Wednesday, 26 April 2017

All that glitters ...





Precious things don't have to be valuable things - a shell from the beach or a fossil from the garden can be treasured just as much as objects which have monetary worth. Whilst all plants in the garden are to be nurtured and enjoyed, there are some which are more special than others. Over the last couple of weeks I seem to have picked up more special ones than usual - ones I have been looking for for a long time, or unusual ones which I have been reading about. Sometimes, it is seeing the right plant for a certain place which seems to give it additional value. I bought mine over two trips - one to Harrogate Spring Flower Show, and a second to Stillingfleet Nursery, near York.

Stillingfleet is essentially a nursery growing unusual perennials and well worth a visit if that is what you are interested in, but as they sell little else, it is a little niche. I absolutely loved it, as I was able to buy plants I have been searching for for a long time. There is a comprehensive online plant catalogue so that you can browse it before your visit. I was impressed by the quality of the plants and by the way they are kept. All are watered and weed free - seems pretty basic stuff, but it is surprising how many of the large garden centres can't seem to get that right.

There is an acclaimed garden at Stillingfleet too, but I didn't have time to visit , so will go back later in the season.


One of the main plants I wanted was Podophillum 'Spotty Dotty', a woodland plant with most unusual foliage. I thought my existing plant had failed to survive the winter, as there had been no sign of it coming through - and it is hard to miss! Of course, the day after I bought my new one, I spotted my initial one steadfastly making an appearance. Oh well, you can never have too may!

I once read an entry in a plant catalogue where it was described as having "something of the toad" about it, and that is a perfect summary for both colour and texture, and has stayed with me.

As a woodlander it prefers some shade and also moisture, growing to about 60 cm, with large, mottled leaves.


I also fell for the charms of sibling Podophillum Pefltatum, which is a bit of an unknown quantity for me, but a very handsome chap. Another woodland plant, enjoying partial shade and moist soil. It is described as 'vigorous'.


My next little gem is Euphorbia 'Tiny Tim' growing to a lovely compact 30cm. Euphorbias are some of my favourite plants, and, if they do have a fault, it is that they can be large and rangey. 'Tiny Tim' seems like the perfect solution, and I intend to place my two at the front of a border. Euphorbias will grow in quite difficult conditions, and will tolerate dry shade which would defeat many other plants.






The plant above is new to me, but I fell for the dramatic patterning on the leaves. It is Lunaria 'Chedglow' and leaves start off with this chocolate spotting and gradually become darker and darker until it is a dark purple all over, and nearly black just before it flowers. It is, of course, a variety of the old cottage garden favourite Honesty, but certainly much more interesting than any I have grown before. The flowers appear larger than the norm and are a bright lilac colour. It is a biennial and - joy of joys - it self seeds. The stems are a pleasing dark red, in contrast to the leaves.




Brunnera are just the best plants in the world - they make an appearance early in the year with forget - me - not blue, frothy flowers, and are still there at the end of the season. They give a constant display of the most wonderful, dramatic foliage, whilst the plant itself stays reasonably compact and tidy. I have tried to get some every year to build up my collection, as they are so useful in every area of the garden. Most of mine are 'Jack Frost', 'Hadspen Cream' and 'Seaheart' , and I welcomed the chance to try some new -to -me varieties. The photo above is 'Jack's Gold', with a green gold edging to the leaves, which fades to silver.

'Looking Glass' is a new introduction, and the leaves grow to be totally silver.


The leaves on brunneras start off really small at the beginning of the season, and grow larger and larger as it progresses. They like cool shade/ partial shade and I have found that they will cope with dry shade, and full sun. They are very easy to please actually, and I have yet to lose one.


I also found an interesting Lobelia  'Tania', with variegated, pink flushed foliage and deep crimson flowers, growing to about 3' tall. It is reported to be hardy in it's situation just south of York. Lobelias are another lovely group of plants worthy of further investigation. I have read that it needs damp soil in summer, much like L. Cardinalis, but is prone to rotting over winter. That sounds like a bit of a conundrum, so it may be easier just to overwinter it in a cool greenhouse, ensuring that it is kept drier than in summer.

Last treasure is a giant I have been searching for for a while - Cardiocrinum Gigantium. I have tried growing it from seed with zero success! I snapped this up at the Harrogate Flower show, on the stand of a bulb specialist.


It can grow up to 2.5 m tall and takes around years to flower. It grows in the Himalayas, so can cope with cool temperatures. It is monocarpic, so dies after flowering. Another interesting plant to grow, although the grower assured me that it is easy to look after and very undemanding.

Harrogate Spring Flower Show is held on the Great Yorkshire show ground, which is set in lovely countryside, just off the A1. The show itself is a bit underwhelming as far as the show gardens go, and is more of a showcase for a variety of nurseries and growers, both specialist and main stream. Very enjoyable however, particularly when the sun shines.

New plants are always a learning experience, and one which doesn't always end well! Hopefully I can provide the conditions needed to keep my new additions happy and healthy.


























23 comments:

  1. This is a great list of new plants. I like euphorbias but I haven't had luck growing them. Your list also reminds me that I should try some other Brunnera. My Jack Frost has done so well in the garden and I never think to try another. I love those sweet little forget-me-not flowers and the foliage is so pretty. Good luck with all your new finds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa, Brunneras seem to cope with anything and still look fantastic. I wish I had discovered them years ago ! Jack Frost is beautiful and my new varieties will have to be pretty special to compete with him!

      Delete
  2. I'm pleased to see that you cast aside any thoughts of restraint and now have a wonderful collection of new plants to welcome into your garden. Sadly your gain is also mine, because having seen these plants, I now have a yearning for some of them... and so the wish list grows again. Good luck with your Cardiocrinum giganteum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Restraint ? What is the meaning of that word ?
      Am digging in for a long wait re Cardiocrinum!

      Delete
  3. Hi Jane, I would love to see your woodland garden. You have so many interesting and beautiful plants that inspire me. I haven't planted Honesty in years as The Saver hates them and calls the seed pods scabs. BUT....I may be able to sneak them in undetected as my woodland garden fills out...(Hmmm..do I need marriage counseling??) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hah! Love the 'scabs' comment! That will stay with me for a long time...
      I hope my new woodland plants live long and prosper, rather than shrivel and die ! I will report back!

      Delete
  4. You said the magic words, "dry shade", I didn't think our wet garden would have any but with raised borders and dense planting, the understorey can get dry and shady and I've noted down the plants you've mentioned as being able to cope with dry shade, so now I can cram even more plants into the border!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Dry shade' used to be the words which would instigate my gardening anxiety, but not any more, what with Brunneras, euphorbias and hardy geraniums in my arsenal!!

      Delete
  5. We've been to Stillingfleet a couple of times and enjoy looking round the gardens. We have spent a fair bit on plants there too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really wanted to look round the gardens Sue but my partner was sneezing so violently he couldn't even drive, so it seemed cruel to even ask! Some people are soooo selfish!!

      Delete
  6. Always so much fun to discover new plants - and even better to bring some home... ;-) Will be very interested in your Cardiocrinum as I love anything in the nature of a lily and have seen that one only in books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So have I, Amy! I was really excited and then started to read up on them, and finished up thinking 'What have I done ?' ... and it cost £10.00 which I think is really expensive!!

      Delete
  7. I like the plants you've highlighted here. The Mayapple is luscious! I agree: There's something so special about finding and buying new plants ... and then the joy of adding them to the garden and watching them settle in. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Beth, which one is 'Mayapple'? I have not heard that term before ?

      Delete
    2. the Podophyllum? The little umbrellas? Very pretty when they are a massed host.

      Delete
  8. We grow a honesty called 'Rosemary Verey' which looks identical to Chedglow. You have a a good plant selection there Sarah, we have visited the Harrogate spring and autumn shows and really enjoyed them. I have grown a similar lobelia in the past and found them to be a slug magnet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear Brian, I can do without any more slug magnets in the garden. My hostas must all hold up a sign visible only to slugs and snails 'Come and eat me now!'

      Delete
  9. Those chocolate striped leaves are very attractive. I've tried to grow Brunnera but found they needed more moisture than I would provide. But after reading your post I googled them and see that there are new tougher varieties and they are sold locally so maybe I'll try again. I get a lot of self seeded forget me nots so that would be a good combination. I like the phrase slug magnets! I don't see many snails any more, I don't know why.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting to read about the range of brunneras available, and how tolerant of different conditions you have found them. Must look out for some of these. I can vouch for Chedglow, by the way, having had seeds from Anna of Green Tapestry - they are great self seeders and of course so easily recognisable that it is easy to pull out the ones you don't want

    ReplyDelete
  11. Podophyllum are some of my favorite plants. (Actually all the plants you've shown are faboo!) I'm so glad that you now have three in your garden! Cardiocrinum giganteum is an amazing plant and, although monocarpic, it forms lots of bulblets around the stem after flowering so that you can increase the numbers in your garden if you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love your penchant for the more unusual plants Jane, unfortunately I have a sad tale to tell. I raised a batch of Podophyllum hexandrum from seed, planted them out early last year, admired the wonderful marbled foliage which eventually goes to green but no flowers to be seen. Given that was the first year I looked forward to them appearing this year, to date no sign and I fear the worst.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmm. Fascinating post in that I discover we don't share the same taste in plants! Of shade loving plants I suppose I'm struck by few. There are ferns I like and Jack in the Pulpit (Lords and Ladies) which I don't think anyone would plant on purpose. In spring there are celandines . . . but . . .

    I've moved to Halifax and rather than confuse people with a blog which ends up with some plants from the south coast and some from West Yorkshire, I've migrated to a new URL and am now at Loose and Leafy in Halifax
    https://looseandleafyinhalifax.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  14. I certainly agree to some points that you have discussed on this post. I appreciate that you have shared some reliable tips on this review.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting and reading.
I really welcome comments and have learned much from them, over the years of leaning over the virtual garden gate ...