Tag Archives | photo

The Perfect Rose


When Roses are in full bloom I can’t resist taking photos of them. With this rose I tried putting white paper behind the rose to highlight its colour. The rose below is taken with a dark background but is still satisfactory.



It is far from perfect, but, still very nice.
Continue Reading →


Growing Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel or Hamamelis is a scented winter-flowering shrub. The spicy fragrance and spidery flowers in yellow, orange or red  make it a must for the winter garden.

Where to Plant Witch Hazel

  • Do not plant young shrubs in a frost pocket even though plants are hardy.
  • Witch Hazel like an open sunny position and need space to develop all be it slowly.
  • Avoid exposed and windy positions.
  • Clay soil needs improving with added humus and drainage.
  • Acid or neutral soils are best but chlorotic yellow leaves can be treated and fed with chelated iron.

On Going Cultivation

  • Water young plants during dry spells.
  • Propagation is from budding to root stock. It is difficult to grow from cuttings.
  • Witch Hazel needs little pruning provided there is room to let them grow freely to their full size.
  • Prune out any dead or damaged wood and any congested, crossing or weak shoots.
  • Remove suckers in autumn  as these will probably be from the rootstock plant.

RHS Recommended Varieties

H. x intermedia ‘Diane’ AGM: The finest red flowered witch hazel. It has a long flowering period throughout midwinter and is lightly scented. Height 2.5m (8ft). Spread 3m (10ft). Continue Reading →


Senetti, Cineraria or Senicio? No Pericallis


I received a pot plant as a gift and thought it was a Cineraria. The plant was in bud but the leaves looked like soft grey-green Cineraria or Senicio.

On reading the label, not something I always do, I discovered it was named Senetti Deep Blue. Since then Senetti seem to be everywhere, agh! the power of marketing and big money.

Further research showed that the botanic name is Pericallis x hybrida. It is thought to be a hybrid between Pericallis cruenta and Pericallis lanata.
The common name is Florist’s Cineraria so I wasn’t far wrong with my first thoughts. Have you ever seen one in a florists?
Some call it Senecio cruentus Senetti Series.
Senetti may be just a brand name registered by Suntory. If so lets drop the name for now and go by Pericallis.

Pericallis Cultivation

  • Pericallis are tender, cushion-forming or loosely branched perennials. Height 12″ spread 18″.
  • The single daisy-like flowers are in a variety of vibrant blues and purples. Some have white centres like the old Cineraria
  • Pericallis will flower early, providing a splash of colour before other bedding or container plants are ready
  • After flowering cut down to 4-5″ and feed then you should get a second flush of flower.
  • Pericallis are generally raised from seed but cuttings may be possible.
  • Grow in pots or open ground but water and feed well.

Pericallis (Senetti) Update

  • I got more flowers from my fathers day present than you could shake a stick at!
  • I got 3 massive flushes of flowers often over 100 blue daisies open at once!(there are about 40 on at the moment mid October)
  • Hopefully the seed I have saved will grow next year.
  • The host plant deserves to be protected over winter so the pot I have grown the Pericallis in will go into a cool greenhouse

For information on Plant Breeeders rights read ‘I name this plant and all who sail in her’.
Pictures of Pericallis

Pictures of Senetti

Pictures of Cineraria stellata

So now you can see the difference ( can’t you).


Jersey Plants Direct were selling Senetti plugs check out the web site. Super Ready or Jumbo sized just type in Senetti in the search box (free postage). I had to buy some because they were such ‘Good Doers’ last year. Jersey say they are able to cope with early frost which will suit my Yorkshire garden!


I have  received my plugs  and potted them on. They are on an east facing window sill and I have pinched out the early flower buds to get more leaf and roots.


Floral Vistas Plan Before Planting

floral vista

Greenery is all very well but I like to see swathes of colourful flowers.
I try to envisage how mixed planting will shape up in terms of colour but generally my minds eye falls short when it comes to the imagination department.
The best tip is to keep it simple with only a very limited number of varieties chosen because they are due to flower around the same time.

By contrast my wife, on the other hand, is wedded to green leafed houseplants, green conservatory plants and even green outdoors. (She is also wedded to me and I am not as green as I am cabbage looking so at least I get some colour into the garden)
Perhaps she should grow Gloxinia

I do not mind seeing my colour in wild meadows or just as yellow in a field of buttercups. This photo looks like a pointillist painting rather than a snap shot but it was planned by RHS gardeners to look something like this when the ground was laid out.

A friend at our village gardeners club insists she only grows flowers that avoid yellow – I guess she thinks it too garish and she misses out on some grand flowers.

Snowdrop park

Woodland walks in Spring would not be the same if it wasn’t for the Snowdrops, Aconites and Narcissus.
Even wild garlic is better when you can see the white flower.
Is white really a colour some folk ask – to me a resounding yes, just consider a rainbow.


Ylang Ylang Perfume Tree – Root & Branch Review

Unassuming in appearance the evergreen Ylang Ylang tree is highly valued for the essential oil it can produce.

Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook.f. & Thomson

Key Features of the Ylang Ylang

  • Latin name – Cananga odorata , other common names Kenanga kebun, Macassar-oil plant, Perfume tree
  • Height – up to 80 feet
  • Type of tree – evergreen
  • Leaves – Oval green leaves sometimes with wavy edges
  • Flowers – clusters of fragrant green flowers turning yellow with six long twisted, hanging petals
  • Fruit – clusters of small, oval, black berries
  • Bark – Pale grey
  • Family – Annonaceae the Custard Apples

Continue Reading →


Horse Chestnut – Root and Branch Review

Horse Chestnut tree

Conker collecting has encouraged many a stick to be thrown into a Horse Chestnut tree. The candle or flower heads are even more spectacular than the crop of conkers that they give birth too.

Key Features of the Horse Chestnut

  • Latin name Aesculus Hippocastanum buckeye in USA or Conker tree
  • Height up to 130 feet
  • Type of tree – deciduous –
  • Leaves – Large green palmate with 5-7 fingers or leaflets
  • Flowers White or pink candle shaped upright panicles
  • Fruit Green spiky spherical husks containing a glossy brown inedible seed or conker
  • Bark Dark brown, coarse and scaly when mature
  • Family Aesculus has about 20 species


Origins and Distribution of the Horse Chestnut

  • Native to the Balkans.
  • Planted in temperate zones as an ornamental specimen.

Uses and Attributes of the Horse Chestnut

  • Distilled the conkers make acetone.
  • The seed extracts were used for fulling cloth and whitening hemp, flax, silk and wool.
  • Herbally used to treat varicose veins and haemorrhoids.

Gardeners Tips for the Horse Chestnut

  • Used along avenues, parks and in churchyards.
  • Horse Chestnuts can make large bonsai.

candles in the wind

Other types of Horse Chestnut and key species

  • Texas, californian and other american buckeye or Aesculus species.
  • Aesculus × carnea the red horse chestnut.

Horse Chestnut comments from elsewhere

In Britain, the return to school after the summer holidays is synonymous with conkers. Originally played with cobnuts or snail shells, the use of the horse chestnut in the popular children’s game was first recorded in 1848. Since 1965, the World Conker Championships have taken place every year in Oundle, Northamptonshire. Kew.org

The fruits of this tree vaguely resemble those of the (Sweet) Chestnut tree but they are not related. They develop in prickly cases, and are ripe in September and October – the ‘conker’ season.

Read about our series on British tree reviews with a bakers dozen fact sheets

“Horse Chestnut tree by JeanM1 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Conkers by MamaPyjama CC BY 2.0


Sausage Tree – Root and Branch Review

Sausage tree

An unusual tree with even more unusual fruit.

Key Features of the Sausage Tree

  • Latin name Kigelia Africana other common name kigeli keia
  • Height 30-50 feet high 12m
  • Type of tree – deciduous but evergreen with adequate rainfall
  • Leaves Pinnate with 3-6 pairs of lenceolate green leaflets
  • Flowers Large, dark red, strongly scented, bell flowers hanging in panicles
  • Fruit Pendulous grey-green sausage shaped unpalatable fruit that give the plant its common name
  • Bark Rough grey-brown
  • Family Bignoniaceae.

Sausage tree

Origins and Distribution of the Sausage Tree

  • Occurs throughout tropical Africa.
  • Sausage tree in Arabic means “the father of kit bags” .

Uses and Commercial Attributes of the Sausage Tree

  • The tree is grown as an ornamental for flowers and seed pods.
  • Medicinal uses include treatment for abscesses, rheumatism and venereal disease
  • Beer can be brewed from the fruit
  • The many seeds are good parrot food.
  • The tough wood is used to make dug out canoes

Continue Reading →


Seedheads Worth Growing

clematis seedhead

Decorative gardens can benefit from growing seedheads for their own sake.

Flowers With Seedheads

  • The clematis family produce a variety of interesting seedheads. Shortly after flowering the above heads looked truly golden in the afternoon sunshine. The fluffy seeds will eventually be dispersed from a ball of seeds that looks just as wooly.
  • Honesty is aka Lunaria after the moon shaped seedhead. After the purple flower the green seedhead, shaped like an old penny or halfacrown in old money, looses the green covering to reveal a translucent white disc and ripe seeds. Even more decorative than the flowers and they can be picked as dried flowers.
  • Rosehips make some of the most startling seedheads but then again berries are all seedheads of a sort. Below is a photo of Skimmia berries the main reason for growing these small shrubs

Skimmia Berries

Grasses and Other Seedheads

  • The natural look from planting a range of different ornamental grasses for their seedheads has become very popular.

Continue Reading →


Star Flower Dahlias – Juul’s Allstar

Classed variously as a Novelty, Star or Orchid-type Dahlia flowers Juul’s Allstar are eye catchers that should be real show stoppers.
To win a top prize the centre should be open with the disc in proper proportion to the ray florets that should be clean and uniform.
Eden Project Dahlia
This p[hoto of Dahlia ‘Juul’s Allstar’ is a real star and has produced flowers early in this wet summer down in Cornwall.

Star Dahlia Flowers

  • Strange how different flowers on the same plant have seven or eight petals per flower (above 8 below 7 & 8)
  • The slender petals form a distinctive star with the sides of each petal rolled inwards. This creates the eye catching and unusual shape.
  • The underside of the petals of Juul’s Allstar dahlias are red with the top being yellow with red veins. The curve of the petal brings out the bi-colour effect.
  • Dahlia Honka is a similar style dahlia but the petals are primrose yellow on both sides of the petal. Dahlia Marie Schnugg has a red flower that is not as uniform as Juul’s Allstar.

Eden Project Dahlia
Dahlia Juul’s Allstar

honka_2 by Productions Saint-Anicet CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dahlia 'Marie Schnugg'  2009
Dahlia ‘Marie Schnugg’ 2009 by F. D. Richards CC BY-SA 2.0


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