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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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Plant of the week- Lathyrus vernus

lathyrus vernus1 Plant of the week  Lathyrus vernus

At this time of year, the whole garden is coming to life and there are indeed many plants I could feature but I do have a little soft spot for this little spring pea. As the name suggests, it is in the same family as sweet peas and perennial sweet pea but you would hardly think so, with the other members climbing their way to freedom, this little treasure stays with its feet firmly on the ground, reaching no more than 30cm tall.

lathyrus vernus Plant of the week  Lathyrus vernusThe flowers of Lathyrus Vernus themselves are so noticeable as to belonging in the pea family, these small purple delights open from early April and flower until May. It is indeed a native of Europe from France to the Caucasus and from Turkey to Siberia. In this areas it grows on dry slopes, thickets and light wooded areas on the chalky areas within those countries. In our gardens, it does seem to thrive in most soils from thin chalky soils to heavy acidic clay ones. Lathyrus vernus does indeed make a great garden plant. Once it is flowered, the plant remains green for the rest of the summer and doesn’t die down, unlike the majority of the spring flowering plants. The black seeds are poisonous, causing upset stomachs.

Lathyrus vernus takes a little time to bulk up into a clump and it doesn’t like to be disturbed whilst growing so it ideal if it’s planted somewhere it can be left alone for a while. It requires very little food as like all in the legume family, it provides its own nitrogen from the bacteria that live on the root nodes

lathyrus vernus1 Plant of the week  Lathyrus vernuskThe names Lathyrus comes from the Greek word meaning lathyros meaning pea or pulse while vernus means spring as it flowers in the spring

It is pretty easy to propagate, either by dividing it up in the spring or by sowing seed. It can be found for sale in any good nursery

20180226 202933 Plant of the week  Lathyrus vernus
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Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

img 2637 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

Ahh at last a little bit of sun and as we expected it went from being cold, damp and wet to being subtropical in a few days, temperatures hitting a high of 29c. This warm weather is certainly making the plants and the grass grow like anything. Indeed one lawn, well the only lawn I now mow, has gone straight from not needing to be cut, to a weekly cut now. At least in this sun and heat, the hoe can come out and any small weeds coming up can be easily removed. Anyway on to the six on Saturday, which once more come from the delights of my own garden

img 2636 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

The new fronds of the ferns are now slowly emerging and there can be none more attractive than the Japanese painted fern, Athyrium niponicum ‘Red Beauty’ who said foliage is dull and boring, certainly no one who has seen this plant!

img 2633 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

Yes you have been warned, there’s a few tulips in my six this week, this is another beauty called Infinity, I love the combination of ivory white and pink, funny enough it becomes more pink as the flower ages.

img 2635 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

Had to add the dark new foliage of Geranium espresso as it appears from the ground, just how dark and beautiful is this colour! You can see where the name came from can’t you.

img 2634 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

Another cracker that has only been around for 10yrs or so, a tulip called Green Star and what a cracker! I love the way the green shoots up in lines into the whiteness. Another form I shall be getting again next year!

img 2622 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

This specie tulip has to be one of the most slender and pointed out of all the tulips, this form is called clusiana ‘Shelia’ hoping this will come again regularly for me in the pots.

img 2638 Six on Saturday 21st of April 2018

Lastly we have the most cute little primula you will ever see, again a new addition to the garden from my order from Barnhaven primroses, primula farinosa or the birds eye primula. it is an Alpine and will be going into a new alpine tub I am hoping to be building soon!

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

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

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Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

img 0735 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

Well well well it had to happen, yes we had not one but two and I repeat it two, dry days oh my word!so nice not to get into the house each night as a sodden mess, wet clothes in the armfuls, filling up the house with um a pleasant soily damp smell that’s further enhanced by the following evening when the next load comes in, well I think it is pleasant, my partner will no doubt disagree!

In all seriousness, it has been wonderful to see the sun and the sun has brought out the flowers around the garden. It’s starting to have that spring feeling at last. Last year one of my roses was half open, this year, it’s only just broken into leaf this year and that says a lot doesn’t. But never mind, Mother Nature has a way of catching up with things and I dare say we will be getting a warm dry spell at sometime in the near future.

This weeks six on Saturday comes from my clients gardens. My garden is being rather stubborn and isn’t producing me with any plants of interest and I haven’t had time to do anything in there yet and that’s the keyword yet!

img 2485 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

I couldn’t resist this photo of Aesculus hippocastrum or horse chestnut of its leaves slowly unfurling, looks to me like it’s shading its eyes from the incoming big yellow ball that it’s not seen for a while or it’s waving to the sun saying hello. Ok ok bear with bear with its been a long cold winter…..

img 2481 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

Ahh another Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ now I do love ribes and the white form of the red flowering currant is another I look forward to in the spring months and here it is in the sun looking beautiful

img 2482 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

Euphorbia myrsinites was the first of this huge family I learnt as a young boy and still is a favourite of mine, I love the foliage effect as well as the acidic yellow flowers

img 2475 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

Ahh magnolias, once someone told me it was better to be late than to never arrive! Magnolias are living up to this saying this year. The cold spring has certainly put them back and it’s wonderful to see them flowering around the gardens once more, really makes me think spring is here! Oh before I forget it’s a magnolia stellata not sure on form, it’s under investigation, now where’s my magnolia book!

img 2483 2 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

The stinking hellebores look so majestic at this time of the year, helleborus foetidus is it’s botanical name, loves a bit of shade but again I love the green flowers, dipped in a little bit of purple around the edges

img 2490 Six on Saturday, 7th of April, 2018

Full apologies for the crap photo, the little bugger wouldn’t say still! I have a feeling this comma didn’t want to appear on six on Saturday, bad form I say, bad form. Seriously it was wonderful to see the sun brining out the butterflies. I saw so many brimstones (they didn’t want to be photographed either!) fluttering around the gardens and also one peacock and this one battered comma!

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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Plant of the week- Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’

img 2304 Plant of the week  Corylus avellana Contorta

img 2303 Plant of the week  Corylus avellana Contorta

There’s always a space for a bit of madness in the garden then this plant know more commonly as the contorted hazel certainly brings this trait into the garden in spades. The way the stems twist and turn amongst themselves is unlike any other plant in the garden. These stems, so loved by the florists, who use them both in their natural state and sprayed into a mix of colours, also have a huge use in the garden, even more if highlighted with a evergreen planting behind it, allowing the stems to really show off their twisted features. It is such a main feature in a winter garden

img 2304 Plant of the week  Corylus avellana Contorta

Corylus Avellana is of course a British native know as hazel. It has huge commercial use for thousands of years, being used to make all forms of items from charcoal to hazel fencing know as wattles. It’s main are of use is of course the hazel nut, loved by us for 1000s of years. The botanical name comes from the Greek word korys meaning helmet, from the calyx that covers the top of each nut while Avellana is named after the Italian town Avella, the centre of nut production many years ago.This form ‘Contorta’ commonly called the corkscrew hazel and Harry Lauder’s walking stick after a famous Victorian comedian, was discovered in a hedgerow near the small village of Frocester, Gloucestershire in 1863 by Canon Ellacombe. He was a very well respected gardener, who passed it on to his great friend, Edward Bowles who grew it at his home, Middleton House.

img 2300 1 Plant of the week  Corylus avellana Contorta

Small female flowers

Corylus Avellana ‘Contorta’ is a slow growing shrub, making a height of about 15ft in 20 years or so, it’s contorted stems look beautiful in the garden. Like all hazels, it prefers a nice loamy soil but it will grow in most soils including sandy, clay and chalky soils. It will take a quite a bit of shade being a woodland shrub but it also grows well in full sun. It doesn’t need a lot of care, just some mulch of well rotten compost or green waste and Vitax Q4 to keep the soil fertile. The leaves are like normal hazel leaves and the large male yellow catkins I find, are borne a little later than the straight form. The female flowers are much smaller and almost like a red spider and are found on the main stems. They are pollinated by the wind.

img 2301 Plant of the week  Corylus avellana Contorta

The male catkins

Corylus Avellana ‘Contorta’ is general disease free but it does suffer a few pests like the normal aphids, sawflies, gall wasps and a few butterflies and moths lay their eggs on it like the large emerald, small white wave, barred umber and nut-tree tussock. The nuts are also eaten by a wide range of animals but famously as food for the dormouse. There is also a purple form called ‘Red Majestic’ that is for some reason rarely offered but should be!

Corylus Avellana ‘Contorta’ is propagated by grafting on to straight Corylus Avellana in most Nursery propagation so any long and straight stems need to be removed. It is possible to propagate by hard wood cuttings taken in late November but they are well known for being difficult! It doesn’t need any form of pruning, stems that are growing the wrong way or coming out too far can be pruned back either during the growing season or in the winter. Like all hazels, it can be copiced hard back, down to a stump if required, in late winter. This method is ideal to do every 2-3years if the stems are required for use in flower arranging.

It can be seen in most gardens and is widely available to buy from most good Nurseries

20180226 202933 Plant of the week  Corylus avellana Contorta