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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 25-11-2017

img 1220 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

Well happy Saturday one and all. Me and my partner went out last night for the first time since the youngest was born and it was a surprise to come out and see the cars frozen at 11pm, winter is now finally here and as I sit down writing this, it’s getting lighter outside and the normal brown tiles on the surrounding houses are white and shining from the frost, kinda wishing I had put my Salvias in the garage last night. The week has been good! Spent a wonderful afternoon at the GMG awards this week and many congratulations to Jack Wallington for winning the blogger of the year, very well deserved!

This weeks six things happening in the gardens this Saturday again mainly comes from my clients gardens once more. Mine is getting slightly neglected at the moment, have still got a few bulbs to plant and also the materials ordered up for playhouse I am building for the kids, maybe it will be here for next weekend….

img 1211 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

Love the leaf effect of Fatsia japonica but the flowers are also so beautiful, the ivy on steroids flowers are borne in the autumn and early winter and bring a touch of architecture into your garden

img 1216 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

The common beech tree, one of the most underrated trees we grow anywhere in our gardens, look good for 12 months of the year and with half the leaves missing and oh believe me there may had been over half!, they still look stately, I love driving around and seeing the golden colour they turn in the autumn. They to me, are the trees of the autumn

img 1214 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017img 1213 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

Couldn’t make my mine up on which picture to use for this hydrangea so I decided to use them both, often under rated for their autumn colour but how brilliant is that mix of colours and to have the flower there as well was the added bonus indeed

img 1220 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

One of my favourite hellebores, argutifolia has some of the most attractive dark green leaves and a bit spiky around the edges but it’s the green flowers that normally appear in February, makes them even more special. Such a great plant

img 1215 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ is one of the most commonly planted of all mahonia and with its spikey large leaves and in the autumn, these large highly scented flowers really makes it’s a plant well worth adding to your garden if you have the space!

img 1223 Six on Saturday 25 11 2017

Compost turning! Redoing a couple of beds for a client and it means I have to use some of great home produced compost, once I emptied one bin, I turn the next oldest in to the bay, good job too and it was pretty dry at the moment, should be ready for the spring I hope

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from my clients 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

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October, the neither month!

img 1071 October, the neither month!
Rhus in full autumn glory
I feel sorry for October, it’s an odd month I find, its neither summer or autumn, it’s main purpose is to be the change month. That doesn’t mean it’s dull month, indeed it’s far from it, giving us delights of both summer with plants like Salvias and Asters flowering at their best and still at the same time, early autumn colour starts to appear, things like Rosa rugosa with their beautiful hips, Euonymus with its jewel like multicoloured seeds and seed cases to the early foliage performers turning, liquidambers slowly going from green to a deep red, Euonymus alatus turning its burning red. There is indeed no other month like it! By the time November appears, Jack Frost is about finishing off the last remaining Salvias and Asters, some of the scented flowering shrubs start appearing, by the end of the month, all but the last stubborn oak and beech tree would of dropped their leaves and we will be left with the clear up and the fun of kicking the leaves, smelling the last of the sugars in the crisp cold morning.

img 0972 October, the neither month!
Salvias will keep flowering until the first frosts
 October, the neither month!
img 08451 October, the neither month!
As will beautiful asters

img 0735 October, the neither month!
Rosa glauca has great hips!
October was a busy month for me once more, carried on my current project in Botley, Hampshire. The new foundations of the garden are almost in place, the new fence line is, the steps and pathway from the main part of the house to the orangery area is now done and we are hoping to start on the river fence and decking this week, should be fun, using cleft sweet chestnut and chestnut palling. Have also started sorting out the beds on another site, we have 3 large beds to redo with one being reduced in size a little and the plants being spread into the other two. All this while carrying on my normal regular garden works. Been around a bit too, with 6 talks at different gardening and plant groups from Buckinghamshire to Dorset. I love traveling the country and meeting many other gardeners who all share a love of plants with me. Only managed one garden visit around Harold Hillier Gardens towards the end of the month, ended up being a little wet but still fun and enjoyable walking around, looking at the wonders from the world. It’s also the month I started my Master of Horticulture through the RHS, a day spent at Wisley, trying to get my head around it and straight into the first assessment and somehow I managed to get it done and a day earlier, just waiting for the marking now, quite nervous about the whole thing, never done anything like it but it’s given me a drive to learn even more about this wonderful trade we call horticulture. Next ones now started, 100 words is a start, isn’t?

img 0922 October, the neither month!
Piles of leaves to pick up!
img 0253 1 October, the neither month!
Leaving some herbaceous Plants like this Echinops is a great way of attracting birds into your garden as well as looking good in the winters frost

Next month will be spent clearing up the leaves and start cutting back the herbaceous Plants, well not all of them, I like to leave the leaves on the beds for as long as I can, I feel the leaves are nature’s own food, the plants drop them off near by to allow the goodness that they hold back into the soil and re fertilise the soil. All the micro organisms in the soil will help to break down the leaves and release the goodness back into the soil and really help to keep it healthy. I also like to leave the sturdier stems on the herbaceous Plants to give a bit of interest during the winter, I love the effect the frost, sow and even a heavy dew has on them, turning them into something else, with all the fine detail being shown up with the help of the weather. The compost heaps will also be growing quite well during this time of year and if you have the space, a bonfires will soon be lit, I do love a good bonfire, I think it’s the cave man in me, just something about the flames, the heat and the smoke that I think takes me back to childhood days. One thing I try and do is stack up the material to burn to one side of the fire area and then move it onto the fire, this is partly to do with having a more controlled blaze but also so any animal like a hedgehog, who fancies my big piles to hibernate into, won’t be burned alive. I forget how many times I have started to move stuff and there’s a rustling sound soon after as a hedgehog disappears the other way. Bulb planting is another job that’s underway this month, I don’t have too many to plant but there’s enough to do, my ones at home are nearly done but I still have a few at clients houses to do. It’s something to look forward to next spring, when the fruits of you labour start to appear and delight you with their colours

Well that’s it from my monthly review, I hope you enjoyed it and see you around!

Until then


img 1061 October, the neither month!
And bulbs to plant!
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Six on Saturday 14/10/17

img 0880 Six on Saturday 14/10/17

Sometimes you just get one of those weeks when you are glad it’s the weekend, it was one of those weeks this week! Well to be fair, it was only one day, rest of the week was very enjoyable. Plants and gardens are so much areas for us to enjoy and relax in, to get away from the stressful things in life. Hopefully a spell weeding (yes yes I do have weeds in my garden)  and cutting back the odd plant, will recharge the old batteries ready for another wonderful varied job that is my work. 

Well this week, my six on Saturday comes from my own garden, that I will be honest and say it’s looking a little shabby at the moment, some plants still flowering well, just needs a good tidy up and sort out. Hoping to start on the kids playhouse next weekend but we will see what happens. So anyway I hope you enjoy them 

img 0886 Six on Saturday 14/10/17
Gaura ‘Rosy Jane’ I think I have featured this plant before earlier in the year but she is still flowering very well and adding a bit of colour into the area it’s growing
img 0885 Six on Saturday 14/10/17
Did a feature a while ago about propagating semperviens and here they are growing away pretty strongly and looking good to be planted out once the green roof is all set up
img 0884 Six on Saturday 14/10/17
Rosa ‘Iceberg’ this is one of the only remaining plants from the garden when we moved in 7yrs ago nearly, it’s still going strong and flowering well.
img 0887 Six on Saturday 14/10/17
Well yes this may look like a cardboard box filled with paper but it is indeed a box of flowers that will delight me from January to May/June with floral delights. Yep you guessed it, it’s my bulb order! Must get planting!
img 0881 Six on Saturday 14/10/17
Geranium ‘Nimbus’ still flowering and looking good in my front garden, love this geranium it’s just brilliant value for money!
img 0880 Six on Saturday 14/10/17
Aster I mean Symphyotrichum ‘Jenny’ a great compact plant that’s in its 2nd year and its beautiful, gives my border a little boast at this time of year

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

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Around the world in 90 minutes- Lullingston Castle

img 2779 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle

Well that may not be true, it may of been more than 2hrs, could of been all day as the pull of the garden and it’s beautiful Plants certainly could trap you for a good day at least! But how did I find myself on the edge of the world set out in Plants many many miles from home, on a sunny September day? Well it was my first Garden Media Guild meeting and I have to admit I felt rather nervous to say the least, shouldn’t of been as they were indeed a very friendly bunch, meeting up with tea and biscuits being served by the incredible modern plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke, who returned from Cornwall that morning after giving a talk down there. What a chap he is, had a great plant chat with him whilst drinking my tea as well as photography chats with a few others. After tea, we went towards the walled garden, where Tom explained that the house had been in his family since the 15th century, the walled garden, where the world garden is set, was his grandma’s herb garden. The idea of the world garden came to him during a plant hunting expedition into Columbia looking for orchids, when they were captured by an armed gang and held prisoner for 9 months! During this time, they were told they were going to be shot in 5 hours and in this life and death moment, the idea of the world garden started in his head, months of drawing making notes they were finally released and sent home only to return once more after getting lost, the gang soon helped them back on the right path and they got back in time for Christmas 2000. Once home, the ideas became reality with him taking over his grandma’s old herb garden, cleared in a few days with help from friends and the garden started to become reality.

img 2779 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Tom talking to the group
It’s not set as as per the world, with the microclimate of the walled garden being used to great advantage with warmer areas being home to the plants who need warmer areas and vice versa. The growth of these plants is quite incredible, only planted up in 2005, all plants have grown away strongly possibly helped with the fertile soil of the old vegetable and herb garden

img 2798 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle

As for the planting, it’s just a plantspersons dream! So many plants are only found growing here aren’t found growing anywhere else in the uk. Beautiful specimens are everywhere, from the world beds into the glasshouses and poly tunnels. Yes there’s the odd bit of quirkiness like flags flying from trees, trees painted and the odd volcano model, but that just adds to the fun of the garden, we are all guilty about taking gardens too seriously and this is Toms way of adding a bit of fun to the garden and it works.

Now about some of the plants we saw on the day!

img 2790 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Very rarely seen Pinus patula or Mexican weeping pine, native to highlands of Mexico
img 2806 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Cosmos atrosanguineaus the chocolate cosmos from Mexico
img 2831 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
A blast from my past, Agave parryi, the first Agave i grew from seed,

img 2845 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
The cactus house is home to over 1000 plants, all from the deserts of the world
img 2866 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Ferocactus cylindraceus or the red spined barrel cactus, native to California

img 2865 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
The volcano blows!

img 2877 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Orbea variegata or the dog pooh plant from South Africa and believe me it does smell like dog poo!

img 2893 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Not seen many proteas in flower since I was last at Tresco Gardens but here in the nursery at Lullingstone, was Protea cynaroides ‘Little Prince’ flowering away!

img 2897 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
The very very hard to grow Welwitschia mirabilis from Namibia. Pure honour to see this unusual plant

img 2918 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
Passiflora ‘Anastasia’ what a beautiful passiflora!

img 2935 Around the world in 90 minutes  Lullingston Castle
The garden was red hot! Well these are red hot pokers, hybrid of kniphofia caulscens

In all this garden can’t help to inspire and enthuse you, Toms endless amount of energy, enthusiasm and drive both for the garden and the plants is incredible, wish I could bottle it and open it up for days when mine sometimes needs a boast, came away from the garden just wishing I could move it closer to hampshire so I could visit more often and take in the amount of plants growing happily away in world garden over a period of months with Toms knowledge of everyone coming though!

From here, we moved on to Great Comp gardens just down the road but that’s for another blog! 

The garden is open sundays only now during the winter months and can be found  near Eynsford, Kent 

The website is. Www. 

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Six on Saturday- 30/09/2017

img 0778 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017

Another week has flown by, with it, it seems so has the summer. More and more plants are slowly putting their autumn clothing on  and getting ready for the winter. It’s been a odd week weather wise, a bit rain, heavy at times but also so mild and humid. The plants and gardens are still producing some beautiful moments

Well I hope you enjoy my 6 on Saturday this week, all the plants are from my garden again this week

img 0830 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Edgeworthii has now produced its flower buds for early spring and it looks like I am going to have a cracking display on my plant this year! Just need to add a child protection zone around it and enjoy the beautiful flowers and scent. Love watching the buds develop and slowly open up. Something to look forward to enjoying this winter
img 0824 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Unknown Pyracantha, it was here on the house we rent in chandlers ford when we arrived here and the great looking berries are the reason it’s still here, pain in the backside to prune it back and shape it every 3 weeks, the flowers are beautiful but stink but the berries oh the berries!
img 0829 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Rose climbing lady Hillingdon, one of my favourite roses and I think it’s second time up on the 6 on Saturday, but she is still flowering so well even now, at least 30 blooms on a small plant, going to be a big show for the last show of the year
img 0825 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Now I know The Propagator loves his bargain plants and so do I! I couldn’t resist this stunning salvia microphylla Bordeaux for only £3, hoping to over winter it and enjoy its stunning flowers all of next year
img 0832 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Ok ok not a brilliant photo of a stunning plant but pelargonium sidoides has really dark flowers finished off with lovely silver foliage, looks great on my patio table, certainly will try and sneak this into the kitchen windowsill for this winter
img 0778 Six on Saturday  30/09/2017
Rosa falstaff is one of my top David Austin hybrids, the flowers shape and scent remind me so much of an Heritage rose, this one was planted in the spring and really struggled to get going, then about 6 weeks ago it started growing and rewarded me with three flowers! Growing it as a low climber on my wall but makes a good shrub rose.

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

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Plant of the week- Kniphofia rooperi

kniphofia rooperi 3 Plant of the week  Kniphofia rooperi

kniphofia rooperi 2 Plant of the week  Kniphofia rooperi
This weeks plant of the week, is one of the last flowering red hot pokers and for me it is one of the best as well, I love the shape and the colour of this special red hot poker that really light up the border like a torch! The 3-4ft flower spikes are borne over the evergreen foliage from about now up until the first hard frosts hit, they just add a delightful torch of light into our borders, just in time to darken up our sometimes dull autumn days. Even when not in flower, the leaves, add a great architectural element into any garden.

kniphofia rooperi 3 Plant of the week  Kniphofia rooperi
It is a South African plant that loves to live in the damp valleys and that’s one thing to remember when looking after it. Kniphofia rooperi loves to grow into a dampish humus rich soil, in a sunny area but it will grow in drier soil as long as it is well mulched and looked after. It’s very easy to propagate as well, either from seed sown and left over winter in a cold frame, from dividing up the plant in the spring, using a carefully aimed spade to divide up the clump or indeed from cutting the new growth in the spring and potting on into compost. It was named after the great German botanist Johann Hieronymus Kniphof. He wrote one of the greatest books of the 1700, Botanica in originali.

kniphofia rooperi 4 Plant of the week  Kniphofia rooperi
This beautiful clump is at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens but is used in so many more beautiful gardens around the country. Again it’s pretty easy to buy from various nurseries like Hardys Cottage plants 

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6 on Saturday 9-9-17

img 0550 6 on Saturday 9 9 17

Well hello and welcome to Saturday, yes it’s the weekend once more and to celebrate it, we have the weekly meme so excellently started by The Propagator! This shows of six things that are looking good or happening in our gardens every week on a Saturday. This week I am leaving my little garden in Chandlers Ford and visiting one of my lovely clients garden that I currently manage. This beautiful garden is nestled down in the New Forest and is complete with a stream running though the garden. The soils a mildly acidic clay that has been worked for a good few years.  And here’s my 6 choices from this delightful garden this week.

img 0545 6 on Saturday 9 9 17
Hesperanthus coccinea was more commonly know as schizostylis before it’s more recent name change but the common name Kaffir Lily, is still be used. It’s from South Africa, where naturally grows in damp areas near streams, the leaves are evergreen so there’s something of interest all year around. But it’s this time of year, it is at its peak, with these large red flowers brightening up the dull early autumn
img 0555 6 on Saturday 9 9 17
Eschscholzia californica. The state flower of California, this beautiful annual poppy just appeared in this border, nearly weeded it out but I just couldn’t do it. I am so glad I didn’t remove it, I just love the brightness of this flower, the greyness of the foliage is also very stunning and brings out the colour of the poppy as well
img 0556 6 on Saturday 9 9 17
Lythrum Salicaria or purple loosestrife is a British native and makes a tall plant best suited for the back of the border. It’s also well loved by the bees!
img 0554 6 on Saturday 9 9 17
Eurybia divaricata or Aster divaricata as it was called before the recent name change. The White Wood Aster, a North American hybrid, loves a little bit of shade. It’s a plant I am never to sure if I like or don’t like, it sort of grows on me at times and other times, I just don’t like it. I am currently in my liking stage
img 0552 6 on Saturday 9 9 17
Kirengeshoma palmata is a unusual looking herbaceous plant native of Japan. It is surprisingly a member of the Hydrangea family. This woodland plant needs a damp acidic soil and is at home here in this garden. The sycamore like foliage is a great foil for the beautiful flowers
img 0550 6 on Saturday 9 9 17
Tricyrtis formosana. This unusual perennial plant from Taiwan is to me the real sign that autumn has us in her grip! One of the latest plants the flower in our borders, the road lily doesn’t disappoint, holding these unusual shape flowers upright. It is at home in the soil here as well as loving the deep shade. The toad or snake lily certainly makes a talking point in any garden

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday from my clients 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 


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6 on Saturday 2/9/2017

img 0530 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017

I can’t believe it’s the first Saturday September and autumn is starting to appear in the garden. The weather has been a mixed bag in the past week, mainly the warm days are returning with the odd shower mixed in. 

It’s been pretty easy to get my 6 on Saturday this week, back in my own garden once more. I had a busy week in the my own garden, finishing off the major changes I started in May! 

img 0528 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017
Dicentra ‘King of Hearts’ I love Dicentras! Their foliage is always beautiful and as for the flowers, these heart shaped flowers, really bring out the romantic in me. They normally finish flowering months ago but Colin told me this has been flowering for months and months, going to be a great addition to my garden
img 0494 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017
My patio is finished! We always forget what a difference the hard landscaping can make to our garden, this has transformed the space into a more courtyard feel, with the pacing bringing out the best of the plants surrounding it
img 0526 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017
Roscoea purpurea ‘Red Gurkha’ this is a new addition to my garden, indeed it’s in the ‘working out where to plant’ area of the garden at the moment and I don’t think it will be long before it finds a home, it’s a really special form of Roscoea, being the only red one and I just love the stems! Brought from Colin Moat of Pineview plants
img 0530 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017
Dicliptera sericea. From a man who likes hardy geraniums and roses, I do like plants that are also so different and this fits the bill pretty well, although it’s not 100% hardy, I am hoping my sheltered garden with allow this small shrub flourish. The unusual flowers are upright to allow the hummingbirds good access to them, no hummingbirds here in Hampshire but have a hummingbird hawkmoth in here so I hope it will work well for them as well
img 0524 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017
Hydrangea querifolia. Featured this a while ago when it was in full flower, now it’s gone over, I just love the brown, it brings out the details of the flowers, there’s so much beauty in the seedheads that we forget to see and admire, try leaving a few for this year and see which ones you love

img 0537 6 on Saturday 2/9/2017
Excuse the waste bags in the back but I am very happy with my pots this year, yes they should be more full, but I did plant a little late this year and love the flowers, brightens the area and removes people’s eye from my storage area

I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday! 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

Six on Saturday- 26/08/17

Well happy Saturday folks and I hope you have a great week at home, work or just enjoying the garden. It’s never seems like it indeed a week in between theses 6 on Saturday blogs, but this week seemed even shorter for some reason! 

This week I am going to cheat (but it is ok as The propagator said it was) and use a clients garden to bring you my 6. I do feel a little guilty about using their garden but it is a little bit part of me, I didn’t design it but I have been working there for over 4years now and enjoyed nurturing the garden from a recently designed main garden to the maturing garden it is now. It’s about 1.5 acres inside, thinish soil over chalk and it is a beautiful site. I hope you will enjoy my 6 from this garden

img 0483 Six on Saturday  26/08/17
Aster x frikarii ‘Monch’. Happens to one of my favourite asters, flowers for such a long time, with these beautiful large flowers just give me buzz.
img 0479 Six on Saturday  26/08/17
Clematis viticella ‘Betty Corning’ Again this is one of favourite forms of Clematis, just love the delightful lightly scented flowers that are borne for 3months in the end, making it well worth the money
img 0470 Six on Saturday  26/08/17
Geranium ‘Orion’ The largest flower size of all hardy geraniums and flowers for such a long time, from May to the first frost.
img 0471 Six on Saturday  26/08/17
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ more commonly know as black eyed Susan. Just a ray of bright sunshine in the garden at this time of year, I just love it, doesn’t matter if it’s bright sunshine or a dull wet day, it just lifts your spirits!
img 0482 Six on Saturday  26/08/17
I just love the effect yew hedges have in the garden, once trimmed, they look like a green sculptured walls, just the best backdrop to any garden or border. The line of soldiers here protecting the path leading to the front door. They just add so much to the garden here
img 0478 Six on Saturday  26/08/17
Eupatorium maculatum atropurpureum. Again a great plant, loved by bees and butterflies, this purple form of Joe Pye Weed grows up to 1.5m in height and just coming into flower now.
I hope you enjoyed my 6 on Saturday! 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, may your fingers be green! 


Posted on

Hedge trimming tips 

20151013 131734487 ios Hedge trimming tips 

Well it's the time of the year when all you can hear is the roar of petrol hedgecutters  or the buzz buzz of the electric hedge cutters echoing around the neighbourhood. Indeed now is an ideal time to tidy up your hedges, most of the birds would of finished nesting (apart from pigeons!) and the plants themselves have finished their main growth spurt for the year and if trimmed now, will delightfully hold their shape and form until they start growing away next spring, giving our gardens both shape and structure during the shortened days of winter, after all the herbecous plants have died down and the deciduous shrubs have lost their leaves

Now this isn't a step by step guide but just a few little things that I do and have found, that makes the job a little easier and safer

Check the hedge out first.

We all walk by the hedges at all times don't we and the chances are you have cut the hedge before. But a lot of things can happen in a year, just have a look though the hedge checking for bottles, cans, odd bits of metal thrown in, footballs etc anything that could damage the blades of the cutters. Also see if there's any new holes or dips appeared in the ground near the hedge, may save a twisted ankle once the dip is covered up in clippings and you find it again! Lastly get a big stick (take handle will do) and smack it along the hedge, this isn't an old fashioned gardners tradition to produce a good crop next year but a way to check there are no birds nesting or even worse no wasp nests in there! Nothing worse that being surrounded by pesky 'flies' up a stepladder and finding out there are wasps!

Sharpen the blades. 

No matter what hedge cutter you use, whether it's electric, battery or petrol, it will always cut much better and easier with sharp blades and leave a much cleaner finish to the hedge. If you don't want to do it yourself, most garden machinery dealers will do it for you, for a small cost. Otherwise you can easily do it for yourself using a diamond file like the ones sold by Niwaki. Once your blades are nice and sharp, do the fine hedges like Yew, Box first before moving on the rougher stuff like hawthorn, beech, holly etc. The finer stuff do need sharper blades and done first they will avoid the dulling that happens with time and when doing the rougher hedges

Where to start?

First of work out the way you like to work, my natural working way is left to right, so I will start on the left hand side. I then cut from bottom to top, this helps to allow foliage to fall down once it's been cut unheeded and not pulling any other bits out with its weight. If there's rather a lot of foliage to get though, will do a rough cut first to remove the bulk before doing a finer one to finish. Once the side is done, I then start of the top, on the right hand side or just where I have finished doing the side. Then I cut the closest bit to me, working my way across, sweeping the clippings off the edge as I go.

Cut close!

When cutting an old established hedge, one that I have trimmed before or one cut last year, I always try and cut as close to the last years cut as possible, ideally to within a couple of mm of those last cuts, yes it may leave the hedge looking a little barer than a lighter trim but it will help to keep the hedge tighter and more compact within the space, think about it, leaving 10mm new growth on each side every year for the new ten years will make the hedge 200mm wider, 50mm would be 1000m or a metre! 2mm would just 40mm. Big big differences. img 0440 Hedge trimming tips 

large leaved shrubs  These are shrubs like Bay, cherry Laurel, tradionally are done by hand using secatuers as the use of hedge cutters tend to tear the leaves, cutting by hand is pretty time comsuing and lets be honest, we dont all have the time to do it by hand. using the hedge cutters will leave the leafs ragged but the new ones will soon come though ok. only word of warning when using a hedge cutter on cherry laurel, the leaves do contain amount of  cyanide, which on a hot day can cause a bad headache or feeling sick, indeed there have been cases of gardeners being sacked from being drunk, when indeed it was cyanide poisoning from the fumes from the laurel leaves when being cut on a very hot day.

img 0424 1 Hedge trimming tips 

Use the right access equipment.
It so much easy to get hold of access equipment now, either though hiring or buying. I am lucky, being a professional gardener, I own a couple sets of tripod ladders, a 20ft access tower and a stepping stool, all of which cover any height needs I have. It's not worth the risk of leaning a ladder into the hedge or grabbing the patio chair and doing a little balancing dance whilst standing on it. Hedge cutters are pretty horrid things to fall on and they do hurt! Just try and find the right bit of gear to suit your garden and either make a long term investment or hire in. One other thing is getting your cutters up to your working height, when working on step ladders, platforms etc, you ideally need 3 points of contact from your body to the equipment, again makes carrying anything up the equipment a little iffy. I have a couple of lengths of rope with a couple of karabiners tied to each end, I attach one to the tool and hold the other one whilst climbing up and then attach it to the ladder, platform when I get to the working height and just pull up the tool, un hitch, use and lower back down when finished .


Clean off my tools.

End of each day, I will brush off any loose leaves, give the blades an oil, that will help to soften any sap build up on the blades, then remove the build up using the crean block or a wooden scraper, spray with Dettol to kill off 99.5% of all know germs or indeed fungus like box blight and plant virus and then spray once more with WD-40. I then know the equipment is as clean and disease free as I can make it.

Look back.  

its always worth taking a step backwards to make sure the hedge is pretty level and the sides are pretty level, theres no bit missed and its all looking good. its also a damn fine time to admire your handy work!sdc10017 Hedge trimming tips 

I hope you have found the above tips useful and happy hedge cutting