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

It’s Saturday again, doesn’t it come round quick! Just had to show you the Liquidambar backlit by the sun this morning before the rain moved in.

Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’ has gone bonkers this week and has literally hundreds of flowers. Probably her best display ever.

Chrysanthemum ‘Bretforton Road’ discovered by Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers and grown for generations in Badsey, is a bone hardy reliable variety which seems to grow anywhere. It started at one end of a border and is now up the other end too!

In the months and years to come, I hope to be reporting on, and displaying, a National Collection of Tradescantia virginiana and Tradescantia x andersoniana hybrids if I am accepted by the Plant Heritage Plant Conservation Committee in due course. They have asked me to build up the collection and demonstrate my abilities to manage and propagate the 60 or so cultivars and naturally occurring hybrids of this species. Early days but here is the very first picture of how they will be displayed.

Rose cutting update – looks like it’s working! Not sure if any roots have formed yet but the top growth certainly looks promising!

Down in the darkest recesses of the back garden in an area of dry shade under an enormous beech tree is my comfrey patch. Six plants of the sterile hybrid ‘Bocking 14’ produce 4 cuts of leaves for my compost bin each year and are totally happy being hacked down to the ground every 8 weeks or so. It is said that the roots ‘mine’ the rich minerals up to 5 metres down in the earth which, in turn, are passed into the leaves which produce the amazing comfrey liquid I extract and use as plant food.

Have a good weekend, stay safe, warm and dry.