Buy relaxing foam bath; apply expensive hand cream; download whale music; breathe in aromatherapeutic (?) scents. Zone out.
Next week? Friday Group is off to Zoom around another garden plus we’ll be thinking about liquid assets: the collection, storage and use of water.
The exquisite Geranium phaeum
The Little Dixter corner at G/H was looking exotic, with Abutilons, Ginger, Tetrapanax – but, sadly, technical hitches prevented us from viewing the rest of the garden. (Maybe Garden House has secretly had the whole place covered in tarmac as a low maintenance option.) Undaunted, we shared our Pot Planting Prescriptions; some for sun, some for shade, some in pots, some in window boxes. Their progress over the summer will be interesting.
We were reminded to consider the following when planting up containers:
a) Aspect Sun? Shade? Choose the right plant for the right location. How will the pot be viewed? It’s a piece of theatre, darling, so think about your audience. Will it be seen from the front? the side? all round? Think also about the size of the planter and its material.
b) Compost G/H uses multi-purpose compost with grit or perlite, perhaps with some home-made compost mixed in. Some prefer soil-based composts, some like to add well-rotted manure to the base, some add water retaining granules.
c) Drainage is important. Don’t let your containers get waterlogged. Make sure they have drainage holes and use some broken pot pieces to prevent those holes from getting blocked. Pot feet are a good idea too.
d) Feed! Maybe add a little pelleted chicken manure to the compost when filling the pot, and thereafter feed regularly with a diluted liquid seaweed fertiliser. (Monty Don suggests adopting the phrase ‘Feeding Friday’. As opposed to the one we seem to have adopted at our house, ‘Feeding Frenzy’.)
e) Regular dead-heading Of everything. Encourages and prolongs flowering, like these Felicia amelloides.
f) Water regularly Consider using upside-down plastic bottles (make a small hole in the lid) filled with water and pressed into the soil. Efficient, effective, economical, everso clever.
A few drought tolerant plants:
A mat-forming shrub with very pretty pale pink flowers in the summer. Beautiful silvery foliage. Needs free-draining gritty soil. Easy from cuttings, which is just as well, because it’s wise to take some in case it freezes/rots to death over the winter. Also, on a topical note, its common name is the Hairy Canary Flower. Obviously unable to get a cut, like the rest of us in lockdown.
This is the Balearic Island Sage. A hardy, evergrey plant growing to around 1.5 m with lilac-pink hooded flowers. Full sun, front of border, drought tolerant. Soft, felted leaves. Excellent seed heads.
Euphorbia seguieriana subsp. niciciana
A delicate, upright, clump-forming perennial. Fine blue-green leaves. Lovely in a pot in a sunny area. Beware the sap!
And so, we come to The Tasks:
Water. Weed. Worry
Feed plants regularly
We all love a good feed and grow heartily as a result. Pelargoniums respond in exactly the same way, and, in fact, will happily enjoy a double strength organic seaweed feed. Give your summer containers the same treatment – they will love you for it.
It pays dividends. Do it, and you’ll achieve results like this Rosa ‘Albertine’
Continue to harden off seedlings and plant out. Take cuttings of tender perennials to increase your stock
Make a wigwam for runner beans; plant the beans out and protect from slugs
Heap big wigwam. Heap big slugs
Plant up your pot/container.
Keep a note of the plants chosen. So far we have these:
Large wooden container with planted olive tree. Pelargonium ‘Pink Capricorn’; Lavendula stoechas (French Lavender); Erigeron karvinskianus. A Mediterranean planting – best enjoyed with an Aperol spritz
The Cobbled Together pot. Nemesia ‘Framboise’; Petunia ‘Surfinia Sky Blue’; Pelargonium ‘Pink Capricorn’; Helichrysum ‘Blue Green’
The ‘Lockdown’ container. Cephalaria gigantea; Salvia viridis ‘Blue Monday’; white trailing Fuchsia; Viola cornuta ‘Penny Orange Jump Up’
Terracotta pot in full sun for most of the day. Pelargonium ‘Terry’s@G/H’; Osteospermum ‘Serenity Blue-Eyed Beauty’; Calibrachoa ‘Can Can Black Cherry’
Window box in a north facing shady courtyard. Plectranthus ciliatus ‘Nico’; Heuchera ‘Autumn Leaves’; Fuchsia ‘Patricia Hodge’
Terracotta pot. Salvia farinaceae; Osteospermum ‘Gelato Cranberry’; Saxifrage
A pair of terracotta pots. Fuchsia’Bella’; unnamed Fuchsia; Salvia ‘Nachtvlinder’; Gaura lindheimeri ‘Summer Breeze’; Felicia amelloides; trailing Fuchsia
Trough. Heliotrope ‘Dwarf Marine’; Cerinthe major purpurascens; Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’
Terracotta pot. Stipa tenuissima; Persicaria microcephela ‘Red Dragon’; Plectranthus purpureus; Pelargonium ‘Pink Capricorn’
Terracotta pot. Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’;Pelargonium ‘Lord Bute’; Plectranthus argentatus; Helichrysum petiolare ‘Silver’
Large terracotta pot. Rosa ‘Francis E. Lester’; Perovskia atriplicifolia; Lamium
Vintage animal feeder. Does this mean it fed old animals? Aeonium arboreum ‘Schwartzkopf’; Ophiopogon planiscapus; Geranium pratense ‘Midnight Reiter’; Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’; Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’
Vintage metal tank. Aeonium ‘Schwartzkopf’ (there’s a theme going on here); Diascia (orange); Dahlia (single, orange); Angelica archangelica; Tagetes ‘Burning Embers’
Black ceramic planter. Salvia ‘Black and Blue’; Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’; Panicum ‘Frosted Explosion’; Verbena ‘Homestead Purple’
Looking forward to our next Zoom session and a virtual tour of another F/G garden.
We seem to have Zoomed through May and spring. Can June really be next? The evidence suggests it can and will….
This week we were given a virtual tour of another Friday Group member’s garden. We’re learning so much from these – and clearly Group members have learned an enormous amount from Garden House. Call it, ‘The Garden House Effect’. This large, sloping garden in Woodingdean, is beautifully laid out, planted and maintained. It contains colour-themed borders, roses, beds of grasses, raised vegetable beds, a newly dug pond, a greenhouse, compost bins – the list goes on and on. As does the gardening. Thanks to the owner for a great visit – and for supplying brilliant photos.
Here are five of her favourite plants:
The Madeira Cranesbill. This terrific geranium is sited in a border filled with ‘hot’ colours. A robust but sometimes short-lived perennial, it has large, deeply dissected leaves and pink-purple flowers with a deep magenta centre. Remove flowered stems and old leaves to encourage further growth. Keep frost free over winter. Loves the sun, but copes with shade. Has an A.G.M. and is attractive to pollinators. A favourite at Garden House too.
Pineapple Broom. Fragrant. (You can guess what the scent is like – delicious.) Here planted with the glaucous foliage of Euphorbia beneath it. Silky, grey-green trifoliate leaves and golden-yellow pea-shaped panicles of flowers make it an attractive shrub to grow; particularly good against a sunny wall where it can reach over 4 m. Suits most soils. Hardy, but appreciates some shelter. Drought tolerant. A.G.M. Tick, tick, tick, tick – that’s all the boxes.
Rosa ‘Fighting Temeraire’
A David Austin English Shrub Rose, with a wonderful, fruity fragrance, reminiscent of lemon zest. Large flowers open to a rich apricot colour, with a soft yellow centre just below the stamens. Repeat-flowering and grows to 1 m (h) x 1.5 m (w). Good in a mixed border, but would also fit into a wilder planting scheme as the flowers have such a relaxed, informal shape. Attractive to bees. This garden owner absolutely loves hers!
Stachys byzantina in front of Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’
Such a wonderful colour combination; the soft, silvery-grey foliage of the Lamb’s Ears with tiny mauve flowers borne aloft on spikes works beautifully with the wallflower behind.
Jerusalem sage, a small semi-evergreen shrub in the Lamiaceae family. Provides verticality (love that word!) and architectural interest; yellow flowers grow in whorls around the stems, and grey-green lanceolate leaves are soft to the touch. The seed heads are attractive too, and can be left over the winter; they look stunning when frosted. Grow in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil – it flourishes in chalky and sandy soils. Drought tolerant. A.G.M.
Pondering upon ponds
The pond which has recently been created in this garden has seen almost immediate benefits, with frogs carelessly flouting all social distancing regulations. As well as an increase in wildlife of all sorts, the prospect of choosing appropriate water plants is exciting – although it seems that these will often arrive of their own accord out of the ether. Ponds need to be in full sun, in a secluded part of the garden, away from trees, have a deep area of about 60 cms, shallow shelves for marginal plants and some easy means for creatures to access and leave the water.
Oxygenating plants such as False watercress are needed in the deeper parts of the pond. Rafting plants like Waterlilies are beautiful, and their floating leaves create shade, inhibiting algae. They also provide hiding places for fish and other aquatic creatures. Equisetum hyemale (the Lego plant) is a dramatic, upright plant with hollow bamboo-like stems. Best contained in a pot or basket (it is set on world domination), it is a good choice for boggy and marginal shallow areas. Upright plants are essential for supporting the life cycle of dragonflies. Another excellent marginal plant is the Marsh Marigold, Caltha palustris, as is the glorious native Iris pseudacorus. All sorts of flowering plants can be grown in and around water, from the impressive Pontaderia cordata to the delicate Water Forget-me-Not, and their presence will attract a wide variety of insects.
To have or not to have a pond, that is the aquatic question. They have a whole vocabulary of their own – emergent, submerged, marginal, rafting, oxygenating… Fortunately, there are specialists who can help; Waterside Nursery is one such, with an informative website: http://www.watersidenursery.co.uk. The Wildlife Trust is also good: http://www.wildlifetrusts.org
Jobs for the week
The general message is: water, water, water, weed, feed, water, water, repeat
Keep an eye on tomatoes
See instructions above and follow religiously. Indeterminate tomatoes need pinching out and are generally grown outside up canes, or in ring-culture pots in the greenhouse. Determinate tomatoes are squatter in growth, like bush tomatoes; plant in grow bags or large pots. Stake.
These bush tomatoes are being watered by a fiendishly clever, terribly complicated and expensive system. Cut off the top half of a plastic bottle. Leave the screw top on and make a very small hole in it. Turn upside down and press into soil next to tomato plant. Fill with water. Hey presto: water drips onto plant’s roots. Lie down for rest of day.
Plant out dahlias
Make sure your plants have been properly hardened off. Like characters in a Guy Ritchie film, they should be well hard. Can go into the ground or BIG pots Cut out all but five strong stems in order to promote large blooms. Stake. Pinch out the first flower bud at the top of the plant (down to a node) to encourage side shoots and more flower production. Goes against your instincts, but it will pay dividends.
Sow Radishes regularly – in clumps of four or five seeds
Pot Aubergines on into the next size pot
Sow mini squashes
They will replace the Sweet Peas once they are over. They will be happy to clamber up the supports left behind, including wigwams and obelisks.
Wire ties covered in brown paper are especially useful for this job. Do the whole feeding and watering thing. Obvs.
Dead-head roses and other flowers to extend their flowering period
Create an exotic area
Why not? At Garden House, Little Dixter has become a haven for exotica. Not erotica. As far as we know. Tetrapanax, Cannas, Hedychium… all cry out to be grown and spelled correctly. Maybe try a Banana (mustafaMusa) – or a Citrus plant, perhaps? At the very least, sit in the hottest spot in your garden and eat a Bounty.
Protect your crops from birds and wildlife
Unless you are planning to grow your fruit and veg. solely for their benefit. Use netting or wire cloches.
Plant up a pot
And share the planting recipe with Friday Group in next week’s Zoom session. Note down any cultivar names. Plantings can be real or virtual, but preferably real. Take a photo now and another later in the season.
Then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Until that weed over there in the corner catches your eye.
Everything’s looking lovely in the Garden House garden. Purple Alliums sing against magenta Roses and chartreuse Euphorbias.
For our virtual meeting today, we zoomed all the way to Eastbourne to discover the delights of another member’s garden and the fruits of years of hard work. Our hosts garden more or less directly on chalk, with just a few inches of topsoil, and also have to cope with a sloping rear garden which is exposed and windy at the top. Rebuilding wide, attractive steps which lead onto terraced areas and improving the soil with £££ of compost has improved matters considerably, and now the informal, naturalistic planting is a haven for wildlife of all sorts.
Roses abound. We were introduced to ‘Princess Anne’, ‘Alan Titchmarsh’ and the ‘Rambling Rector – all of whom were looking magnificent – demonstrating the importance of pruning, mulching, feeding and watering. A recently planted Rosa ‘For Your Eyes Only’ left us shaken and stirred – part of an ongoing planting project. The chalk bank at the top of the garden has Geraniums, false Valerian, Cotoneaster and Lavenders. Here the grass is only cut every 3 – 4 weeks and there are areas of long grass left uncut too. Wildflowers seed around – Vetches, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Clovers.
An island bed is planted with purple Thalictrum, orange Escholzia, Nepeta, Sweet Rocket, Cerinthe and the impressive, silvery Verbascum olympicum, which thrives on alkaline soils and is home to the mullein moth in its egg and caterpillar stages.
Argyranthemum ‘Jamaica Primrose’
A member of the Aster (not Astor) family, and native to the Canary Islands, this joyous daisy is a half-hardy perennial. Primrose yellow petals contrast with a darker centre and grey/green leaves. Its long-flowering period from May onward is aided by regular dead-heading and its height makes it useful in the border. Take cuttings in the autumn.
Nepeta gigantea ‘Six Hills Giant’
Lamiaceae family (sage/mint). This perennial Catmint attracts bees and mint moths, smells great when crushed and can be pruned easily by giving it a number 3 razor cut. This will encourage growth and a further crop of flowers later in the season. Enjoys light, well-drained soil in full sun. Cats love it. Divide in the spring. The plant, not the cats.
Cerinthe major purpurescens
Aka, Honeywort. A self-seeding annual; great in the border. Grey/green leaves and purple/blue drooping bell-like bracts. Good in borders, pots and vases. A fantastic plant to put alongside orange Californian poppies. A real zingy thingy.
Cistus x hybridus
Hybrid Rock Rose. A bushy, evergreen shrub with white flowers which last for only one day, although this is compensated for by the fact that it flowers for ages over the summer. Good on chalk – as you can see! Needs full sun, preferably a west-facing aspect and some shelter – should then be hardy.
Somehow ‘Mexican fleabane’ just doesn’t sound as good. Masses of small daisies are borne in profusion, which is also the name of a cultivar, starting white and maturing to pink. Loved by bees and butterflies. Flowers vigorously from May to October; self-seeds; great in nooks and crannies but not crooks and nannies. Full sun.
First, order your seeds. Hmmm….someone’s been busy.
Have a break. Once you have completed your Latin For Horticulture homework, maybe move on to Japanese? That’s what’s happening at Garden House. Check the labels.
The Pelargonium-flowered storksbill, native to the Pyrenees and belonging to the Geraniaceae family.
Perennial, although a bit on the tender side. Looks like a geranium and is a lovely thing; its white flowers have maroon markings. Lax habit. Likes sun, but not wet, and prefers a neutral / alkaline soil. Good for pollinators. Self-seeds gently or can be propagated by basal cuttings from April – September. Add it to your list.
Epimedium x versicolor ‘Sulphureum’ AGM
Bishop’s Hat or Barrenwort. Belongs to the Berberidaceae (Barberry) family. Native to Europe and Asia.
A vigorous, rhizomatous perennial which has bright yellow flowers held upright in an open spray. They are more easily seen if the leaves are removed in late winter. The leaves are the plant’s best feature – beautifully shaped and opening light green with red tints. Really tough, good ground cover and will tolerate dry shade. Propagate by division after flowering or in the autumn.
Athyrium pictum ‘Silver Falls’
The Painted Lady Fern, native to eastern Asia, belonging to the Cliff Fern family (Woodsiaceae). A deciduous fern with creeping rhizomes. Grey-green fronds have purple-red midribs, and are heavily overlaid with silver and a central, purplish flush that develops. More silvery than Athyrium pictum (the Japanese Painted Fern) and keeps its colour for longer. Likes a shady sheltered site. Propagate by division in spring
Aka, the Crimson, Red or Western Columbine is a form of Granny’s Bonnet. Part of the Ranunculaceae family and native to North America. The name ‘formosa’ means beautiful and this lovely plant is certainly that. Best raised from seed, its red and yellow flowers give a pop of colour in the border, and have a light, airy quality. A short-lived perennial. Likes sun or part shade.
Thalictrum delavayi album
Another great plant from the Ranunculaceae family, Chinese Meadow Rue is a favourite in this garden.
Not in flower yet, but its foliage is attractive, with deeply divided pale green leaves. Beautiful, airy white flowers create a frothy haze in the summer border. Can reach up to 2 metres in height, so needs support. Likes a rich, fertile soil in part or full shade and not too dry. Seed heads look good and it also makes a striking cut flower. Herbaceous, so dies down in the winter. Can divide in the spring or autumn if required.
Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’
Related to the edible buckwheat, Persicaria is from the Polygonaceae family. A dramatic and vigorous plant (estate agent’s jargon for “it’s a thug”) which grows to the owner’s height in her garden, but is kept in check. Exotic purple-crimson foliage is the main attraction as the white flowers are nondescript. Cut back in late autumn when the plant dies back. Grow anywhere, but good in light shade; propagate by cuttings or division.
Saxifraga x urbium AGM
Known from the 17th century as London Pride, this is part of the Saxifragaceae family. Bishop Walsham How (1823–1897) wrote a poem to the flower rebuking it for having the sin of pride. When told the flower had the name because Londoners were proud of it he wrote another poem apologising to it! A song by Noël Coward, celebrated London Pride and the plant became very popular in World War II. Much loved in this garden, it forms a mat which provides great ground cover, with a mass of small pale pink rosette flowers. A beautiful cut flower. Grows anywhere, even deep shade. Easy to propagate by offsets.
When you plant them out, fill a module tray full pf compost and strike off the excess. Ensure that you plant each seedling deeply. Coil the long root and stem all into the planting hole in a single cell. This is better than having an unstable long-stemmed seedling. Charles Dowding, the No-Dig guru, has some good You-Tube videos on this subject.
Lockdown continues. As do Zoom meetings. Friday Group remain supportive, encouraging and inspirational. Photos provide proof.
Tulbaghia ‘Purple Eye’
Known as ‘Society Garlic’, this Tulbaghia is a clump forming perennial with slender leaves and pale lavender flowers which have a deep purple centre. Suitable for borders or containers – it is valuable as it flowers for a long time, Full sun and fertile, well-drained soils suit it beautifully.
Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’
Scarlet flowers held on long stems bloom prolifically from mid-spring. Regular dead-heading prolongs their lengthy flowering period – and, in fact, they may flower again later in the season. Plant in full sun. Good in most soils, including sandy ones.
Euphorbia x arendsii
A cross between E. walichii and E. griffithii ‘Dixter’, this splendid specimen flourishes and glows in the sunshine, which helps to develop its wonderful colour. Clump-forming and fully hardy, grows to around 120 cms tall.
Masterwort is best grown in semi-shade. Compact umbels of pincushion-shaped flowers are surrounded by bracts – in this instance, the flowers are a delicate shade of pink, whilst the bracts are white with green tips. A good cut flower which dries well. Grows to around 90 cms.
A spectacular architectural plant, with purple-bracted umbels of creamy white flowers which are followed by perfumed seeds. Fabulous foliage. Will grow in sun or partial shade. Monocarpic, which means it generally takes 3 years to flower, rather like Echiums. Sets seed and dies after flowering. Makes a real statement in the border – but why not try it in a pot? Go mad in Lockdown and give it a go.
Tasks for the week:
Lockdown continues. Baby Boomers have become Baby Zoomers. Times are strange, but in the Garden House garden? – well, it just keeps on growing and doing its thing.
Not Tulip ‘Hakuna Matata’, although your troubles will certainly disappear once you acquire and contemplate it flowering in your garden.
This spidery, delicate beauty is a perennial species tulip. A bit spendy, but so worth it. Why not invest some money in these bulbs and experience for yourself the frenzy of the seventeenth century’s tulip mania?
Garden House rates this hardy perennial as a ‘good doer’. It very usefully appears just as the tulips go over. About 40 cms in height, sprays of pure white flowers are held aloft supported by wiry stems. Long-lasting, good as cut flowers and a magnet for pollinators, planted en masse they are super duper.
Rosa banksiae ‘Lutescens’
A near thornless, rambling rose and one of the very earliest to flower. Growing to about 10 m, it produces small, single, scented yellow flowers. At Garden House, it’s situated on the terrace, where it provides a spectacular display in April / May. Prune after flowering to shape and to keep in check. R. banksiae ‘Lutea’ is a double-flowered version of this.
Erysimum cheiri ‘Old School’
A beautiful short-lived perennial wallflower, which flowers for months on end. Soft yellows, mauves and purples combine to great effect and make a wonderful planting in full sun on their own or, better still, interplanted with tulips. Plant densely and in quantity to generate maximum admiration.
Sweet cicely is a terrific option for dry shade. An aromatic, herbaceous perennial, it has umbels of white, frothy flowers and fern-like leaves. Can be used as a sweetener when cooking rhubarb or the leaves can be added to salads – they have a mild aniseed flavour.
Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’
This glorious Honesty cultivar was featured in the blog for 3/4/20, and look at it now!
Tasks for the week:
Apply liquid feed to growing annuals and also to tender perennials like salvias and pelargoniums, such as Pelargonium tomentosum