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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- 19th of May 2018

img 2778 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Well happy Saturday one and all and it’s great to be back writing the SoS for the first time in a couple of weeks. This excellent meme helps to focus your mind of 6 things that are happening in your garden, yes at times it can be hard to find them but other times you end up with 10 or so things you could include but have to whittle down to 6. This also allows you time to wander around the garden, relax and enjoy things that are happening in there at the time. I think anything that helps you enjoy the hard work you do in the garden and helps to share the successes and failures, is great in my book.

Anyway a lots happened in the last few weeks and the garden at home is really coming on, the roses are budding up and I managed to get to a great plant sale on bank holiday Monday and I do expect those plants brought will be making an appearance soon. My roses are a little late this year, full of bud with colour occurring, I feel they will be open soon, right mr Stone lets get on with the six!

img 2735 1 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Geranium phaeum Connie Broe is one of those marmite plants, you either love it or hate it, I have a soft spot for her indeed and I love the marbling foliage on this plant and I look forward to seeing the foliage and flowers each year. As soon as she finishes flowering this year, I shall be lifting and dividing and replanting once more.

img 2776 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

One plant I think will feature heavily this week is Allium purple sensation and it is looking wonderful at the moment. It’s big selling point has to be the fact it gives a little bit of height and colour just after the tulips have finished

img 2741 1 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018img 2744 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

About 18months ago, I went to a Niwaki training day held at Architectural Plants and led by the great Jake Hobson and this is the tree I cam back home with. I am still training it and have just given it its first trim up, quite pleased!

img 2778 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Yes yes another geranium, this time it’s Himalayense Derek Cook, himalayense has a nasty habit of taking over the world, so far Derek has been well behaved, just hope he carries on like this!

img 2777 Six on Saturday  19th of May 2018

Not a rose flower but a close up of the new foliage and buds, just how lovely are the buds and new leaves of this moss rose called little gem, I love the softness and the scent from the mossy growth, soon the flowers will be out and the scent from those will be even better

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The lovely flowers of sea thrifts are slowly appearing and Pride of Düsseldorf is one of my favourites, such an easy to grow plant that loves a free draining site and makes a perfect addition to my Alpine pots.

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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Plant of the week-Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’

There are so many plants around at the moment that is it very hard to choose one plant for plant of the week but this is one of my favourite spring flowering plants.

img 2672 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’This tough little plant also known as leopards bane, delights us in the spring with it daisy like open bright yellow flowers that are about 50mm wide, so loved by bees and the early flying butterflies. Their opening is like the welcoming in of spring and on dreary sunless days, the fresh green heart shaped foliage and sun yellow flowers brighten up any day! It looks great in the garden but also they make great cut flowers for indoors

img 2673 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ Is a small low growing plant, not getting much taller than 40cm tall here in the uk and the clumps don’t get much wider than that. It will grow in most soils and conditions, although it does prefer the soil to be slightly damp and moisture retentive, normally in full sun or semi shade . That said I have grown it on al types of soils from sandy, free draining to thin clay soils to clay soils. The only thing I have noticed is that the foliage tends to disappear quicker in the late summer if it drys out too much or indeed the weather gets too hot. That’s well worth remembering if you are planting it out in the borders.

img 2674 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’ is an old garden hybrid that’s been around for years, it is possibly a hybrid of D.austriacum or D.causcasicum but again no one is sure. It is easy to propagate both from seed and also by division. Division is best done in the early autumn months, so the plant has time to reestablish itself before flowering in the spring.

It is a great easy to grow early flowering perennial that is widely planted, grown and sold, if you haven’t got it in your garden, it maybe well worth adding a plant or two

20180226 202933 Plant of the week Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’
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Underplanting roses- part 2, a few idea

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Geranium pratense ‘Mrs Kendall Clark’

img 4974 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Eryngium giganteum

img 6694 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Digitalis purpurea f.albiflora

img 5112 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Sisyrinchium striatum

012 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Campanula latiloba

img 6699 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Anchusa azurea

bed09ab2005 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Dianthus old garden hybrids

img 4141 1 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Geranium psilostemon

img 5058 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Penstemon ‘Pensham Wedding Day’

img 5124 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Penstemon ‘Hidcote Purple’

penostemon hidcote purple Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Tanacetum parthenium ‘Flore Pleno’

img 3948 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

Cotinus coggygria

img 1106 Underplanting roses  part 2, a few idea

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

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

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Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

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

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

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

011 Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

global blogging feature Under planting roses part 1, the reasoning behind its
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Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

img 2083 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

February is disappearing rather fast now with only one more Saturday left before we hit March. The mornings are certainly much lighter and as for the evenings,it’s almost light until 6pm now. Another month and the clocks will change and spring forward, at last we will be able to do a little more in the garden at home after finishing work. I still can’t believe the amount of rain we had, everywhere seems so water logged and it’s a surprise for us this Saturday, it’s the first one in 6weeks when I shouldn’t be raining, that is going to be so nice indeed.

Well it’s confession time, I was planning to do a six from a clients garden this week but I got caught up in the rose pruning so umm I didn’t get around to it sadly, so somehow I managed to get another six from my own garden, helped with a bit of sun I may add!

img 2075 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

Primroses to me signal the start of spring and even though this is a large flowering hybrid, it just looks full of promise and very delightful as well

img 2070 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

Ahh yes there will be a couple of snowdrops I think this one is called Sibbertorf white and it’s one of the pure white forms with only a tiny bit of green on the flower

img 2074 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

And then there’s Rosemary Burnham, one of my all time favourites, I love theses forms with green veining on the petals

img 2073 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

My paper white daffodils are nearly flowering, a tad earlier that I planned as they are under planted with some crocus, that Um where supposed to come up first and the paperwhites in end of April, oh well that’s gardening!

img 2078 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

My prostrate rosemary is just starting to flower once more I love having this in an old chimney pot, I think it really enhances the flowers and foliage,

img 2083 Six on Saturday: 17.02.2018

My beautiful Edgeworthii is now open and in full flower, the courtyard garden is filled with its stunning scent but it was totally amazing to see my first butterfly of 2018, a red admiral, land on it and feed on its nectar. Wow took my breathe way!

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: Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plant of the week-Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. spectabilis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Plant of the week- 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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