Six new garden plants for July 2020

Yes we have been plant shopping once again over recent months. Certainly there have been far more than six (!) but here are a selection for this week’s Six-on-Saturday.

One: Euonymous japonicus ‘Benkamasaki’ (Erecta)

We have cleared and replanted a short path near the entrance to the garden gate. Although this area looked lovely for a short time during the early summer it tended to look rather untidy and drab for the rest of the year.

We have been looking for plants that will keep there shape and also have some kind of interest during the winter months as well. There is nothing worse than having to brush past wet plants in the winter months every time you go in and out of the house. Rejuvenating this area has also allowed us to dig up, divide and replant the bearded iris that grow well here.

Browsing around the local plant nurseries we came across this Euonymous japonicus which we have not grown before. It has an erect fastigiate habit of branches that are entirely covered in shiny evergreen small leaves.

P1040470 Euonymous Jap Benkamasaki

Two: Rose ‘Eustacia Vye’

P1040482Rose Eustacia Vye

The recent lockdown period has also given us time to totally redesign a large border that is directly opposite the patio and one that we often sit near whilst having our relaxed morning coffee (the joys of retirement!). The new border has become known as the ‘Moon Garden’ and the intention is to create a bed that continues to shine in the evening light but also has gentle hints of colour to enjoy during the day. Fragrance will also be an important component of this area as the design develops.

One of the focal plants in this bed will be Rose ‘Eustacia Vye’. We have just planted six of these lovely roses and already they are flowering their socks off. Apparently named after the flawed heroine of Thomas Hardy’s “The Return of the Native”, this rose is highly fragrant and has deep pink buds that open to these delicate apricot pink blooms and age to a soft pink. I am really looking forward to the impact of these shrubs in the years to come.

P1040463 Rose Eustacia Vye

The new Moon Garden will have a range of white and purple flowers that seem to shine out or glow at dusk. These include plants such as Lysimachia clethroides, Nicotiana sylvestris and the white cosmos ‘Purity’. We have also included the tall purple Verbena bonariensis which to my mind seems to just glow in the evening light.

However it is not just about the flowers as we have also decided to include a a range of plants with silver foliage to add to the effect. These include:

Three: Euphorbia characias ‘Tasmanian Tiger’

P1040479 Euphorbia characias Tasmanian Tiger

This evergreen perennial should grow into a significant plant of around 60cm in height and width. It has striking grey leaves edged with cream white.

Euphorbias seem to like our garden soil and hopefully this one will also settle in well to this bed which is well drained and in full sun all day long.

Four: Helichrysum stoechas ‘White Barn’

Discovered and named by Beth Chatto, we have placed a couple of these lavender sized plants within the new Moon Garden to add additional grey foliage but also a slightly different texture.

P1040481 Helichrysum stoechas White Barn

Five: Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Ball’ and ‘Golden Ball’

P1040480 Pittosporum Silver Ball

‘Silver Ball’ was another impulse buy as we wandered around the plant nursery. Again for the Moon Garden, our intention is that these will add some formality and structure to this border. A native of New Zealnd, it is a compact, dense shrub that should create two neat domes of around 80cm.

However, having fallen in love with ‘Silver Ball’ we just had to go back and get ‘Golden Ball’ for the new ‘tidy’ beds at the garden entrance and front of the house that I mentioned earlier. The intention here is to create a ‘warmer’ evergreen feature with the golden leaves that will look good both in summer but also throughout the darker winter days.

P1040469 Pittosprum Golden Ball

Six: Coleus

In last weeks six we highlighted a range of the container plants that we are trying this year and there wasn’t room to include some of the Coleus that we have discovered. We haven’t grown Coleus since the 80’s and possibly they are a bit out of fashion these days. However, there seemed to be some wonderful varieties available now and they happened to find their way into the shopping basket. All being well we should be able to bulk these up and propogate them if are careful.

I am not sure we have found the right position for them yet as some are getting marked. The beauty of plants in pots is that you can move them around to find the position they like best.

P1040476 Coleus Flame Thrower
Coleus ‘Flame Thrower’
P1040474 Coleus Gays Delight
Coleus ‘Gay’s Delight’
P1040475 Coleus Redhead
Coleus ‘Redhead’

In addition to those we found at the nursery we have also successfully grown ‘Festive Dance’ from seed this year. They have been hugely successful and are rather cute little baby plants with a gentle ‘sparkle’ on the leaves.

P1040543 Coleus Festive Dance
Coleus ‘Festive Dance’

The Six on Saturday meme is hosted by The Propagator. Click on the link to be inspired by what other plant lovers are enjoying this weekend.

Potted Highlights

We have been experimenting this year by creating a range of different summer planters to add pops of vibrant colour throughout the garden. Next year is our daughter’s wedding which we are hosting here in the garden and it is giving us a chance to see just what works and what is less successful. It is still early days but here are six that look particularly promising so far.

One: Surfinia Pink Vein

P1040494

These pink surfinias, grown from plugs, are stunning little plants producing huge numbers of these striking flowers. We have planted them in a large terracota planter surrounding a central pink leaved cordyline and partnered with grey leaved Helichrysum petiolare, purple verbena and white bacopa.

P1040493

Two: Begonia odorata ‘Angelique’ and Begonia ‘Cascading splendide ballerina’

In previous years we have found that these large begonias make a real statement on the patio. We normally grow the lighter ‘Angelique’ but this year have partnered it with the orange ‘Ballerina’. Looked after carefully over winter the corms will grow larger and larger every year so an initial investment can provide years of pleasure. I think these sit nicely with the lavender and wisteria.

P1040477

Three: Super Petunia (Beautical) – French Vanilla, Caramel Yellow and Cinnamon

Super Petunias are calibrachoa and petunia hybrids. So far they are performing extremely well and it will be interesting to see if we can keep them looking fresh and wonderful throughout the summer months.

P1040466

Four: Lotus Fire Vine

We have also been looking for something that will trail nicely from hanging baskets and provide a more tropical look. These Lotus Fire Vine plants have been slow to get going but they are now coming into flower producing these interesting claw-like orange flowers which look lovely against the glaucus foliage.

P1040519

Five: Super Petunia (Beautical) – Bordeaux and Sunray Pink

Here we have some more Super Petunias this time in pink and a deep, dark velvety burgundy. They look great contrasting against the dark Cotinus and the silver foliage of the Santolina.

P1040499

Six: Zaluzianskya (Nigh Phlox)

Finally for something completely different. As the wedding is in August next year we are of course hoping for a warm, sultry summer evening where the guests can wander amongst the plants and enjoy a garden at dusk filled with scent. Zaluzianskya is certainly not a large plant but these tiny flowers fill the air with a wonderful fragrance.

Scented evening flowers of Zaluzianskya capensis


The Six on Saturday meme is hosted by The Propagator. Click on the link to be inspired by what other plant lovers are enjoying this weekend.

Suppliers

Suttons ( suttons.co.uk ) – Super Petunias, Surfinias and Lotus Fire Vine

Parkers ( dutchbulbs.co.uk ) – Begonias

Chiltern Seeds ( chilternseeds.co.uk ) – Night Phlox

Crinum x powelli ‘Album’

Every year we enjoy searching through the catalogues and are nearly always tempted to try something a little different that we have not grown before.  In March 2018 we bought three Crinum x powelli ‘Album’ bulbs to see if we could successfully grow these dramatic plants with their large white trumpet flowers.

Although they are classed as fully hardy we thought we would be cautious and plant them in pots at first.  This would allow us to move them into the polytunnel in winter to give them some additional protection.  Crinum bulbs are simply enormous and so we had to get hold of some suitably large terracotta pots. We planted the bulbs in a mix of ⅔ John Innes No 3 compost and ⅓ perlite. We used perlite (instead of grit) to add extra drainage but also to reduce the overall weight.

Crinum bulb with 2p piece for scale
Huge Crinum bulb with 2p piece for scale

The plants grew well in the first year producing a profusion of large strappy leaves but no flowers.  We were warned that we might need to be patient (something we find a bit difficult!) and allow them to settle in.  Last year however, in early August, we were rewarded with the most wonderful display of large white trumpet flowers.  We had up to eight flowers per stem, opening in succession, on tall study stems.  They looked wonderful amongst the dahlias and blue agapanthus.

Over winter we have been protecting the pots in our cold polytunnel and I came across them yesterday as I was moving a number of small fruit trees.  They look comfortably dormant at the moment but it struck me that it might be timely to read up on how to prepare them for the coming season.

Anna Pavord’s book ‘Bulb’¹ advises that in the wild Crinums grow on the banks of streams or along lake shores. They require full sun but also require moist but well drained, organic rich soil.  Bearing in mind that the books also indicate that they hate root disturbance I think that I will carefully scrap away the top layer of soil and and give them a top dressing of fresh compost ready for the new year.

As the plants grow to 36 inches in height I think I probably need to be better at feeding and watering them next year.  I must admit that once the summer is in full swing we don’t always feed plants as much as we probably should.  However, I think I must try harder if these Crinums are to have all they need to grow their large leaves, flower profusely and maintain the bulb for the following year.

These are such lovely plants and if you have the space I would certainly recommend that you give them a go.

P1030237 Crinum
Picture taken on 3 August

Further information

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Hybrid: Crinum x powellii is a hybrid cross between C. moorei and C. bulbispermum

Further reading

¹ “Bulb” by Anna Pavord (ISBN 978-1-84533-415-4)

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – June begins

There are so many lovely things happening in the garden at the moment that it has proved really difficult to decide what to include here today.  I’ve tried in this six to simply give an idea of six contrasting parts of the garden.


One:  Hesperis matronalis (Sweet Rocket)

I am delighted with how this bed of sweet rocket has performed this year.  Growing to about 4 feet in height this mix of the white and purple plants has flowered for weeks.  As a biennial planted last June it is well worth the effort and the space.  The scent, particularly in the evening, just hangs in the air and always strikes you as you pass the summer house.

It is nearly time to start sowing again so I can enjoy it all again next year.  I usually sow biennials around the summer solstice so that the plants are large enough to plant out by the autumn equinox.

P1030066


Two:  Cornus kousa

This Japanese (or Chinese) dogwood is a small tree that seems to start the year well and then later in the year starts to struggle a little.  Perhaps its position in the garden is not ideal but it has survived for many years now.  It is particularly striking at the moment and is ‘flowering’ well.  I say ‘flowering’ as it is the crisp white bracts against the fresh green leaves that produce the show rather than the small yellow-green flowers that are rather inconspicuous.  I think it looks really good against the grey-green leaves of the eucalyptus behind.  All planned of course!

P1030087


Three:  The new flower garden

Regular visitors to the blog will know that we have retired from commercial flower growing and are converting the old (rather utilitarian) production space into a new more aesthetically pleasing flower garden.  It has been a lot of hard work but this year it is really taking off.

The Chandelier (yellow) and Noble Maiden (white) lupins sown from seed last year have established well and look wonderful.  Here they are planted amongst dutch iris in blues, whites and yellows and set off by the lime green of the Euphorbia oblongata which seeds itself freely around the plot but sets off other plants beautifully.

The delphiniums, Aconitum and roses are all budding up and can be seen here as well and will create the follow on display.

P1030097


Four:  Anthriscus sylvestris in the copse

Some may consider Cow Parsley a weed but we love it, encouraging it to grow freely in the dappled shade of the woodland areas of the garden.  It is a delight to walk through this area in the early morning sun.

P1030051


Five:   Amsonia

One of our pleasures in life, when we are not gardening, is to visit other peoples gardens!  This time last year we came across Amsonia when the village of Wasperton opened its gardens in aid of the local church.  We just had to have one but struggled to find it in any of the local nurseries.

However, as usual, Avondale nurseries came up trumps.  This nursery in Baginton on the outskirts of Coventry is always worth a visit.  Take some money with you though as I promise you will be tempted with something.

Having found Amsonia at last we could not buy just one.  I am happy to report that both have survived the winter and started to flower.  I am really looking forward to seeing them develop over the years.

P1030107


Six:  Valerian

I have always known Valerian as Centranthus rubra but Wikipedia seems to list it as Valeriana officinalis at the moment.  It is very common and easy to grow but placed in the right location it can create a stunning display especially when you mix up the slightly different shades of red, pink and white.

Here we have a patch in a very dry area of poor soil in hot sun just above the garage.  It creates a beautiful cottage garden display at this time of year growing amongst the self sown Aquilegia, the Bearded Iris and Oriental Poppies.  The white of the Spirea immediately behind provides a lovely back drop.

P1030075


The Six on Saturday meme is hosted by The Propagator. Click on the link to see what other plant lovers are chatting about.

The new rose garden begins to flower – very exciting!

When we started this blog last September we described our dreams and plans to create a beautiful new flower garden.  Our intention was to move away from a cut garden focused purely on growing cut flowers for sale in regimented straight beds to a more aesthetically pleasing space, still a cutting garden but somewhere that you want to stop, sit and enjoy.

During the winter we spent many hours preparing the ground and setting out the new layout, planting the new formal hedging and building the new rose arches.  In March we started to plant out all the new roses we had spent many happy hours choosing from the catalogues.

Despite all the challenges with the weather during the long cold, wet winter and now the heat and drought of mid-summer, the new roses are developing wonderfully.  Behind the new short clipped hedge we have planted a selection of pink and white roses ranging from deep dusky pink through mid-pink to pure white.  All have been chosen for their scent, repeat flowering and suitability for cutting.

All four varieties have been flowering for some weeks now and with regular dead heading are continuing to repeat flower.  The foliage seems to be disease free so far.

Here are the four varieties we have planted in this area:

Rose "Sweet Parfum de Provence"
Rose “Sweet Parfum de Provence”
Rose "Prince Jardinier"
Rose “Prince Jardinier”
Rose "A Whiter Shade of Pale"
Rose “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
Rose "White Perfumella"
Rose “White Perfumella”

We have written previously about our plans for enhancing the garden in the evenings with white blooms that shine out in the dusk and with scent that hangs in the air ( Zaluzianskya – Twilight Scent ).  These light coloured blooms have been introduced as part of these plans with the aim of illuminating the walk around the garden at dusk.


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.

 

 

Zaluzianskya – Twilight Scent

Last autumn we were inspired by Lia Leendertz’s book Twilight Garden¹ and we undertook to increase the number of plants and flowers that come into their own in the evening light. Our aim was to increase the impact of the garden as the sun goes down adding walk ways of light and scented flowers around the garden and, in particular, in areas where we sit of an evening.

This summer has proved to be perfect – hot and dry and ideal for sitting out on those long balmy evenings.

There are a number of plants listed in Lia’s book that we have not come across before. One of these is Zaluzianskya or Night Phlox. It is a rather uninspiring plant during the heat of the day as all the flowers close up showing only the maroon undersides of the petals. Come the evening however, the flowers open into a myriad of shining white stars that seem to glow in the fading light. Their wonderful scent begins to hang in the air. Scents are often difficult to describe but we both feel the scent of Zaluzianskya is interestingly different from many other flowers. To my mind it is a complex aroma of honey and sweets with a spicy edge.

The species that we have grown from seed is Zaluzianskya capensis ‘Midnight Candy’ ( available from Chiltern Seeds ). Lia’s book talks also of a different species Zaluzianskya ovata which we may well try next year having had so much success with Z. capensis this year.

If you are looking to bring a new dimension to your garden in the evening this is something fun to try. It will certainly be a talking point if you use your garden for sitting out and entertaining.

On using Zaluzianskya as a cut flower the jury is still out. It does cut and we have placed it in water in small ‘jam-jar’ arrangements. The flowers do seem to open in the evening for a dinner party but we have found that the scent does not seem to be as intense as from those flowers opening in the fresh air on the patio. Why we are not yet sure. Our conclusion so far is therefore to grow it in small pots so that you can bring out the potted plants and place them strategically where you want them.

Well worth having a try if you have not grown this before.

Latin name: Zaluzianskya capensis

Height: 45cm

Hardy annual

Common name: Night Phlox

Native origins: South Africa

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Further Reading

¹ “Twilight garden – a guide to enjoying your garden in the evening hours” by Lia Leendertz (ISBN 9781862059115)

 


Honey Pot Flowers are wedding and celebration florists based in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom specialising in natural, locally grown seasonal flowers. We grow many of our own flowers allowing us to offer something very different and uniquely personal.