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Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

img 2861 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

June! June! It can’t be be June already but the garden is proving me wrong, with so many of the June plants showing me it’s June, with the roses really starting to get going and their fragrance is starting to fill my garden. But what a week it has been, very hot and sunny and then it rained and boy did it rain! My glass left on the patio table, had 65mm in it after just being outside for 12hrs. This time last week I was heading up to Chelsea for the flower show and I had a great time there, so many stunning plants and gardens too see and inspire from. Not had to do much in the garden this week, it’s all just ticking by nicely, I do have some plants to add to the garden and now the soil is a little moist and I hopefully will get them in, I also need to plan and plant up my front door pots, just can’t decide what to put in there this summer, seen one plant I like to use and slowly adding a list together. One thing that has been decided is the removal of the forsythia in the front garden, that’s going by by this weekend!

Right enough waffling, I need my cuppa and weekend toast and the little one is of the same opinion! Again this weeks 6 is going to be a rose feast with a few others added but my roses are going away nicely now and need to be shown off!

img 2861 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

First one is a rose I planted last year and is just so beautiful to look at and the scent is stunning. Champion of the world is a Hybrid perpetual rose and that will repeat flower all summer long, it’s been around since 1894

img 2862 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Let’s have a poppy now, never sowed them, they just appeared in extension of the flower bed when I did it last year. Poppy seeds last for years and years in the soil, just waiting to be exposed and when it does, boom there they are!

img 2863 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rosa iceberg is one of the most popular hybrid teas grown, this is one of the only plants now left in the front garden I haven’t added too

img 2848 1 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Now this little sod has been in my first alpine container for the past 3 years, just sat there doing nothing and now it’s decided to flower and how lovely they are indeed, if you want to grow it and wait for 3years, it’s called Bergeranthus glenensis

img 0771 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Rosa little Gem is a beautiful moss rose, bred in 1840, flowers Just once but the scent and flowers are amazing and it works well in shade as well as full sun

img 0772 Six on Saturday 2nd of June 2018

Now this is one of my favourite roses, flowers on and off all summer with these scented flowers, pretty disease free and tough as old boots. It is a rose that should be and deserves to be grown wider, such a great garden plant, it’s name is Amanade paternotte!

Well that’s my six for this week, I hope you enjoyed them and have a great weekend gardening, I know I will 😀 and enjoy the other six on Saturday over at the hosts site

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Plant of the Week-Acer griseum

acer griseum 2 Plant of the Week Acer griseum

acer griseum Plant of the Week Acer griseum

I have been wanting to add this most beautiful of trees to the plant of the week for many months now, just other plants have got in the way but on Saturday I was staring at quite a few of them at The Sir Hillier Gardens and decided this is the week to feature this tree.

acer griseum 2 Plant of the Week Acer griseum

Acer griseum is a small tree, native of the central area of China in the Sichuan, Shaanxi, Henan, Hubel,Gansu, Hanan and Shanxi provinces, where it grows in woodland between 1500-2000m above sea level. It was introduced into to western civilisation by one of the greatest plant hunters of them all, a chap called Ernest Wilson, for the famous Veitch Nursery in 1901. Ernest Wilson or Chinese Wilson introduced 1,200 new plants into our gardens during his time as a plant hunter in China. This included 400 new species and 4 new genera. The name comes from Ancient Greek, Acer means bitter and griseum means greyish.

acer grisum Plant of the Week Acer griseum

Acer griseum or the paper barked maple can grow up to 50ft tall over a period of many years, it is quite a slow growing tree and most specimens reach no more than 30ft often nearer 20ft in height. Making it an ideal tree for the smaller gardens. The leaves themselves as quite attractive with a greyish underneath and a light green on top and are formed of 3 leaflets on each leave. The leaves do turn a beautiful red and orange colour in the autumn months. The flowers are borne in mid spring around April time and are small and yellow in colour. As the common name may suggest, it’s for its bark this tree is really grown for. The bark ranges in the different shades of brown and peels off the tree in sheets of brown paper that is very stunning! This effect normally starts happening when the tree is at least 4 years old and so does require a good size specimen for the garden if you would like to see the best from it. With the sunlight behind it, it is breathtakingly beautiful and has fast become one of the main stays in a winter garden.

grisuem Plant of the Week Acer griseum

It is also Acer griseum’s ability to grow in all types of soils including clay, chalk and sand that has also helped it become so popular. The only thing it needs is for the soil to be moist and fairly free draining. It is also pretty disease and pest free. It’s size and slow growth, means it’s ideal for most size gardens, from the small to the massive, where it can look magnificent grown in small groves. It requires very little pruning, maybe removal of lower branches when young to give a clear stem if required and removal of crossing branches and dead wood, that is about it. The one fault Acer griseum has is that the seeds tend to be pathenocarpy, which means they will form but will contain no seed. This reduces the germination rate down to around 5% for them but seed is still one of the best ways to grow it. Grafting is another way it is propagated.

Garden wise, Acer griseum can be found in most large gardens, there’s a lovely one At Mottisfont Abbey gardens, great examples at RHS Wisley and Rosemoor and of course Sir Harold Hilliers Garden. It is also pretty easy to buy, with most good Nurseries and garden centres able to supply it

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Plant of the week- Betula albosinensis ‘Bowling Green’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

miscanthus nepelaensis 2 Plant of the week Miscanthus nepalensis

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

miscanthus nepalensis 1 Plant of the week Miscanthus nepalensis

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

miscanthus nepelaensis 2 Plant of the week Miscanthus nepalensis

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

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

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

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15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 

The show gardens and brilliant displays in the marques do certainly catch your eyes but they wouldn’t any good if the wrong plants were chosen, so let’s have a little look at some of the plants that caught my eye both around the gardens and in the marques. Some a new to me and caught my eye that way, others old friends that it was great to see them being so used around the different gardens. There were so many great plants, it was difficult to keep it to 15 but never less I managed too. I hope you enjoy my 15 as much as I did and I can’t wait for next years show to see what they are offering. 

img 1660 1 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Allium ‘Forelock’ (left) this was a new one for me, I loved the way some of the tiny flowers form a Mohican hair cut on top of the flowers. It make a large plant up to 5ft tall, with the flowers bending over like a Shepards crook before they open and then straighten up just as they do. Needs a dry sunny spot in the garden ideally.
img 1633 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Sphaeralcea ‘Hopleys Lavender’ (right) not seen this form of this semi hardy member of the mallow family before and I loved the soft pink flowers. The shrub grows up to 90cm tall and 90cm wide and is hardy down to -5c. Does like a nice sunny spot. Looks a great looking shrub
img 1609 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Fagus sylvicatica ‘Rolf Marquardt’ OMG! I have a soft spot for Beeches after building up a small collection in a former job. This beauty took my breathe away and I want it, appently makes a small tree, hoping to find out it’s ok in pots!
img 1647 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Achillea ‘Emily May’ again a new form for me, love the bright red flowers on this member of the daisy family, not seen an achillea as red as this before. It flowers from June-September in a sunny dry spot, does need a little bit of spend bloom removal to keep it flowering
img 1676 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Gladiolus hybrid ‘Flevo Cool’ (left) is one of those plants that just take your breath away either because you love the mix of colours or because you hate it. Personally I love it and can’t wait to order some for next summer to add somewhere to my rather cramped borders (always room for one more!) grows to about 60cm in height and work well as a cut flower plant as well in the garden.
img 1631 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Cosmos sulphurus ‘Pamela’s Pick’ (right)cosmos are one of my favourite garden plants for filling little spaces around the garden, normally seen in pinks, whites, reds, purples etc. Not seen a yellow one until the show, beautiful colour mixed with great looking foliage, certainly one I will be trying from seed soon! Gets to about 90cm in height and flowers all summer long
img 1667 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Potentilla x hopwoodiana (left) this great ground cover plant. This herbaceous form of Potentilla again flowers all summer long with this beautiful soft salmon pink flowers. It’s easy to grow and loves to be in some sun at the front of a border and works very well with pale or white roses. Just remove the older stems that have finished flowering to encourage more
img 1662 1 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Crocosmia ‘Paul’s best yellow’ crocosmia’s are a plant that I love and hate at the same time, they are beautiful flowers and such striking foliage until it all started falling over. This one however is such a clear bright yellow that I will let it off! Makes a plant about 90cm in height and needs a nice damp sunny spot to get the very best from it, sadly my own garden is too dry for it.
img 1613 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Saxifraga fortunei ‘Crystal Pink’ wow! What a foliage plant! It’s like an artist has got a green leave and then gone to town with white and pink paints all over the leaves and the effect is purely stunning. It’s certainly another plant I have added to my list! It does like a light shady or fully shady spot in dryish soil and will grow better in a pot. Does flower in September October but no way as nice as the foliage!
img 1560 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Pelegonium ‘Pink Aurore’ (right) I do love pellies and I wish I had somewhere to over winter them, I don’t sadly at the moment and I am missing out on great plants like Pink Aurore, this unique type of pelegonium is ideal for use in containers being a good bushy plant that flowers all summer long with these bright pink flowers over a grey scented foliage. Wonderful display from Fibex nursery!
img 1599 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Digitalis parviforia ‘Milk Chocolate’ (left) these longer lived foxgloves are becoming more popular now and it’s easy to see why, they have a quite unique flower flower that’s bourne from July to October and is so loved by bees! They will also live for up to 5 years if you are lucky and again will take a shady dryish spot. Not being to tall at 60cm, they mix brilliantly with other plantings.
img 1618 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Erigeron glaucus ‘Sea Breeze’ (right) another tough tough plant that will take almost everything you throw at it, including really dry sunny spots, in cracks of rocks even in very exposed seaside spots. This low growing plant has evergree leaves that are pretty atractive after they have their June to August flowering system.
img 1570 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ a plant that was used in so many gardens around the show ground and rightly so, it is a beautiful plant that loves full sun and moist bit of soil to get the best from it. Flowers from June to september but does need a little bit of spent bloom removal to get the best from, it may need a little staking in some years but can also respond well to the Chelsea chop. Can suffer a little from Mildew
img 1594 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Mulberry ‘Charlotte Russe’ I love mulberries! I used live in a gatehouse with 6 planted at the end of the drive, spent many happy years eating the sweet fruit. So pleased they is a smaller one ideal for a container and fruits even longer, from May to September. Wonderful! Was plant of the year at Chelsea this year, can’t wait to get one growing at home!
deschampsia cespitosa bronzeschleier 2 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldschleier’ is one of so many grasses seen around the gardens over the week and rightly so, they indeed add so much to a garden both in their looks and also the movement from them. Deschampsia was one of the more popular grasses spread around so many gardens, its light golden brown stems will last until January/February if you are lucky and loves a nice sunny free draining soil and will grow to about a metre in height
img 16261 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Just a beautiful display of Lavenders from Downderry Nursery, too many to choose a favourite so here they are!
img 15561 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
This display of ferns from Fibrex was amazing. Ferns have too long been over looked and it would be wonderful to see some more ferneries appearing!

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Rose of the week- Stanwells perpetual 

stanwell perpetual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 

stanwell perpetual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 
This rose is a slight oddity, it doesn’t fit into the ‘normal’ brackets of our garden roses that we like to add them too, it even doesn’t quite fit into wild shrub rose bracket I like to add the more species based roses into. But that doesn’t make it a bad rose, it just means we humans can’t add it into a ‘bracket’ like we do to understand things. So why is it so difficult to label? Well it’s a cross between rosa pimpinellifolia and an autumn damask rose that happened by accident in a garden in stanwell, Middlesex. It was introduced a few years later by Lee of Hammersmith in 1838. The rose pimpinellifolia is a suckering wild shrub that can be found around Europe including the UK, it tends to flavour a poorish soil and will take over sand dunes quite happily. 

rosa stanwell perpeual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual rosa stanwell perpetual Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 
It does make a shrub up to 5ft tall if allowed but it does make a pretty lax plant that needs the support of the older branches, the thorns are pretty fine and very numerous on the shrub but that adds to its charm added to the greyish green fine foliage that makes a brilliant drop back for the lovely pale pink quartered flowers that have the most delightful scent, that are indeed are borne all summer long and well into the autumn months followed by some large black hips. It is a beautiful rose, one that is at home in a border and also at home in the more wild parts of the garden and was indeed Gertrude Jekylls favourite rose to plant into this type of area. Normally such heavenly quartered flowers aren’t good for bees but this one is the exception and will attract bees in quite happily. It is also an exceptionally tough rose, it will take all soil conditions apart from heavy clay and will also take a shady spot in the garden. In her book of roses, Gertrude Jekyll, recommends planting them 1ft apart to form a self supporting group, from my experience, I would agree with her and found it does make a better specimen if treated like that, otherwise it makes a pretty arching shrub. Can be trained into a informal hedge as well. Pruning is dead easy, almost as easy as rambling roses! Any long growths reduced by 2/3rds and remove expired wood and that’s it! Pretty disease free as well. A great rose to start with! 

Can be brought from most nurseries and garden centres as well as being seen in most good gardens. 

stanwell perpetual 2 Rose of the week  Stanwells perpetual 

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Let’s not forget our heritage roses 

img 0374 Lets not forget our heritage roses 
The pull of the English roses is very great, they are indeed brilliant roses, flowering normally for long periods of time, most with great scent and with fabulous blooms, they are indeed great garden plants and make a worthy addition to most gardens. so let’s make it clear, this isn’t a ‘knocking’ blog against them but a blog singing the praises of older roses, some having being bred over 500yrs ago and make equally great garden plants, that in flower, scentand disease resistance are at least equal to the English roses and in some cases, dare I say it better. It is also a blog questioning why, in some historic gardens, old historic rose gardens as being replanted with just the modern varieties. Yes I can see and understand the pull of having some newer ones within the collections but why replace the whole lot with newer forms? When, in both the historical setting and the beauty of some of the old varieties would fit in so much into the garden. Roses named in honour of historic figures, at age of the original rose garden, would help certainly in leading the eduction of visitors into the world at the time when the house and garden was possiblily at its greatest. Or even marking major world anniversaries like the battle of Waterloo, roses with roses like the ‘Empress Josephine’ and ‘Chapeau de Napoleon’, heroines like ‘Grace Darling’, or a couple of the great houses of England, Yorkshire and Lancastershire. Learning French history? French Revolution.? Adelaide d’Orleans’ may bring it to life even more. They are like a history and culture lesson mixed with beauty, scent, all in one little pocket.

But I hear you cry ‘ these ere old roses only flower once, what’s the point of having something that does nought for the rest of the year!’  It is true that some of the forms like gallica, centifolias and albas tend to flower just the once per year, sometimes a little Second flush in September. But mixed in amongst other roses and shrubs with longer span of interest or even grown as a small climber, it can come and give you a little splash of colour and scent that’s quite unique for these plants. It also gives you something to look forward to, a bit like your birthday, if you had one everyday during the summer, you would get bored wouldn’t you, birthdays are something to look forward too, watching the post everyday leading up to the big day, letting the  anticipation slowly build up, just like going outside and seeing the buds forming, the colour, slowly creeping in and bang the day comes and the highly scented natural work of art opens but unlike our birthdays, this display goes on for 3 weeks of pure enjoyment. But also what about the 100’s of other forms of the heritage roses that flower all summer long, the Portlands, some Moss roses, Bourbons, Hybrid Perpetuals, China’s Tea roses , florundias and Hybrid Teas, yes yes you read the last couple right, floribundas and Hydrid Teas and been around and bred since the 1850’s and have some great old forms well worth trying, they will fill your garden with scent and flowers all summer long!

But but they are full of disease! What rot! No more than modern roses and indeed can be far less. Well admittedly you can buy supposed disease free roses, the first few years they are, but soon the fungus mutates and starts to infect the plant. Yes there’s the odd one that does grow a little weakly and do get a bit of disease but that’s the same with a lot of the modern roses. Some of the old roses like the Portland roses, Comte de Chambord, Rosa de Resht, Amande Patternotte, a lot of the once flowering roses gallica, centifolia, moss roses, alba roses are again pretty disease free, bourbon roses again are pretty tough and so are the hybrid pepetuals. Like all roses they will look a little worse for wear at sometime during the season, well apart rugosas, they are pretty disease free and they have lots of heritage rose forms like ‘blanc double de Combert’ and ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’. And if you prefer perfect leaves then it’s a programme of feeding, mulching and spraying to get the best of them. rosa blanc double de combert 2 Lets not forget our heritage roses 

So please please don’t just go to the local garden centre and pick up the lastest modern rose that the magazines and internet is praising to high heaven, take a little time, a little bit of research and choose a rose that have stood the test of time, entrilled thousands of people over hundreds of years with their beauty and try an old hertiage Rose, you may be pleasantly surprised

rosa gloire de dijon 3 Lets not forget our heritage roses 

Footnote One of the excellent comments I received, I feel is worthwhile adding to the article and here it is

I couldn’t agree with you more, Tom! The old heritage varieties bring not only beauty but also grace and elegance to the garden. Their blooms are perfectly placed and poised upon the plant, and, if sensitively pruned, will arch out into natural arbours. True, many of the Austin hybrids are very beautiful, but their blooms seldom sit comfortably upon the bush. When it comes to Roses, “Big” isn’t always “Best”. One further point in support of the older Midsummer only flowering roses which you touch upon, and that is what I call “the joy of anticipation”. Nothing beats the pleasure of the first unfolding of that summers flowers following an 11 month wait. But if you can’t wait that long, then try ‘Comte de Chambord’; ‘Jacques Cartier’; ‘Rose de rescht’ ‘Salet’; ‘Mousseline’; ‘Indigo’; ‘Amada Paternotte’, ‘Reine des Violettes’; ‘Gruss an Aachen’ and its pink form aka ‘Irene Watts’ etc!

Go on. Give ’em a go!

Thank you very much 🙂

2YnoBk1500924993 Lets not forget our heritage roses 
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Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

osmunda regalis Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

osmunda regalis Plant of the week Osmunda regalia


img 3628 Plant of the week Osmunda regaliaThis plant of the week isn’t one full of flowers but is indeed one of a stately manor, adding a touch of class to any waterside. Indeed this British and European native, is better know as the Royal fern and so rightly deserved. In my mind, it’s the spring time when the ferns start to show their beauty off, the fonds, slowly uncurling their beautiful fronds, in a light green with light brown hair covering them. Once opened, they go a slightly darker colour before going a beautiful buttery yellow and a tinge of brown.

osmunda regalis 2 Plant of the week Osmunda regalia

Osmunda is an ancient plant, dating back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the world dating back to 260 million years ago indeed many fossils have been found around the world including parts of the uk. It differs from other ferns by the fact the have fronds that are there to photosynthesise only and fronds that only are there to produce spores, these sporagia, are brown in colour and indeed look like the fern is flowering.

The name Osmunda is thought to of come from the Saxon god of war, Osmunder! Regalis is from the stately royal look of the fern. It loves growing in damp places including woodland, grasslands and of course, near water courses, it will also survive on limestone outcrops. It is indeed a native of the uk as well as the rest of Europe and into parts of Africa and Asia. In the uk,  it is making a come back after years of collecting both For the plant and for the it’s roots. Why it’s root? Well it made into Osmunda fibre which was used as a potting fibre for tropical orchids. But that’s not its only uses. It can be eaten in its young state and has a taste of asparagus but it’s the sporagia that has the most interesting use, for many centuries in Slavic traditions , the sporagia or Peruns flower was thought to have magical powers from unlocking demons to understanding trees. These had to be collected on Kupala night (thought to be 24/25of June), the collector, had to draw a circle around themselves and the plant, protecting themselves from the taught of demons! Kupala night was changed to Easter eve after Christianity.

osmunda regalis1 Plant of the week Osmunda regalia
In our gardens, it’s best planted near its favourite waterways, around ponds, lakes and streams, where we can enjoy both looking at the plant head on and from the reflection in the water. They just need a dampsite with a good amount of humus present, doesn’t  need much looking after either, just the old fronds removed In late winter. No real pests and diseases either. Some great forms are also available including a couple listed below,  img 4727 Plant of the week Osmunda regaliapurpurascens, that starts of with purple stems and fronds, with the foliage turning green, leaving the stems a shade of purple, love this form! Cristata is a form with more divided leaves

They can be seen widespread in different gardens, two of my favourite places to see them are Savil gardens near Windsor and Lockstock water gardens, near Stockbridge, Hampshire, also most good garden centres or nurseries will sell them. is also a brilliant place to buy

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Plant of the week-Magnolia campbellii

picture1 Plant of the week Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii subsp mollicata
This weeks plant of the week is a personally favourite of mine, I can remember as a young man of 20/21 going on a study tour of the gardens of Cornwall, arranged by the head gardener at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. We went to some stunning gardens, looking around Heligan before it was near full restoration, indeed, I have pictures of the pineapple pits with brambles growing out out, it was so very special seeing the gardens like that. But one sight enthralled me more than anything else, that was seeing for the first time these massive trees, the size of the mighty oaks full of these huge flowers! I still get a spine tingling feeling just thinking about it! The garden in question is certainly one of my favourite gardens in the uk and it is of course Caerhays. I can image the first plant hunters seeing this tree in flower for the first time, seeing it flowering within a forest of rhododendron, towering above them, like the true aristocrat of the  magnolia family and how it must of taken their breathe away, like it did to me all those years ago. Every spring I look forward to seeing these beautiful flowering trees in their full glory.

cambellii1 Plant of the week Magnolia campbellii

Magnolia Campbellii is indeed not a native of this island but comes from the forests of the Himalayas, from Assam, Sikkim, Bhutan and to eastern Nepal where it tends to live 2400-3000m above sea level. The white form was first found in 1838 by a assistant surgeon of the East India company William Griffith but he was beaten into putting his new find into print by the very famous plant hunter sir Joseph Hooker. He found the pink form in 1855 and named it after the political resident based in Darjeeling, Archibald Campbell

The trees can be fast growing in its younger age, sometimes putting on as much as 4ft in one year, it will take many years to get to its full height of over 100ft in the uk. The leaves themselves again are rather massive measuring up to 10inches long by 4inches wide. The humongous flowers can be as much as 20inches wide! The scent is truly delightful, rather delicate but never less very beautiful. If the tree is grown from seed, it can take up to 15 years for the white form to flower and up to 30 years to flower for the pink forms. This time can be reduced if the plant is grafted onto a root stock, normally magnolia campbellii subsp mollicomata, normally down to about 10yrs. The only problem with this queen of the plant world, is that it does flower quite early here in the uk and does tend to get frosted by some late winter frosts.

Magnolia wood is also greatly valued as a light but very strong wood.

Growing wise it needs a good damp very fertile soil that’s slightly on the acidic side. Certainly for the first few years feeding with something like Vitax Q4 fertiliser and well rotten leaf mould or compost would be ideal. Planting wise it’s well worth trying to get a small tree as this will establish much more quickly, planting hole should have a good amount of organic matter added, Vitax Q4 and also mycorrhizal to help to get the plant established. It needs very little pruning at all, just a little formative pruning to remove crossing branches and lower branches. As for pest and diseases, the normal one like honey fungus, phytophthora, slugs, rabbits and deer are the biggest problem here in the uk and again more effected in a early age. More importantly this plant needs space and the the best thing to give it.

There are many forms available to buy but these are the more common forms to buy and plant ‘Alba’ is the white form that is rarely seen, subsp mollicomata is a more pale colour pink picture2 Plant of the week Magnolia campbellii

The places to see these magificent trees are the normal places like Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Wisley Gardens, Kew, Marwood gardens and so many of the beautiful gardens in Cornwall is where it really shines, places like Caerhays, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah, Trengwaiton, i could go there are so many places to enjoy them. to buy Burncose nursery is a great place to try

cambellii Plant of the week Magnolia campbellii


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Job of the week- Pruning Buddleja 

My job of the week this week is back to the job I love most pruning, there is nothing much nicer pruning and shaping a plant knowing that it will look good and encourage better plants for it.

Pruning buddlejas is a pretty simple job, all you need is a pair of really sharp secateurs, a sharp pruning saw and a pair of loppers to carry out the work and also a pair of leather gloves and safety glasses just in case of any slips of the tool and plant kind, always find avoiding A&E ideal as the NHS is so stretched

I like to carry out this task around this time of year as although buddleja are tough plants that will grow anywhere, I have found in the past that doing it early can exposed the new shoots to forest damage and then cause a few problems to the health of the plant.

I aim for a plant that’s about 45cm in height when pruned, as the new growth in the year can be up to 7ft in height, I find pruning down to this height idea to encourage a good shaped plant with lots of new growth coming rom the base. First thing I do is to remove any dead wood out of the plant and remove any old massive stems that are crowding the newer younger stems. The new stems are pruned down to about 35cm to allow the frame work of side branches to form over time. In a couple of years, these will get to the 45cm height and then hopefully removed. For the side growths that are already growing from the frame work of older branches, I remove them down to 2 sets of buds with a straight level cut, why a straight cut? Well the buds on buddejas are oppersite each other so required a flat level cut, other plants like roses are alternate so need a oppersite cut

Well I hope that’s easy to understand and enjoy the weekend of pruning.

img 2114 Job of the week  Pruning Buddleja 
pruning with a start cut just above the bud

img 2113 Job of the week  Pruning Buddleja 
pruning with a start cut just above the bud

img 2125 Job of the week  Pruning Buddleja 
The plant before i start
img 2126 Job of the week  Pruning Buddleja 

img 2083 Job of the week  Pruning Buddleja 
sometimes the saw comes out

img 2127 Job of the week  Pruning Buddleja 
the finished plant with my tools