Six on Saturday

Over here in the Cotswolds, we are enjoying unseasonably warm weather which is extending the gardening year well beyond what we would normally expect. Yesterday, we took some friends to visit Bourton House Garden near Moreton-in-Marsh on a sunny, warm afternoon and we were in short sleeves!

Amongst the many unusual plants they display there, my favourite was ‘Poor Man’s Rhododendron’, Impatiens sodenii, the dramatic but frost tender perennial relative of Busy Lizzie, but huge, up to 8′ tall. Bourton House Garden was full of them in all colours.

The chrysanthemum I retrieved from my Grandad’s garden when he died in 1991 is still going strong and is now immortalised by a local nursery which propagates and sells it as Chrysanthemum ‘George Simons’. As tough as any hardy chrysanthemum can be, this very tall cultivar survived the attentions of my Grandad’s chickens during the second world war and is now spread around friends and family to keep it going.

I am the Plant Guardian of Chrysanthemum ‘Romantica’, a button chrysanth which went out of fashion many years ago but which is worth saving if only for its sheer exuberance at this time of year. It is smothered with hundreds of small pinky white flowers which shine through the gloom of an autumn day.

Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ is beginning to open for her winter show. She will carry on flowering until February draping the arch with her waxy bells and shrugging off anything the weather throws at her.

Another Chrysanthemum local to the area is ‘Bretforton Road’ which, I believe, was found by Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers literally growing on the roadside and named accordingly by him.

Finally for this weekend, a tray of self-sown Delphinium requienii seedlings dug out and potted up ready for next year. I have had a lot of interest in this plant since my friend Yvonne introduced it to me earlier this year. A biennial form which does not get eaten by slugs and snails. Tall spires of pinky mauve flowers in May and June make this a real winner.

Have a great weekend.


Six on Saturday

A little late to the party again due to enjoying a wonderful day in the garden yesterday enjoying almost spring-like weather. Still a lot of colour and interest and one or two first timers to show you.

Chrysanthemum ‘Romantika’

The button Chrysanth ‘Romantika’ is flowering her socks off now and enjoying the autumn sunshine. Difficult to know why it went out of fashion and became an endangered cultivar but with so many to choose from these days it became a casualty and nearly disappeared until Plant Heritage appealed for someone to save her. I suddenly feel terribly responsible!

Chrysanthemum ‘Royal Command’??

I acquired what I was told was Chrysanthemum ‘Royal Command’ many years ago from a friend who had had it in her garden for over forty years. It had spread all along her back fence taking on an almost invasive quality. I became very attached to it and have propagated and distributed many ‘Irishman’s cuttings’ far and wide. I am now informed by an experienced grower that this may not be ‘Royal Command’ after all but a nameless hybrid clone! Apparently this happens a lot with old Chrysanthemum varieties. They suddenly become tired of who they are and morph into something else!

Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’

Strictly speaking, this is actually Symphyotrichum lateriflorum ‘Lady in Black’ often referred to as the Calico aster, and I now realise it is not suitable for my garden. I purchased it earlier this year and didn’t do my research properly. It has a very untidy, sprawling habit and needs masses of space, something I cannot provide, so it is going to a friend who loves Asters and will adore its dark plum coloured stems and tiny white flowers with pink centres. We all make mistakes!

Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

One of my jobs yesterday was to wash the trunks of my trio of Himalayan birches to keep them pristine white for the winter. On dark days they earn their name of ‘Grayswood Ghost’

Sorbus hupehensis

The Sorbus is absolutely heaving with fat, juicy berries which will soon be gorged by the wood pigeons.

Leycestria formosa

The Leycesteria formosa, commonly called Himalayan honeysuckle or Pheasant Berry, has also produced a bumper crop of fruits which will soon be taken by the Blackbirds in a comic spectacle of well judged acrobatic leaps. Never seen a pheasant try but there’s always a first time!

Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’

I decided to end on a high note with one of my new roses still going strong and producing more flower buds even at this time of year. Gorgeous!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend