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Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

img 1990 1 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

img 1900 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

The plant of the week this week is a widely planted shrub that’s really starting to look great at this time of the year. And it rightly deserves this wide planting for its a tough plant

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is a evergreen shrub that sometimes is called Silk tassel bush or Quinine bush. It is a native of USA where it grows in a couple of different areas, the first one is on the coast of South Oregon and into California very near the coast well within 20miles of it. The other place it can be found growing on the mountains around the Pacific coastline in areas like Montana and San Bruno mountain ranges. It tends to grow 200m above sea level in the more damper spots along the coast.

img 1990 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

It was first discovered by one of the greatest plant collectors of all America, David Douglas in 1828. Garrya was named after Garry Nichols. Garry Nichols was the deputy governor of the Hudson Bay company and managed the merger between them and North West Company. Hudson Bay Company controlled the fur trade throughout North America and is still going as a trading company selling anything from clothes to digital space. The cultivar James Roof was named after the director of Tilden botanical gardens, California where this form was found growing in amongst some seedlings.

img 1993 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is an evergreen shrub with a sea green foliage. It makes a shrub that will reach 4m in height and width and makes both a great free standing shrub as well as a wall Plant. Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ makes a Great Wall shrub thriving on a north facing wall. It’s grown for its very beautiful greenish/grey catkins at start showing early winter and then open up around now to their full length of 20-35cm in the case of the male form James Roof. These catkins are really what this stunning shrub is grown for. Once they have finished flowering, they can stay on the shrubs for months after they have finished. It is pretty tough shrub, Hardy down to -15c but it will suffer a bit of browning on the leaves and some dieback at these temperatures. It prefers a soil that is pretty damp but is free draining, it will survive in drier soils but never does as well. It will quite take slightly acidic and alkaline soils, ideally in the PH range of 6-8. I have grown it on shallow soils over chalk without too many problems. It’s prefect for poor soils and coastal areas. Pruning wise it just needs a little shaping in April cutting the growth from last year down to a couple of buds on established plants and trim new growth on plants in training, down by half. Feeding is down using a compost mulch and vitax Q4 in around March time. Propagation is best done by semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer. It is pretty disease and pest free, rabbits and deer don’t really like eating them!

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ is available in most good garden centres and can be seen in most public gardens and in a lot of private gardens as well

img 1879 Plant of the week: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

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Plant of the week-Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

phyllostachys aureosulcata f spectabilis 1 Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

phyllostachys aureosulcata f spectabilis 3 Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

Well it’s time for another large group of plants I haven’t featured before, bamboos. They are a very useful group of plants as well, even more so at this time of year, as their bright canes help to enhance the winter garden and there is no bamboo that can do this better than Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis.

phyllostachys aureosulcata f spectabilis Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata is also know as the yellow-groove bamboo. It is a native of Zhejiang Province, Eastern China and was introduced in the USA in around 1901. In its native sites, it grows on the edges of woodlands and into woodland glades. Bamboos are normally divided up into clump forming and runners. Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis is a clump forming bamboo and can make a very big plant up to 7m in height and well over 3m wide. Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis has stunning yellow stems, that unlike others in the family, has a green strip in the distinctive groove in the back of the canes, hence the common name. They also sometimes make Zig Zag shape kinks in the canes as well. When the new canes emerge from the ground they are called Colms. With Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis they emerge with a pinkish tinge to them and are quite beautiful indeed. The name Phyllostachys is derived from the Greek phyllon meaning ‘leaf’ and stachys meaning ‘spike’. Aureosulcata is derived from the Latin aurea meaning ‘golden’ and sulcus meaning ‘furrow’.

phyllostachys aureosulcata specabilis 4 Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectablis is a pretty tough bamboo, it will grow in most soils but it does prefer to be in sun or semishade. Even though it is a clump forming bamboo, it still can send out underground stems called rhizomes that help it spread into new areas. It is best to encase the bamboo in a root barrier, leaving enough room for the plant to grow. These clump forming bamboos tend to spread if they run out of food and water, so the best idea to keep them from spreading is to mulch once per year in the spring with garden compost, green waste and ensure that it has enough water during the dry spells. Each cane or colm, grows to its maximum height within 1 year. It is a good idea in each spring to remove a few of the older weaker canes from the clump to keep the clump looking young. It also give the new colms room to grow within the clump. The worse thing you can do is try and control the spread by removing the new canes, this will make the plant want to spread even more as it feels it’s under threat in this space. In the autumn it is also worth removing the lower leaves on the stems up to 5ft to let the stems shine though. Only other maintenance required is cutting back any rhizomes that spread from the plant. It is pretty disease free and is only propagated by dividing up the main clump.

It’s height and size makes it prefect to block off not so pleasant views from the garden so is excellent as either a specimen plant or as a screening plant.

It can be found at Both Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and round RHS Wisley. It can be brought from many Nurseries including The Big Plant Nursery and Burncoose of Southdown.

phyllostachys aureosulcata specabilis Plant of the week Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

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Plant of the week-Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

Well it’s been just about a year since I started Plant of the week and there are so many plants left to feature and some that surprise me I haven’t featured before and hellebores fall into that. It surprises me as I do love love hellebores and this one has become a firm favourite during the past few years since I first saw it.

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero 3 Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

Normally a this stage I would tell you about the plant and where in the world it came from but this hellebore is a cross between H.niger and H.x hybridus. It’s not often these 2 hybridised, indeed it was only the second time it happened. This hybrid was found here in the uk by David Tristram, Walberton Nursery, West Sussex in 2000 but wasn’t released until 2009. It was named for his wife Rosemary. Helleborus niger and helleborus x hybridus hybrids have been hybridised in Japan before but have never really been commercially available until this form was bred. The name helleborus comes from Ancient Greek words, Helen meaning to injure and bora meaning food.

helleborus walbarton rosemary1 2 Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ makes a excellent garden plant. It needs a good fertile soil with some moisture retention, it’s quite happy to grow on most Ph soils as long as it doesn’t dry out or get too waterlogged. But unlike most hellebores, Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ is more happy in light semi shade and full sun than shady spots. Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ starts flowering about now and will flower for a good 4-8 weeks depending on the weather. The flowers themselves are sterile meaning they don’t set seed, the best way to propagate them is by division. This is best carried out in the autumn or after they have finished flowering. Here’s my blog on dividing perennial plants. The wonderful this about hellebores is that deer and rabbits don’t like them at all and will leave them alone. They do suffer from a few other pests as well like hellebore aphids, hellebore Black Death, hellebore leaf miner and hellebore leaf spot. It does seem a lot of problems but they are pretty easy to look after and don’t often suffer with many problems. The only maintenance they need is their old leaves and finished flowers to be removed. More information about how to do that can be found here. It is worth giving them a feed of Vitax Q4 after they have finished flowering and also a good mulch of garden compost or recycled green waste.

Helleborus x hybridus Walberton’s Rosemary ‘Walhero’ can be seen growing well at RHS Wisley as it is here and many other gardens. It can be brought from the great hellebore nursery Ashwood Nurseries and Hardys Cottage Plants

helleborus walbertons rosemary walhero 4 Plant of the week Helleborus x hybridus Walbertons Rosemary Walhero

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Plant of the week- Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’

sarcococca ruscifolia var chinensis dragon gate 3 Plant of the week  Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis Dragon Gate

Umm I must start choosing plants with shorter names for my plant of the week, however the length of the name, each Plant of the week is selected on merit and Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’ is certainly here for that reason!

sarcococca ruscifolia var chinensis dragon gate 2 Plant of the week  Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis Dragon Gate

Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’ is a highly scented winter flowering shrub. It’s flowers can be scented many metres away from the plant and it’s always fun watching people searching for the source of the scent and being shocked when they find it’s coming from this shrub with tiny flowers.

Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’ is a mouthful of a name but Sarcococca comes from the Greek works sarkos meaning flesh and kokkos meaning berry, really after the fleshy berries on the plant. Ruscifolia means Ruscus like leaves and chinensis means Chinese from the country of origin.

sarcococca ruscifolia var chinensis dragon gate Plant of the week  Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis Dragon Gate

This Chinese form of the winter box was discovered by the great Roy Lancaster in 1980, outside a Chinese temple in the Yuccan area of China. This form is a compact form of Sarcococcca, growing to 0.6×0.6m wide shrub after 5yrs. The small but highly scented flowers are borne on the stems often at times, with the red/blue/black berries from last years flowers. These flowers are barely 5-10mm big and are open from mid December through to March time. The dark green glossy leaves are quite small even for a Sarcococco. It will grow quite happily in full sun, partial shade and deep shade. It is happy to grow in most soils as long as it’s not too waterlogged. It is a tough plant that isn’t effected by too many pests, as it’s a member of the Buxus family, it can suffer with box blight which is the worse It’s also pretty deer resistant. Like all Sarcococca, it can be trimmed after flowering to keep a more compact shape. Once it’s finished flowering again I give it a light feed of Vitax Q4.

Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’ is easy to propagate. It’s either done but semi ripe cuttings taken in late summer or by sowing the seeds in early autumn into a free draining compost mix and lightly covered in grit

Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’ can be found in most large botanical gardens like RHS Wisley or Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. It is sold pretty widely by many places like RHSWisley Plant centre but also by trade nurseries like Provender nurseries in Kent

sarcococca ruscifolia var chinensis dragon gate 3 Plant of the week  Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis Dragon Gate

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Plant of the week- Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

cornus alba sibrica ruby 2 Plant of the week  Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

cornus alba sibrica ruby Plant of the week  Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

Ahh another week returns and this plant of the week is surprisingly one of a group of plants that haven’t featured yet, so there’s no time like the present is there!

Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ is as its name suggests is a form that came from Siberia. Cornus alba itself does have a wide range, growing from Siberia into Russia and China. These forms of C.alba also grow in thickets up to 3m tall while ‘Sibirica’ is slightly smaller growing up to 2.4m tall, which is some of the reasons it makes it a good plant for the smaller gardens. This form Ruby was selected from a batch of seedlings for having the most brightest red stems. Sibirica was first introduced into the uk though Westonbirt arboretum in around 1838.

cornus alba sibrica ruby 2 Plant of the week  Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

Cornus alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’ is mainly grown for its bright red stems that give us so much delight during the winter months. If left unpruned, it will make a shrub up to just over 2.4m in height that produces while flowers in May and June which are followed by white flushed with purple fruits. The dark green leaves turn a stunning dark red colour before falling off to expose the red stems.

cornus alba sibirca 4 Plant of the week  Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

Growing wise, it prefers a nice damp soil but will grow away quite happily in alkaline or acidic soils. It prefers a sunny or semi shady spot in your garden. When planting, it is best to add plenty of organic material. It can be left to form a medium sized shrub but if you do this, you lose The intense redness of the stems. To get the best stem colour, you have to prune hard back down to 150mm each spring around the end of March, you can prune the whole plant like this or if you would like flowers, thin out half the plant as per above and leave half, next winter it is these 2yr old stems you cut down and leave the 1yr stems alone. After pruning, I tend to mulch with garden compost and feed with Vitax Q4. It doesn’t suffer from too many pests and diseases. Propagation wise, it is pretty easy to grow from either layering a stem onto the ground or from hardwood cuttings taken in early November and left in a cold frame until the spring

Best place to see it, is indeed RHS Wisley where it can be found near the big pond. Buying wise this form can be a bit tricky! Last in the plant finder in 2015!

cornus alba sibrica ruby 3 Plant of the week  Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

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Plant of the week- Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

hamamelis x intermedia orange peel 6 1 Plant of the week  Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

hamamelis x intermedia orange peel 5 Plant of the week  Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

Yes after a couple of weeks break the plant of the week is back and opening up 2018 with a really special plant indeed and one of my favourites. Hamamelis have been one of my favourite group of plants since I was 18 and caught their scent on a cold January day, then I saw their tiny spider like flowers in such a wide of colours and I was even more hooked, even now 27yrs on, they have never lost their appeal to me.

hamamelis x intermedia orange peel 6 Plant of the week  Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’ isn’t my favourite of all the witch hazels but it’s close too it and one that has such an adapt name! Every time I see I, I imagine Jamie Oliver with a zester, peeling off line thin lines of orange zest. It is a hybrid between H. Japonica and H. Mollis and this particular form was bred by one of the most famous of Hamamelis breeders, a Dutchman named de Belder. Unlike a lot of the hybrids, it does have a stunning spicy scent, thought to be like marmalade by many. As well as great scented flowers, this is also a good form to grow for autumn colour, with its leaves turning a brilliant orange colour during this time. The name Hamamelis comes from the Greek words, Hama means at the same time and Melon meaning apple or fruit, the earlier flowering autumn forms quite often have the fruits on the branches at the same time as the flowers

hamamelis x intermedia orange peel Plant of the week  Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

It grows ideally in a moisture retentive soil that doesn’t dry out or get too wet, it dislikes Both greatly, almost as much as it dislikes thin chalky soils, it will tolerate alkaline soils as long as they are deep and loamy. That said it is well worth growing in a big container as long as it doesn’t dry out. When planting, it is worth adding lots of organic matter into the soil as well as some Vitax Q4 so the plant gets off to the best start it can. Once growing, it requires very little care, some formative shaping and removal of crossing branches etc is all that is required for the plant to reach its maximum size of around 3mx3m. There are no pests or diseases that target this plant apart from the normal ones like aphids etc and to make matters even better it’s pretty deer proof as well.

It can be seen at various gardens but the RHS at Wisley has a cracking specimen that is looking beautiful at the moment. Again it is stocked by a few nurseries with pan global plants being a good place to start

hamamelis x intermedia orange peel 2 Plant of the week  Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Peel’

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Plant of the year in 2017 was………

Well I have done the maths, crunched the numbers and had a recount, yes it was just 1 vote in it, that was all! Before announcing the winner, I would like to thank you all for taking part in this fun vote, there was nearly 1000 votes placed, Thank you all very much!

Right and now the winner of the Plant of the 2017 from the plant of the week is……………..

Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/12/05/plant-of-the-week-betula-albosinensis-bowling-green/

betula albosinensis bowling green 3 Plant of the year in 2017 was.........betula albosinensis bowling green 2 Plant of the year in 2017 was.........

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Plant of the year!

 Plant of the year!

Well it’s nearly the end of the year and I felt it’s an ideal time to vote for your plant if the year from my plant of the week, the vote will be on the most likes and retweets on twitter and Instagram and to make it easier I have listed the most liked and commented one from each month and repost on twitter and Instagram

These are my monthly choices

January winner is Prunus Himalaica https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/01/

February winner is Salix chaenomoloides ‘Mt Aso’ https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/02/24/plant-of-the-week-salix-chaenomeloides-st-aso/

The winner in March is Edgeworthii chrycantha https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/03/02/plant-of-the-week-edgeworthia-chrysantha/

April’s winner is wisteria sinensis https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/04/24/plant-of-the-week-wisteria-sinensis/

Mays winner is Rosa climbing Lady Hillingdon https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/05/26/rose-of-the-week-climbing-lady-hillingdon/

June was the time of the rose so it’s another one Jeanne de Montfort https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/06/09/rose-of-the-week-jeanne-de-montfort/

July was time for herbaceous plants to make a comeback, Centaurea macrocephala https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/07/31/plant-of-the-week-centaurea-macrocephala/

August winner is the very beautiful shrub https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/08/21/plant-of-the-week-calycanthus-x-raulstonii-hartlage-wine/

September winner is fascicularia bicolor https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/09/25/plant-of-the-week-fascicularia-bicolor/

October winner was Cercidiphyllum japonicum f pendulum https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/10/09/plant-of-the-week-cercidiphyllum-japonicum-f-pendulum/

November was Callicarpa bodinieri var Giraldi profusion https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/11/06/plant-of-the-week-callicarpa-bodinieri-var-giraldii-profusion/

Decembers winner was Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’ https://thomasdstone.blog/2017/12/05/plant-of-the-week-betula-albosinensis-bowling-green/

So there you have the full list, if you are not on twitter, please add your vote below and I shall announce the winner on New Years Day

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Plant of the week- Luma apiculata

luma apiculata 2 Plant of the week  Luma apiculata

luma apiculata Plant of the week  Luma apiculata

This weeks Plant of the week is again one of those most beautiful of plants that isn’t sadly widely grown here in the uk but it has so much to offer us.

Luma apiculata is a native of South America, mainly around the Andes mountain range that encompasses Chile and Argentina. In its native counties, it mainly grows in temperate forests like Valdivana in Chile and Los Arrayanes National Park in Argentina, where there is a complete forest of Luma. Although it is from these areas, it is completely hardy in most parts of the uk, although it will struggle in the colder areas. It is one of the taller members of the Myrtle family, reaching 10-15m in its native areas but a lot smaller here in the uk making it an ideal tree for a small garden. It has also naturalised in some parts of The uk, mainly in the west and also in parts of Ireland as well as some parts of the USA.

luma apiculata 2 Plant of the week  Luma apiculata

It is mainly grown for its stunning cinnamon and cream coloured bark that really shines out during the winter months but the summer borne flowers are also highly fragrant and well worth growing for the scent alone. The honey produced by the bees from luma, is very much sort after. An edible black/blue berry about 1cm across then follows the flowers. The leaves themselves are quite small and delicate around 2x1cm in size, a lovely dark brown colour and like most other members of the Myrtle family, have a slight scent to them. It is also happy to grow on all types of soil including clay and chalk as long as it is free draining but also doesn’t dry out too much. It is pretty easy going without any major pest and diseases and requires very little pruning other than removing dead wood and crossing wood. It does make a good bonsai subject and is on my want list for pruning in the Japanese Niwaki style. It is quite easily propagated by either sowing seed or taking hard wood cuttings of it at this time of year.

There is another form available called ‘Glanleam Gold’ which is a delightful variegated version and is a little more widely sold.

It can be seen again at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and can be brought from my reliable sources at Pan Global Plants and Botanica

luma apiculata 4 Plant of the week  Luma apiculata

2YnoBk1500924993 Plant of the week  Luma apiculata
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Plant of the week- Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

vinca difformis jenny pym 2 Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

vinca difformis jenny pym 4 Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

The plant of the week this week is from a group of Plants I am not too keen on, I just find most of the vincas a bit too, well something of nothing, yes they provide good groundcover in the case of V.minor but what on earth does V.major do? So yes I was hard on this group of Plants until I saw this one in flower a few weeks ago! And Jenny Pym changed my views of this plant in a few seconds, Why you may ask, Just look at the flower! How stunning is that! It’s amazing you can change your view of Plants by just seeing one particular good form.

vinca difformis jenny pym Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

Vinca difformis or the intermediate periwinkle as it is more commonly know as, is a native of Southern Europe, countries like Italy, Sardinia and Iberia where it is found growing in damp woodland areas. As it comes from the more warm parts of Europe, it’s thought to be semi tender in some parts of the uk with the Hilliers manual of trees and shrubs stating it may become herbaceous in more colder areas with the plant dying to the ground and coming back in the spring. however it’s certainly doing well in most areas without any real damage to the plant. It does prefer a shady spot in the garden but will quite happily grow in some sun as well, it does take most soils rather well, apart from very water logged soils. Like all vincas (depending on view of thought!) it makes very good groundcover, producing a dense growth up to around 30cm tall and spread can be about 60cm+ over time, something that makes it great ground cover. Growth wise, unlike other forms of Vinca, difformis puts on 2 forms of growth, a long arching form for growth and spreading about and a shorter growth of about 30cm which is from where the beautiful flowers are borne. It starts it’s main flowering in October but keeps on flowering right up to February/March but also will throw out flowers all year around. The name Vinca comes from Ancient Greek word Vinco meaning to bind, whether that’s the roots binding the soil together or the stems being used to tie things together, no one is sure which one it is, same with difformis, some thinking it means the odd shape of the flowers, other schools of thought, think it’s the 2 different types of growth from where the name comes from. Not managed to find out where the name Jenny Pym came from… anyone out there who can advise me

vinca difformis jenny pym 2 Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’

Planting is simple, plant into a well prepared bed, I now prefer to fork the bed over removing all weeds as possible and then add a planting mulch of composted green waste on top, nice square hole with a handful of Vitax Q4 added and that’s it. For good groundcover, try and plant about 6 of these per m2. They don’t need too much aftercare, trimming to shape in early summer if needed, reducing the long stems if they start becoming a problem. If it starts spreading too much a sharp spade is all that’s needed to reshape it, cut around the shape you require, leave the middle bit and carefully remove the rest using a fork. Pest wise, not much causes it problems, deer and rabbit proof.

You can but this plant from Dorset Perennials and Botanica. It can be found growing in many different gardens including Sir Harold Hillier Gardens where it can be found in the winter garden

2YnoBk1500924993 Plant of the week  Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’
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Plant of the week- Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

betula albosinensis bowling green 3 Plant of the week  Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

betula albosinensis bowling green 3 Plant of the week  Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

This is the first time I have featured a family of Plants twice in the plant of the week but as it is the Betula I hope you will all let me off! At this time of year, bark effect is coming to the forefront. As the leaves unveil the delights they have hidden away for the summer months, the stems, seemingly polished, appear from underneath. Their stems shine out on all our winters days, from those wet, dull horrid days when they seemly glow in the dark, shining out like lighthouses in the fog to the crisp sunny ones there they shine like polished metal in the sun.

betula albosinensis bowling green 2 Plant of the week  Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

This tree is not native to the uk, indeed as the sinensis part of the name suggests, it is native to Western China where it grows between 1000-4400m above sea level in the temperate broadleaved forests. The Chinese red birch was first of all described from material collected by the French missionary Père Farges in 1899. It wasn’t introduced into Europe until one of the greatest plant hunters of all time, Ernest Wilson collected the seed and sent it back in 1901. His plant trips were sponsored by nurseries and also wealthy landowners, who would have a share of the seeds of plants collected on the trip and indeed the owners of Werrington Park in Cornwall, did just that and many years later, this form called Bowling Green was introduced. That tree grew to almost champion size and was also worthily of the great WJ Bean to include it in his great reference books ‘Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles’. A few of you may also recognise the plant featured in this blog as the one on the front cover o the Hilliers Guide to tress and shrubs.

What makes Betula albosinensis so special is the colour of its bark, while most other birches are a mix of white, this one is a mix of pinks, bright orange and red, indeed into brown with a slight hint of cream, these different colours really do shine out in the winter light. In Latin, albo means white and it’s always confusing with this tree as nothing appears white apart from the sheets of thin bark has a whitish glaucous bloom underneath. It makes a smallish tree up to 10m in height and 6m wide. The leaves are a dark green colour on top and have a slight greyish underside, they turn a lovely yellow colour in the autumn. The catkins, borne in April are quite stunning and can reach about 10cm in length.

betula albosinensis bowling green Plant of the week  Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

It can take most soils types from chalk to clay and unlike other forms of birches, it doesn’t mind drying out a little during the summer. When planting a young tree, it’s well worth adding lots of good well rotten compost with both mycorrhizal rubbed into the roots and Vitax Q4 fertiliser around the planting hole. It requires very little pruning just a little shaping. Pest wise, the worse one is the damn sawfly, who’s horrid little caterpillar will strip the tree of all the leaves within days, so watch out for it!

Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green, can be brought from PanGlobalPlants and BlueBell Nurseries. Gardenwise, I have only seen it at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens but would also think it would be at Wakehurst As part of the National Collection of Birch that currently grow there.

2YnoBk1500924993 Plant of the week  Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’
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Plant of the week-Miscanthus nepalensis

miscanthus nepelaensis 2 Plant of the week Miscanthus nepalensis

For this weeks Plant of the week, I have gone for a group of Plants I have been rather neglectful on, the grasses. This isn’t for any real reason, just there’s so many beautiful plants to feature, I haven’t got around to featuring one!

miscanthus nepalensis 1 Plant of the week Miscanthus nepalensis

Miscanthus nepalensis is indeed a hidden jewel amongst Miscanthus, it’s height at 1.2m means it can happily fit into most gardens no matter of the size but its the delicate fine looking flowering plumes and then seed heads that makes this one stand out from other grasses. It’s common name of the Himalaya fairy grass just says it all doesn’t. The name miscanthus comes from the greek miskos meaning stem and anthos meaning flowering. As the second part of the name suggests, it is indeed a native of the Himalayas and into Burma, where it grows in the sub Himalayan grasslands. It can be slightly tender in some areas but like a lot of tender plants, it doesn’t like to be sat in winter wet. Growing wise, it likes to be in a sunny site in a fairly fertile free draining soil. It is indeed very tolerant of drought and indeed is pretty deer and rabbit resistant. In some parts of New Zealand and parts of the USA, it has become a problem plant but there’s no case of this happening in the uk.

miscanthus nepelaensis 2 Plant of the week Miscanthus nepalensis

It is very easy to look after, just needs to be cut back in around March just before the new growths start appearing at the base. It can be raised from seed and that’s best sown in a cold frame in March, it can also be divided up at the same time as you cut it back.

It can be found growing in many gardens and public places around the uk, I saw this at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

Nurserywise, it’s not sold widespread but there are quite a few supplies including Knoll Gardens and Edulis