Archive | Flowers and Plants

Annual, perennial and interesting flowers with advice on culture, information, tips and recommended varieties

Grewelthorpe Himalayan Garden Images

The Himalayan Garden at Grewlthorpe continues to mature and develop. It is great to see a wide range of trees allowed to grow their natural size without undue lopping or arbo work.
A new arboretum will open at the end of May 2017 and the next autumn season will be worth a special visit.

As ever the sculptures are excellently located and seem to breed in number every time I visit.

Rhododendrons are the key feature for me that makes return spring visits a must.

Landscape views from the many well located paths are set to delight.

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Pruning Deciduous Azalea and After Care

Azalea Mollis aka Rhododendron sinensis

This species of plants originate in central China. The closely related species R. molle japonicum come from Japan. Both these deciduous varieties are relatives of the popular Ghent and Knapp Hill hybrids.

They are one of our favourite flowering plants with bold, colourful, spring blooms that are not hidden by lime green leaves that appear around flowering time.

A North American variety R. calendulaceum is called the “Flame azalea” due its fiery orange colours and autumn leafs. R. luteum is not surprisingly yellow.

Pruning Azalea

  • Where possible avoid pruning but if needs must then wait until flowering has finished.
  • Water the shrub and keep it well watered through late spring until autumn.
  • Take out dead or damaged wood with sharp secateurs.
  • If reshaping or drastic pruning is needed expect to loose the flowing capacity for one or two seasons.
  • Thin water shoots from the base can be thinned in number to encourage the others.
  • Remove one older stalk to create light space and shape if you must.

Azalea

After Care

  • After care will help the plant recover from shock.
  • Apply an ericaceous acid plant fertiliserlike miracle-gro specially formulated for azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, dogwoods and magnolias. Feed through summer.
  • Mulch around the base of the shrub.
  • Other acidifying feeds and treatments include vinegar, ammonium sulfate, iron sulfate or flowers of sulfur but take care as some may burn the shrubs.
  • Dress the top soil with peat or an ericaceous compost

Read more

Rhododendron Pink Pearl

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Camassia Flowers and Food

Some Camassia species were an important food staple for Native Americans and settlers in parts of North American

  • Camassia quamash or wild hyacinth will naturalise in grass and is happy in moist ground.
  • These bulbs have a reputation of being tough and hardy and thrive in less than perfect soils.
  • Camassia leichtlinii is a spring flowering bulb with spires of creamy-white flowers although the more normal powder blue varieties are more often planted.
  • Camassia prefer to grow undisturbed and are not ideal for containers.
  • Flowers open in spring and attract bees for their nectar.

Death Camases are liliaceous, perennial herbs and are not edible.

 

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Hibiscus senensis

The flamboyant Hibiscus senensis is now readily available as a housplant from garden centres. This yellow flower was growing on an Italian road side.

In a conservatory this evergreen is a neat rounded shrub. Good drainage and light are required for good flowering but plants can have a very long life.

If you want to know more about the species of Hibiscus you could do worse than read a book ‘Hibiscus Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden’ by Barbara Taylor Lawton extracts of which can be found here.

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Marianne North Botanical Traveller

Book Cover

Botanical Traveller

‘Marianne North, an unmarried middle-aged Victorian lady of comfortable means, set off in 1871 on her first expedition to make a pictorial record of the tropical and exotic plants of the world. Marianne produced more than 860 paintings which are housed in a special gallery at Kew.

Biographical Notes

  • Marianne North was born in 1830 in Hastings where her father was a well to do member of Parliament.
  • She traveled  with her father until his death in 1871 after which, at the age of 41, she visited North America, Jamaica and Brazil.
  • In 1875 she visited the Americas, Japan, India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Later visiting Java, Seychelles and Chile. All the while she was painting the species and specimen plants she discovered.
  • A variety of plants were painted in situe and five were named after her.
  • The majority of her paintings were given to Kew Gardens and she funded and organised  a gallery in which to display them.
  • The gallery is unusual because it contains 832 paintings almost her entire work.
  • The Marianne North Gallery is one of the most popular attractions of Kew Garden and the paintings still remain in their original Victorian arrangement.
  • Whilst in USA she became friendly with Edward Lear, U.S. President Grant, and Charles Darwin. Julia Margaret Cameron photographed her in Ceylon.

Mangrove swamp Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; (c) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (book); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Auricula Knowhow & Books

It has been a good spring for auriculas in my garden and cold greenhouse. Now the plants need time to rejuvenate after flowering so I will have time to read the National Auricula and Primula and Society’s excellent new members handbook and some of the following epistles.

 

 

 

 

The powder blue auricula is in a home made ‘tufa’ pot

Auricula Book Examples

Book Cover

The Auricula: History, Cultivation and Varieties Allan Guest

Every now and then I decide to focus on one species or plant group. For 2014/2015 it is going to be the Auriculas. I need to practice the techniques explained in various books and learn’ what is what’ with florists Auricula. With that in mind I have joined the National Auricula and Primrose Society northern section and so far it seems very good value for money.

On to the books I am looking out for:

Auriculas – Their Care and Cultivation B.Hyatt Cassell, London.
Auriculas Through the Ages: Bear’s… by Patricia Cleveland-Peck
Auriculas for Everyone: How to Grow and Show Perfect Plants by Mary A. Robinson
Auriculas and Primroses by W.R. Hecker (22 Apr 1971)

Book Cover
Primroses and Auriculas Wisley Handbook by Peter Ward
The Auricula: History, Cultivation and Varieties by Allan Guest
Continue Reading →

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Bonanza of Nasturtium Flowers

When it gets backendish as October begins to give way to colder nights, have a look around your garden.
The Nasturtiums are still flowering strongly as they clamber up this wall but one good frost will see them turn soggy and die. As Nasturtiums are good at self-seeding I will doubtless get many new plants next year without any effort.

Nasturtium
Tips Growing Nasturtiums

  • Nasturtiums do well in poor soil. If the soil is too rich then you will get more leaf than flower.

Continue Reading →

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Rudbeckia Choosing and Growing Tips

York

Over 1500 posts are available on Gardeners tips and Rudbeckia has been covered several time before. I make no apology for this as they are a handsome plant worth considering for their long flowering season that lasts well into autumn.

Rudbeckia are perennial plants that form rounded clumps. They are easily raised from seed available from Thompson Morgan and other merchants.  Plants will grow in semi-shade or full sun without much help.

Types of Rudbeckia to Grow

  • Rudbeckia hirta is probably worth growing as a half-hardy annual.  Named varieties include Goldilocks, Irish Eyes, Toto, Autumn Forest and Prairie Sun.
  • Rudbeckia missouriensis is a rockery sized plant growing 12-16″ and flowering profusely
  • Rudbeckia laciniata will grow up to 10 feet tall in moist soil and flowers with a lemon petal and green centre.
  • Rudbeckia maxima is even taller than laciniata with blue green leaves and large ray flowers.
  • Rudbeckia speciosa is a traditional hardy plant like the one shown above.
  • Rudbeckia occidentalis Green Wizard has a brown centre with green petals on the flowers.

Read Other Rudbeckia Posts

Or buy the definative book ‘Rudbeckia: Rudbeckia Hirta, Rudbeckia Fulgida, Rudbeckia Laciniata, Rudbeckia Triloba, Rudbeckia Pinnata, Rudbeckia Maxima, Rudbeckia Alpicola’ from amazon for under a tenner.

Gardeners tips on Easy Autumn Rudbeckia

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Plunge Bed Success this Spring

Alpine house
I have reported before about the Alpine house at RHS Harlow Carr. Now we can begin to see the fruits of all the labours both in growing and display.

There must be 100 different plants on display many of which were in flower this week. I know the pictures are small but how many varieties can you recognise?

Just by observing the plunge beds regularly, I am picking up tips that I hope to be able to use in my own cultivation.

Alpine House Harlow Carr

See Gardeners Tips on Plunge Beds

Beginners instructions for building a plunge bed for growing Tete-a-tete narcissus from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.
‘To construct a plunge-bed dig a pit in a well drained piece of ground that will not flood – near a tree or hedge will be fine. A wooden frame, sufficient to hold the pots, on top of the ground will do equally as well. Place the pots in the plunge-bed or frame and cover them with soil/compost/sand to a depth of about 5cm. They can now be forgotten until the spring. A strong cardboard box stored in a dry cold garage or shed will do equally as well. Cover the pots in the same way as above and don’t let them dry out.’

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