Posted on

Underplanting roses- part 2, a few idea

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

In last weeks post, (just here in case you missed it I spent a bit of time going though the ideas behind underplanting roses and it’s advantages, this week I shall be be looking at a range of under planting that will suit a wide range of roses and of course their different colour flowers. This list isn’t meant to be a bible but just a mere stepping stone into the future path of plant discovery. Now this blog could cover a few hundred plants but I shall keep it short at around 12 Plants just to give you a few ideas to get things started

Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’

img 4974 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Now I could go on about the history of this Hardy Geranium and how it’s not the real form but let’s leave that to another blog, Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’ tends to flower just the once mainly but it can repeat a couple of times during the summer months. It’s light blue stripped flowers do tend to suit single coloured roses, either in pastel colours or it can just about get away with the darker reds too

Eryngium giganteum

img 6694 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

is much better known as Miss Willmott’s ghost. This biannual appeared the year after Miss Ellen Willmott visited a garden as she had a habit of spreading the seed in a garden during her visits. This is one of the most useful silver plants to have in the garden, it just works with any colour and almost any Rose! It is very good at self seeding itself all around the garden but it is easily removed if it’s in the wrong place. As it is a biannual, it will just form a rosette of leaves in the first year and then flower and die in the next.

Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora

img 5112 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Another biannual is the beautiful Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora or the pure white foxglove. This plant gives you so much height within the border and is important mixed in with the shrub roses and their range of pinks and reds. These towers of white help to give the border some height and purity to the border. One word of warning, if you want just the pure white forms be certain to remove any with any hint of purple!

Sisyrinchium striatum

012 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This is a odd looking plant with iris like leaves and dainty light yellow flowers followed by black seedheads. It’s colour and strap like leaves makes it a good plant to mix in with roses of a wide range of colours,from white to dark red. As well as working with a wide colour range, it works well with a wide range of heights, again with roses ranging in height from 45cm to 2m. It does selfseed a little but is easily replanted into the correct place

Campanula latiloba

img 6699 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

This delightful campanula comes in a few different colours, Hidcote Amethyst is a amethyst colour, the main form is blue and the white form called alba is also a very good plant to use and it will cover a wide range of roses. It will also flower for May weeks from May into August depending on the year and weather

Anchusa azurea

bed09ab2005 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The Italian bugloss as it is more commonly called is a bright blue perennial that will repeat flower during the year. This blue colour works again with so many colour forms of roses. It has hairy leaves that may cause a rash on some people ie me! It grows to 50cm in height and can be cut down after flowering to encourage more to come through.

Dianthus old garden hybrids

img 4141 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

These small plants add more to the roses than just their beautiful range of pink flowers that fill the air with a clove like scent. They also bring a great shade of grey needle like foliage to the party. Their small size makes them ideal for planting around the edges of the roses and through smaller roses. They also do a great job at the front of the borders by helping to hide the bottoms of the shrub roses, which can be a little unsightly but don’t tell them please

Geranium psilostemon

img 5058 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Geranium psilostemon needs a little more careful partnering although used correctly it can really uplift the surrounding roses. It’s difficulty comes from the colour and the height, it surprisingly works well with a range of pinks and white flowers just the sheer brightness can at times over power the surrounding plants. The other thing to watch out for is the height, it can grow to 1.2m which can over power a lot of roses, so again it needs bearing in mind when using

Penstemon ‘Pensham Wedding Day’

img 5124 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

Penstemons are great plants to have in the garden anyway but they make great additions to the Rose beds. As they repeat flower throughout the summer, they make great companions to repeat flowering roses and this white form suites pink and red flowering roses.

Penstemon ‘Hidcote Purple’

penostemon hidcote purple Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

While the purple form of Penstemon Hidcote Purple works so well with white and pale coloured roses, again it’s repeat flowering helps to bring colour to the borders even after the roses have finished flowering

Tanacetum parthenium ‘Flore Pleno’

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

The double flowered version of feverfew is one of the most underrated plants we grow in the garden, this double version just flowers all summer long with attractive lime greenish foliage again really helps to set off the darker greens of the roses and other plants. The flowers are like tiny buttons and are quite delightful. It does self seed a little but that’s what friends and plant sales are for. It does have one advantage of attracting aphids to them and away from the roses. Works with a wide range of rose colours, indeed not many colour flowers it doesn’t work with

Cotinus coggygria

img 1106 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

We all need a little bit of purple foliage in the garden don’t we and Cotinus is the best at this. It is indeed a large shrub that is ideally suited for the bigger garden but it can be kept coppiced back each year to form these larger purple leaves and I have found a light prune in July keeps them down a little in size and helps to bulk up the size of the plant. Works well with a wide range of rose flowers.

This is just a small drop in the ocean of what you could do, the only thing that should stop is time and cost. Don’t be afraid of trying things that may sound silly like using Dahlias and other half Hardy Plants, they can and do work, it’s just getting the right combination. So please give it a go and enjoy growing roses in a way that enhances all the plants in your garden.

Posted on

Plant of the week- Sophora ‘Sun King’

sophera sunking 4 Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’

sophera sunking 2 Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’This weeks plant of the week is one that just seems to flower for months and months although I feel it’s March and into April when they really are their best. It is certainly one of my favourite plants since i moment I saw it growing in Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, down near the pond, indeed it was the original plant that was introduced by Hillier Nurseries.

This original plant of Sophora ‘Sun King’ came from some seed Nothofagus seed sent to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens from Chile. When the Nothofagus germinated it was found to have an interloper amongst them, this grew into a very beautiful shrub indeed, flowering some years later. It was thought to be a form of S.microphylla although it is now thought to of been a hybrid. It was introduced by Hilliers in the late 1990’s after it had done so well at the gardens surviving many cold winters and it is indeed still growing away strong to this day, my photos are of that particular plant!

sophera sunking Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’There is a lot of rubbish spoken about Sophora ‘Sun King’ about its height and soil dislikes. It does only get to a maximum size of about 3m in height and width as a few standing shrub, trained as a wall shrub it is able to get a little taller, up to 4m in height but no where near the 8m I have seen written down. Soil wise, Sophora ‘Sun King’ will take most soils from shallow chalk to clay, (yes even read it dislikes clay, the original plant is on solid london clay!) as long as it isn’t waterlogged. Again it will take most aspects although if the garden is particularly cold, a slightly more sheltered spot is better. It flowers much better if it is in a sheltered spot. Sophora ‘Sun King’ starts producing its yellow pea like flowers after its around 8yrs old and these start appearing in January and will continue flowering well into May some years. In Chile, the flowers of Sophora sp are mainly propagated by hummingbirds but here in the uk, it’s the bees that help the process. These flowers are offset by the stunning dark green foliage with up to 40 leaflets are used to form each leaf. It is evergreen but in a very hard winter, it will drop its leaves. The Name Sophora comes from Arabic meaning a small tree with pea like flowers. Sun King is partly in homage to its Chilean roots as well as the colour of the flowers.

sophera sunking 4 Plant of the week  Sophora ‘Sun King’Sophora ‘Sun King’ has very few pests and diseases that attack it apart from the usual slugs and snails when young. Like all plants, it would benefit from a feed of Vitax Q4 in the spring as well as a compost mulch to help increase the health of the surrounding soil. Sophora ‘Sun King’ is propagated by grafting on to a rootstock of Sophora microphylla in the late winter early spring. It is very difficult to propagate from cuttings although I have heard of people succeeding using Air layering methods.

Sophora ‘Sun King’ is now widely available from most nurseries and is seen in most big gardens like RHS Wisley but it’s Sir Harold Hillier Gardens where the original plant is still growing strong

Posted on

Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

2015k Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

There’s so many titles I could use instead of underplanting roses, mutual enhancing planting could be one or companion planting could be another but that said it could also be just mixed border planting with roses as the main shrubs. This style isn’t new, it was started but the great Irish gardener William Robinson, who loved the English Cottage garden style, picked up by the great Gertrude Jekyll but it was the Graham Stuart Thomas that really brought this style to modern British gardens, Graham was influenced by Gertrude and William and used the walled gardens at Mottisfont to produce his finest works helped as all great artists are, by a talented young (at the time) head gardener called David Stone. These gardens do show what can be achieved by careful planing over time. Now I will get one thing straight, this blog is about how to achieve the effect, the benefits of it and how to manage the feeding of the soil. I could spend ages listing plants that go well with certain roses but that may not be your tastes and not work well in your garden.

011 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

So why firstly go to the trouble of mixing it all up, why not just have rose beds? Very good question just need to try and answer it. Personally I am not a fan of monoculture or growing one thing in a large bed on its own, I feel it doesn’t look right for me personally but there’s other more detailed reasons other than my personal options. Mixing up the planting helps to bring in different foliage and flower shapes that help to break up the roundness of the rose flowers and shapes. These can add spikes, bells, indeed any form and shape to the pattern of the Rose and help to enhance both. Even larger flowered plants like peonies can be used with great effect with the roses. The key to whatever flower you are using is to differ from the rose in some way whether it’s size, shape or colour. Going back to the peonies for a minute, a large single Peonia works well with a semi double or a double roses as the simple ness of the peonia makes up for the complexity of the Rose and vice verse. Same with colour, matching the colours is the most important side, img 6694 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsusing sliver foliage thoughout the bed helps to enhance most Rose flower colours but using darker coloured foliage doesn’t enhance as wide a colour spectrum. It takes time to learn what colours work well together with the roses and other underplanting and the best way is to workout what works with you in your settings, personal taste and soil type. Same again with the heights, a lot of the roses tend to grow to certain heights, Bush roses are around 2-3ft in height and shrub roses are around 3-5ft in height so it’s being careful not to have plants that are too powerful growers to take over the roses and of course vice versa.

img 1104 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsI have seen it done with Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ used as a mass underplanting of Rosa Rugosa ‘Hansa’. The ideal was beautiful, a massive of slivery blue under the darkish red of the rose but it failed as the Nepeta form was just too strong and powerful for the roses. A much smaller form like N.fassinni would of worked well. And also with Geranium macrophyllum used as an underplanting on Bush roses, once established, there was about 10cm difference in height between the two and it looked wrong, changed it to Geranium x cantbridgense hybrids and it worked well, with this form much more smaller growing. It is a tricky job to match them up but the results can be well worth it and once you start to get your eye in, you can start evaluating most of other plants on how they will work well with roses. They can then be planted up and trailed, it works well that’s good, if not well, starting again can be the fun part. It’s also working out what will work well with your soil and local conditions as well.

bed d 05b Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsOf course it’s not just getting both the underplanting and roses flowering at the same time, underplanting can be used to extend to seasons of interest from much before the roses open and to well after they have finished, using plants like spring bulbs like tulips, alliums, asters (in the various new names of course) clematis and of course topiary! Adding plants like dahlias and late flowering salvias can be done as a more modern twist in the borders. Plants like Helleborus argufoloius, flower early in the year but the foliage adds something to the borders during the summer months too. Again it’s just a case of playing with plants and see if it works. I have found the helleborus x hybridus forms difficult to add to roses, until I tried them with Rosa rugosa hybrids and found they worked well with the different foliage of the rugosa.

img 5123 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsunderplanting roses can also do so much more than just enhancing the roses, it can also help the health of the roses. How? Well in various different ways, take Blackspot for an example, the spores from the fungus are transported from the infected rose by water droplets. These hit the rose, pickup the fugal spores, splash down onto the ground and then up onto the next rose, infecting that one as well. Underplanting slows down the droplet speed once it’s hit the rose and cushions the fall of the water onto the ground, reducing the splash effect and other plants then also stop this splash from hitting the next rose. Powdery mildew is spread by wind, catching hold of the spores and spreading it to the next rose, underplanting between the roses, adds another small barrier to help reduce this spread.

img 0975 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsThen there’s the insect pests like aphids, just as in organic growing, a sacrificial plant can be grown to attract them to it and then this plant will attract in aphid eating machines like ladybird larvae to feast on them. Growing a wide range of flowers will also attract in a wide range of beneficial insects like hover-flies that again will feed on the any pests around, the seedpods left late until the season attract in birds to feed on them, these birds normally come in large mixed flocks and they will also look for insects hidden on the roses.

2006c Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itshow to feed the roses is one of the big questions I am normally asked in concern with underplanting roses. The answer is a little more complex, I don’t believe in feeding just for one plant, I believe we should be feeding the soil and producing a heathy soil, one that can support a wide range of plants easily. Once the soil is healthy, the plants growing will be stronger and more able to fight diseases and pests. So I tend to add a fairly organic fertiliser to the soil in early spring, covering the whole area not just around the plants and then mulch with a garden compost or composted green waste. This I find is enough to keep both the roses and underplanting happy.

img 1091 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind itsIn all mixing up the planting with roses is indeed hard work but it is a way of growing them that is both pleasing to the eye and one that does have good health benefits for the roses too.

In the next part, I shall have a closer look at some of the underplanting that can be the most overall use for underplanting through roses, it won’t be a complete list but just some of the ideas of combinations to try

global blogging feature Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its
Posted on

Plant of the week- Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

camellia x williamsii j c williams 2 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

camellia x williamsii j c williams Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’One of the sure signs of spring to me has to be the camellias opening up. I know that their are forms like C. sansanqua types, like the one I featured late last year. But those just start the Camellia season and it’s not until the main flowering groups like C.japonica, C.retectulata and of course the C.x williamsii hybrids start flowering in their droves I feel that winter is on its way out.

Camellia x williamsii are a cross between Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. This hybridisation was done on purpose by the great plantsmen J C Williams and Col. Stephenson Clarke at Borde Hill Gardens. It was John Charles Williams who made the first cross in 1923 down in his great garden in Cornwall called Caerhays. The Williams family supported many plant hunting trips by some of our greatest plant hunters and some of the wonders grow quite happy in this real plantsperson garden. The magnolias are of particular note, with some of the very best cambellii trees in the uk. It was indeed at the walls of Caerhays, Camellia saluenensis flowered for the first time in the uk and was crossed soon after by J C Williams to form the Camellia x williamsii hybrids. Indeed from the first batch of seedlings, Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ was selected and named.

camellia x williamsii j c williams 3 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ starts the odd flower from the end of November and it can flower right up to the end of March but I feel in February it is at its best. It’s single flowers range from light pink to a dark pink, are highlighted by the dark green foliage. Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is also one of the best hybrids to grow on a wall, preferably one that does get a little shade. Over time Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can make a shrub up to 5m high and 3m across but if you don’t have the space, they can be lightly pruned after flowering. If it does get too big, camellias can be reduced down to stumps if required.

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is like all other Camellias in the the fact it does grow best in lime free soil, ideally one that hold moisture well but is also free draining. It is effected by few pests, scale insects are the worse, they live under the leaves and drop their honeydew poo onto the leaves below, Black sooty mould then grows on this, making the plant look unsightly. It is also pretty resistant to Honey Fungus so maybe worth adding to a spot where the existing plant has been killed off by the disease.

camellia x williamsii j c williams 2 Plant of the week  Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ is also pretty easy to grow, a yearly feed of Vitax Q4 and a mulch of well rotted compost just after it has finished flowering would be ideal. As would watering if we get a dry spell in mid-late summer as this is when the flowering buds are formed. Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can be easy propagated by heal cuttings in late summer. These are short lengths of newish growth, ideally a couple of years old, pulled gently off a cut branch so some of the existing branch is still there and gives it a heal. These cuttings are best given a little bit of heat in a propagator and should start to grow away before the winter months.

Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ can be seen in most large gardens that have a good Camellia collection like RHS Wisley and is quite widely sold. Burncoose of Southdown, in Cornwall are still owed by a branch of the Williams family and it’s well worth ordering one from there

<div align=”center”><a href=”” rel=”nofollow” title=”Monday Stumble Linky”><img src=”” alt=”Monday Stumble Linky” style=”border: none;” /></a></div>

Posted on

Six on Saturday 24-02-2018

img 2176 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

I do not believe it!!! A totally dry week here in Hampshire, one that’s flown by but still a totally dry week and what a difference seeing the sun has made. The soil is slowly drying out, as are all my work clothes and nature is springing into life so much quicker. The daffodils that line the roads near my house are showing more and more colour now, the cherry tree buds are swelling and wherever you go, new fresh leaves are slowing pushing out of their buds. Downside is that I did my first lawn mow this week, looked beautiful afterwards but I still hate mowing!

My six this week are of my garden, mainly as I fear my dear readers are getting a little bored of my humble patch. I am also away this weekend so please excuse the lack of responses, I will as ever respond in the end, I just maybe a little slower than normal!

So without any more playing around I give you (drum roll please) my six on Saturday!

img 2188 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

Yes my daughters Venus fly plant is now flowering! The flowers aren’t that massive just the camera angle but still quite beautiful, never seen one flower before, I am guessing it will die after flowering but I maybe wrong

img 2177 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

Started my rose pruning at home as well, got all the ones I wanted pruned and looking smart for the new year

img 2176 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

Iris Rhapsody has just started flowering, it’s the last of my regticulata types to flower for me at home. I have fallen for these and I think my collection maybe growing even more next year!

img 2131 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018img 2130 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018img 2128 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018img 2129 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

The playhouse is done!!!!! Well apart from the roof but that’s a job for a few weeks time, all the inside is done and ready for the kids to enjoy

img 2175 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

Yes at last all my paper white narcissus are opening and the scent is a delight to the senses, really enjoying having them in the garden

img 2197 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

img 2199 1 Six on Saturday 24 02 2018

Ok this isn’t my garden or a clients garden although I did find this carpet of snowdrops while off to look at a job, I am hoping the the stunningness of the pic will allow Jon to forgive me!

hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

Posted on

Winter at Ellicar Gardens

img 4161 1 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

I saw Ellicar Gardens for the first time like many people, on Gardeners World, when the great Adam Frost took a look around the 5 acre garden with the owner Garden Designer Sarah Murch.

img 0673 Winter at Ellicar GardensThis was in the summer, when the natural swimming pool was looking stunning and the borders surrounding it again looked so beautiful with swaths of Iris in full flower just like Sarah’s photo above. Bearing this in mind I took up an offer to see the gardens after Hodsock on a cold, drizzly dank February afternoon. But what I found brighten up the darkness and really was a delight to visit.

img 4188 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

The gardens themselves are were started in 2008 by Will and Sarah Murch after they moved into this old farmhouse, that had been used for many years as a children’s home. After sorting out the house, they started on the garden. This was just an open field when they first started and everything you see is planting’s that they have done since then.

img 4158 Winter at Ellicar GardensThe Gardens are still developing today, with new borders being added this year. As the picture above shows the outlines of them

img 4186 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4164 Winter at Ellicar GardensAmazingly the whole garden and small holding with pigs, goats, sheep, horses and the new Llama are managed just by Sarah and Will with one person who comes in and mows the grass and does the edges. Both work full time but still manage to look after this stunning garden to a high standard. They add that magical ingredient to a garden and that is love, you can tell that Sarah loves the garden and the wildlife it attracts and this love of them both is what makes it so special as the garden is managed for both and the way they work together is a real delight and I haven’t seen a garden so in tune with the needs of both humans and wildlife, it was really inspiring.

img 4153 Winter at Ellicar GardensPlants like the iris Siberica are left with their old leaves on to provide protection for the amphibians and small mammals for the winter months, this also has the effect of helping to keep down the weeds in the borders.

img 4134 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4156 Winter at Ellicar GardensThe seed heads of plants stay on again to feed the birds, the flocks of goldfinches and chattering of sparrows was so lovely to here as we wondered around.

img 4141 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4152 Winter at Ellicar GardensAnd course the main attraction for both humans and wildlife is of course the natural swimming pool. This pool hasn’t had any chemicals added too it and it is there for both humans and wildlife to enjoy, Sarah told us about swimming with dragonflies and grass snakes with the odd kingfisher dropping it whilst they are enjoying the pool. The pool also attracts bats with 9 species recorded in the garden, again thanks to the pool. It just fits in so well with the garden and feels part of the landscape unlike other swimming pools that feel alien to its surroundings.

img 4161 1 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4160 1 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4151 1 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4132 Winter at Ellicar GardensWalking around the garden, there were so many lovely views, with the stems of the grasses still looking stately and the use of plants with coloured stems like willow and dogwoods really lit up the views. The pines and conifers that are mixed into the garden, just added that touch of green to intensify the other colours

The whole garden is planted up with some stunning plants, space denotes that I can only show a few so here’s

img 4146 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

Salix gracillstyla ‘Melanostachys’

img 4176 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

Acer capillipes

img 4159 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

Pinus patula

img 4181 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4175 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4170 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

The garden to the north of the house is planted up more as the winter garden and it is full of winter gems, many different forms of dogwoods, hellebores and snowdrops and looked stunning when we visited. It was full of form, texture and colour and very well designed

img 4130 Winter at Ellicar Gardensimg 4196 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

The one thing you see around the garden are plants put to artistic use by Sarah, with roses trained into shapes, held in place by willow and willow woven into dens and living fences.

img 4195 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

I had to finish in the eduction section and the fun way things have been recycled!

In all I throughly enjoyed my visit to the garden and it’s a garden I can recommend you to visit at anytime of the year. It’s not just a beautiful garden but it is one that managed for the wildlife as well. And that is been achieved by careful and thoughtful management of the garden, better than I have seen before in any garden. Sarah and Will’s life ethos shines though in all areas of the garden and their love and pride of what they have achieved in 10yrs again is clear to see and rightly so! it shows off that the two aspects of gardening for nature and as a well designed beautiful gardens can be achieved hand in hand. It’s a garden I shall certainly be going back to see again at sometime and see it in its summer glory after seeing it look so beautiful on a damp February day!

It is open this Sunday, the 25th of February for Nottinghamshire NGS. Then the gardens will be open from June 8th onwards, Fridays in June, July, September and October and there will be a natural pool open day in mid June, date to be confirmed. The tea rooms and plant courtyard will be open at the same time.

More information about how to get there and about the garden can be found at with the full address Carr Road, Gringley on the Hill,Doncaster, DN10 4SN

Here’s a few summer pics from Sarah to attract you to visit the garden in the summer months as well

img 0674 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

img 0675 Winter at Ellicar Gardens

Posted on

Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

img 4029 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

Though my blogging, I sometimes get invited to some special open days and it was a lovely surprise to be invited up to Nottinghamshire to visit the place that really ignited the winter opening of gardens for snowdrops, Hodsock priory. They have been opening for snowdrops here since 1991 and currently welcomes over 20,000 people to enjoy the 4 million snowdrops on this privately owned 800 acre family estate. It has been in the safe keeping of the Buchanan family for over 200yrs, with Sir Andrew Buchanan handing the management reigns over to George Buchanan in 2006.

img 4045 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

George Buchanan looking over the parkland

The snowdrops themselves grow in two main areas of the estate namely the garden that is 5 acres and the 12 acre Horsepasture Wood.

Horsepasture Wood is well over 400yrs old with some stunning 400yr old oaks and great beech’s trees mixed it. It is within this setting the snowdrops really carpet the woodland floor, followed by the slowly emerging bluebells, set in amongst the woods are some great tree stumps, used architectural within the settings, making a great back drop for the snowdrops. There is also an open fire, where everyday when the garden is open for the snowdrops, George meets people at 2pm and explains the estate and family history. As for the carpet of snowdrops, words in any form can not give justice to the spectacular display, so I won’t even both and let the photos do the talking

img 4027 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The walk into the woods

img 4029 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4032 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4042 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4043 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4053 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

img 4035 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The great warming fire! I think every garden should have one!

Over the past years they have moved the snowdrops from the fringe areas of the woodland into the middle areas where they can be enjoyed. This superb setting if the back drop for an outdoor theatre group, The Whispering wood Folk preforming the Snowdrop Queen over the 16th-18th of February.

The walk though to the main garden area from Horsepasture Wood is a walk of pleasure as you are flanked by sweet smelling Winter Honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima.

img 4125 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The main gardens are set in about 5 acres of land surrounding the main house, the use of water has been cleverly done so it reflects views of the house and garden. On your way into the main garden you follow this delightful stream, flanked with winter colour, provided by of course snowdrops, dogwoods and Salix all playing a part too.

img 4123 Snowdrops of Hodsock Prioryimg 4122 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The main pond used to be part of the old mote in past times and on a still day catches the house perfectly

img 4073 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The scent of winter catches you as you wander around the gardens with Sarcococca and Hamamelis providing the overtures. The garden is home to lots of other spring flowering plants like Iris reticulata, winter aconites, cyclamen, crocus and of course the Snowdrops! They have over 17 different forms of snowdrops in the garden including Lady Beatrix Stanley who happened to be Sir Andrews grandmother!  Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

img 4075 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

There’s also a huge fan of snowdrops in the main lawn, that sadly wasn’t out fully but will look amazing when it is!

img 4089 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The site of one of the old glasshouses was used to great effect,

img 4094 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The formal parterre area has standard roses planted in there

img 4086 Snowdrops of Hodsock Priory

The gardens themselves are indeed full of little horticultural gems and the whole garden is a delight! It’s surprising to hear the main gardens and Horsepasture Wood are managed with just 6 part time workers including Sir Andrew and Lady Belinda. George did say this may change this year as 4 of them maybe retiring.

The gardens are a true delight of Nottinghamshire, they have a real family feel about them and it’s clear Sir Andrew and George Buchanan care deeply about the estate and its long term survival, long term plans include extending the woodland, producing cricket bat willow for production of cricket bats and expanding the wedding venue experience. This family pride really shines though on the estate and for me the 31/2hr journey seemed well worth it to see somewhere so special.

Hodsock priory is open for the snowdrops every day 10am-4pm until the 4th of March with the Whispering Woodfolk preforming this 16th-18th of February. There is also a couple of excellent eating points, the large heated marquee that produces rather excellent bacon rolls and another watery in the woods near the wood fire. Adults cost £5.00 and Children £1. Theres a £2.50 surcharge for the evening performance of the Snowdrop Queen.

For more information please see their website which is

Posted on

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’

<div align=”center”><a href=”” rel=”nofollow” title=”Monday Stumble Linky”><img src=”” alt=”Monday Stumble Linky” style=”border: none;” /></a></div>

Posted on

Six on Saturday 10-02-2018

img 2031 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

Well that was more like it! A cold week with plenty of frosty mornings. It’s wonderful seeing the plants covered in a fine dusting of frozen tiny water particles, adding a glittery shine to all that is touched. It is so nice also seeing the big round yellow think up in the sky, it just seems to turn the day around lifting not only our spirts but those of the wildlife we share the garden with. My highlight of the week was watching a red kite flying low over a field with a Kesteral in the forefront and 3 buzzards circling behind. Times like that, I find I have to just stop what I am doing and watch nature happening in front of me. This closeness with nature is one reason I just love what I do

Anyway moving back to topic and that’s of course 6 on Saturday and for the 3rd week in a row, it comes from my little patch in Hampshire. Not too sure how I managed it but I did!

img 2029 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

Let’s start with a Heuchura and their beautiful foliage, they can really add a depth of colour and interest into the garden at any time of the year but even more so now, I love some of the names as well, this ones called Sugar frosting. Just look at that shade of purple underneath the leaves, just stunning purely stunning

img 2015 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

So pleased with this galanthus called Spindlestone surprise, it’s really bulked up well in the pot and I am enjoying the 4 flowers I have, hoping to get a few more soon!

img 2019 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

One of the first ones I brought a couple of years ago called Chedworth, makes a fine specimen in a pot, one of my little jobs this weekend is to feed them all with liquid seaweed to give them a boast, also tempted to repot a few of the ones that have finished flowering adding a bit of blood, fish and bonemeal to them

img 2031 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

A little dwarf iris now one called iris danfordiae, it’s a lovely little scented plant on the verge of flowering! It belongs to the iris reticulata group (although I have heard horror stories they are not iris any more but Iridodyctium, but let’s only say that name after the 9pm watershed Mark!) Whatever the name, it’s still just lovely

img 2027 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

And now for a dwarf evergreen shrub that is way underrated, it’s tough, it’s beautiful, it’s Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’! This shade loving shrub can be pruned and shaped but it’s the stunning leaves and stems that turn bright red in the cold winter that sets it apart from many other shrubs, hard to find but well worth it

img 2035 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018img 2034 Six on Saturday 10 02 2018

A late addition to six on Saturday but I so wanted to feature this beautiful small climber, it’s Ribes laurifolium Amy Doncaster, it’s lovely member of the current family that flowering at the moment, Amy Doncaster is a form with red stems, selected by the great plants woman Amy Doncaster from her garden in chandlers ford. I only planted this out last year and is already proving me with its beauty.

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My garden. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden

Posted on

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

<div align=”center”><a href=”” rel=”nofollow” title=”Monday Stumble Linky”><img src=”” alt=”Monday Stumble Linky” style=”border: none;” /></a></div>

Posted on

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

<div align=”center”><a href=”” rel=”nofollow” title=”Monday Stumble Linky”><img src=”” alt=”Monday Stumble Linky” style=”border: none;” /></a></div>

Posted on

Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

img 1755 1 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Well another week completed and another dollar earnt! But what a odd week, total downpour on Monday, gale force winds then battered us during Wednesday night Thursday morning, scattering the empty plastic glass collection boxes up and down my street. The poorly fixed fence the landlord did in my back garden scummed to these gales, it was only replaced 3yrs ago, totally rotten, proving the point about cheap not saving money most of the time. Another job to add to the list of things to do….. well good news is that the six on Saturday has now it’s own hashtag, it’s #SixOnSaturday

Well here’s my Six for this week, grabbed from my clients garden and a Regent’s Park garden, hoping if I get some daylight, I shall do a special one in the next couple of weeks. But here we go

img 1755 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018img 1756 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Well not seen a rose in flower like this in January before and this rose called Phab Gold. It was named after the Phab charity in 1997 to celebrate its 40yr anniversary. There were quite a few roses still in flower in Regent’s Park but this one had by far the most blooms on!

img 1714 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Spent most of this week pruning fruit trees and one of the joys for me while pruning is looking at the beautiful mosses and lichens growing on these trees. Hoping to learn their names a bit more next year.

img 1716 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018img 1731 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Talking about pruning fruit trees, here’s a large one I pruned this week, it’s a start of a 3 year plan on getting this tree back to a size and shape both me and the clients are happy with, already looking forward to it next year!

img 1746 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Just seeing these snowdrops emerging from the depths of the soil once more, just lifts my mood completely, I do love snowdrops and look forward to seeing them out so much. This time of year can be so dull and long with the grey dull short days but there is so much going on and to look forward to seeing if we can allow ourselves to do so.

img 1751 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

This Swiss chard is nearly done now but is still adding colour to the vegetable garden.

img 1752 Six on Saturday 20/01/2018

Clematis cirrhosa is starting to do its magic in a couple of my gardens, I love love this clematis. It’s a great plant to cover an area and it’s flowery sight is very welcome at this time of year!

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from My clients gardens. If you did please checkout other people’s 6 on the memes founder website I love seeing other people’s plants and what’s happening in their gardens. Why not give it ago yourself next week and give me a shout so I can take a look

Until next week, have fun in the garden