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Opening of the first one!

cbefb2d9 9c32 4281 b017 ccba742a11fd 1855 0000005f6988bf09 file 1 Opening of the first one!

This time of year, to me is very special. I love the starting of life that this time of year brings, whether it’s the bright fresh green foliage at is now covering the countryside, in all its different shades of green or the sound of young hatched birds squeaking in their nest. For me it is the real time of change, spring becomes early summer and there’s 3 things that to me, herald in the start of summer, the first is the swallows arriving back from Africa, with their chatter filling the gardens with joy, next is the ear drum bursting sound of screeching as the swifts appear once more over ahead. Their short term stay is far too short but to me is the true sound of summer.

95555351 a8f7 4813 abd4 4ba97fa51093 1855 0000005f4e1736f9 file 1 Opening of the first one!

The last thing for me is the opening of the first rose in my own garden, yes I have seen a few early roses out in other peoples garden it the opening of the first rose in my own garden is always a special occasion and that final part of the summer jigsaw arrived for me yesterday with the opening of a very special rose!

cbefb2d9 9c32 4281 b017 ccba742a11fd 1855 0000005f6988bf09 file Opening of the first one!

We came back home yesterday after a day at the seaside, to be welcomed in by Climbing Lady Hillingdon flowering away in our back garden. She is always an early rose but it is a rose I have long loved and it has been a special rose in our family, for it was this rose that brought about my dads love of roses back in the 70’s and one that has been grown in every family garden since, including mine now in chandlers ford. For those who don’t know her, here’s a blog from last year Climbing lady Hillingdon that dwells on her history. She is one of the finest apricot roses you can grow and it was wonderful to have her lady ship welcome in the summer by adding the last piece of the jigsaw to my summer jigsaw. Now at last, the rose season will start up once more and the scented delights will fill our gardens with colour and scent once more.

20180226 202933 Opening of the first one!
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Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

img 2721 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

Well that was another funny week, the start of May saw in a couple of frosts, temperatures rising to low 20s and a morning of heavy rain followed by a sunny bright afternoon. It’s certainly been playing havoc with work and the poor plants, seen a few plants with singled tops, mainly clematis and Macleya. Let’s hope that was the last of the frosts for this summer, these late frosts do cause a lot of damage don’t they. It’s also been my birthday this week, some how I have reached 45, but I managed to break one of my all time rules of not working on my birthday, still it was a sunny day and I did do a little bit of planting! Hoping to make up for that in a few weeks time by enjoying a trip to a lovely garden!

Anyway onto this six, and for a change I managed to do a little bit of work in my own garden this week and so some of the six will cover this fun work

img 2725 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

I got these great pots last week when I went to provender Nurseries, just for my bay trees, this week I managed to get them planted up with John Innes no3 compost this week and will leave them for a few weeks before trimming up and shaping

img 2724 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

Ahh wanted to grow blueberries for ages, brought some this winter and now they are flowering, can’t wait for the fruit to form, won’t last long though sadly as I suspect the kids will strip them bare in a few hours,

img 2721 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

Had to add this pansy just because I find it in some way, very fierce looking! I am not sure what it is but it is certainly a scared plant, it could be the intense lines leading to a almost mouth like centre, they could be whiskers as well?

img 2720 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

I did show you a few weeks ago my front garden with the spotted laurel being removed, well it’s all out now and had the planting mix added and now some roses I brought from Peter Beales and some Geraniums added, with a couple of spaces left to fill, good job there’s a Plant heritage plant sale at longstock nursery on Monday morning!

img 2723 Six on Saturday, 5th of May 2018

And lastly a special plant is flowering once more in my garden, one I discovered a few years ago and named after my granddad, George Stone and now doing well in mine and my Dads garden, so lovely to have it back once more

Well that’s my six done from my garden this week, so many plants now are starting to wake up and start delighting us with their beauty. I hope you have a great weekend and check out the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Until next week, have fun in the garden or indeed just admiring plants

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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 www.ellicargardens.co.uk 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

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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 http://www.hodsockpriory.com/snowdrops/plan-your-visit/

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Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

aster little carlow 2 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

img 0736 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

The plant commonly known as the Iceplant, former Latin name sedum spectabilis ‘Autumn Joy’ now Hylotelephium Herbstfreude

Now we all need names for the plants and we all need to know what plant is meant by that name. Common names can vary so much not only from county to county but also country to country so it was very important to have a name form that everyone commonly understand. I can remember as a young trainee being told that Latin was the only name to learn and I have kept that up up today, nearly some 30 odd years ago.

img 0855 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

Mexican feathergrass is the common name of is Nassella tenuissima formally know as Stipa tenuissima

The use of Latin names as we know it, was set up by the great botanist Carl Linnaeus, who is know as the Father of taxonomy. In 1735, he published the first addition of his famous works, Systema Naturae, which laid out his system of categorising plants into various family’s and groups. These where all named by their reproduction systems, Both in numbers and arrangements. This system has been used ever since. In 1867 the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) was first set up to carry on writing the guide lines for nomenclature and carried on this work until 2011 when it went under a big change and became International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). The guidelines are used by botanists to write papers on why a particular plant should be changed, reasons including older names from which with Plant as first named but never caught one. International Association for Plant Taxonomy is the group that agrees the Plant name changes, these changes are written by botanists and have to have all the information and supporting documents explaining why the plants should change and now with the use of DNA, it can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the plant should be in its own family or indeed moved to another family. And it this DNA technology that is the reason we have so many plant changes happening over the past few years and I am afraid to say will be happening a lot more in the future.

Now I agree it’s right that plants should be known by the correct Latin name and like a true professional I will do my best to learn the new name, how ever difficult it is to say! A lot of these changes I can totally understand, Sedum speciblis ‘Autumn Joy’ so different from the smaller alpine forms so it does make sense to change it to Hylotelephium Herbstfreude but my gripe isn’t about it changing for me but the fact it causes so much confusion to the trade and general public that may of known this plant under that name for 20 odd years and suddenly it’s not there in one Nursery under that name but in another under its old name, magazines add to the confusion, taking ProLandscaper as a example, last year in one magazine, it had Stipa tenuissima Both as it’s old name of Stipa and it’s new one Nassellatenuissima again adding to the confusion. With more changes on the horizon like Iris possibly being spilt into 18 different names, this confusion is going to happen more and more. What we need if possible is some sort of agreement with trade, press and public gardens that each part of our industry agrees to put these new names in place within a certain timescale of say maybe 5 years during which the old name maybe is in brackets after the new one? Maybe better signage on sites would also let people know and get used to the new name. Changing anything let alone labels does cost so there’s always a cost involved, one well know Nursery told me they had a 60% drop in sales on the from aster family members that changed too Symphyotrichum and Eurybia.k

aster little carlow 2 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

Was Aster little Carlow now Symphyotrichum ‘little Carlow’

But I suppose my biggest problem with it, is my internal one, we advise people to learn the Latin names as that’s the name that everyone knows it as worldwide, common names differ in different areas of the uk let alone around the world. It also the most stable name for the plant, one that explains how it grows, who discovered it etc. But by changing in as big away as is currently happening, aren’t we just adding more confusion into the world of gardening? Plant names are hard enough to remember without changing. Seeing bits and pieces on social media and talking to people as well, it seems to me there’s a 3rd level of plant names occurring, botanical latin is the first, common names the second and the new one gardeners Latin. Gardeners Latin is the form when the old name is used instead of the new one. Whether you agree or disagree, that to me seems to be happening, maybe until it’s all sorted out a little more and the names become more we’ll known, that’s what is going to have to be done and let’s be honest, changing a name from a simple one to a more complex name is going to take a long time to catch on, we need to give it time and for everyone one supplying and growing the plant in the public domain to be on board, let’s be honest, that sadly won’t happen but let hope!

049 Changing world of plant names, confusion or clarity

Bleeding Hearts used to be called Dicentra spectabilis but is now Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Whatever the name or indeed how difficult it is to say or learn, don’t forget it is still an amazing form of life on our planet and the beauty is there no matter what tag with give it or call it. And names are just tags, given to plants so we can identify them, if you want to enjoy their beauty just as nature intended without boxing it in, well there’s no harm in that what so ever.

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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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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 https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ 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

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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.........