The Shady Courtyard

 A Shady courtyard garden

A Shady courtyard garden

In town centres, surrounded by buildings or the basement flat, shady courtyards are common as the outdoor space for a lot of town dwellers. They can be more then the space to dump the bike or keep the bins. With good planting they can become a vibrant and beautiful outdoor place to sit and enjoy. Low light levels mean plants need to be chosen with care. Here are a few selections to consider, whether planting into the ground, raised beds or gardening in containers, all will do well.

 Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris: a superb clinging wall climber which dose well in dense shade. Deciduous, with mid green leaves and open ‘lace cap’ type hydrangea flowers in white, in late summer, make this a must to brighten any courtyard wall. It is moderately slow growing but worth the wait.

 Buxus sempervirens 'Aureovariegata'

Buxus sempervirens ‘Aureovariegata’

Buxus semperviens ‘Aureovariegate’: this is the variegated Box, with it’s delicate creamy variegation to the dark green leaves it will add a splash of colour to a dark courtyard. It has the added bonus of being able to be clipped into topery forms from the traditional ball to cones, squares and even a wacky peacock.

Vinca minor 'Illumination'

Vinca minor ‘Illumination’

Vinca minor ‘Illumination’: a wonderful evergreen ground cover plant, with creeping stems of dark shiny green leaves with brilliant splashes of golden yellow in the centre, to help add vibrancy to your dark space. It has the added bonus of purple flowers produced from early March to late April early May.

 Hellaborus 'Nigra'

Hellaborus ‘Nigra’

Hellaborus ‘Nigra’: This is a more elegant Hellebore than the common orientallis. With finer palmate leaves in a soft grey-green. With clear white flowers from December round to the end of February.

 Carex 'Evergold'

Carex ‘Evergold’

Carex ‘Ever Gold’: This as an easy to grow evergreen grass which is as tough as old boots it makes neat clumps of mid green striped yellow leaves up to 20/25cm tall. It will help to bring colour to a dark corner.

 Phyllostachys aurea

Phyllostachys aurea

Phyllostachys aurea: A superb statuesque clump forming bamboo. With soft mid green leaves and canes that mature to a beautiful golden yellow.

 A hansom shady courtyard seating area.

A hansom shady courtyard seating area.

All the plants I have chosen are moderately easy to grow and will do well in most soils with good organic matter added. I have chosen mostly evergreen plants to help green a courtyard space and give a good constant back drop, variegation, yellow and golden foliage help to lift the light levels as do white flowers.

I hope I have inspired you to get creative with your courtyard space. If you need help with designing your courtyard garden, then I know just the person to help you. Give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753, I would be delighted to discuss your garden project with you.

Conifers: Little and Large

 Giant church yard yew tree.

Giant church yard yew tree.

Conifers in more recent years have been much maligned in gardening circles, with thoughts of the mixed conifer and heather island beds. But this is to miss out on a superb group of plants, that come into their own as focal points and structural planting in the winter months, here a few choice selections from very large to the very small.

Pinus mugo pumillio

Pinus mugo pumillio

Pinus mungo ‘Pumillio :A wonderfully hardy pine, which is so forgiving it grows in nearly any soil including chalk. Pairs of long needles in a bright emerald green, with a dense bushy habit. A slow growing medium sized shrub, with prostrate or ascending branches up to 2m. It makes for a great addition to any planting.

 Chamaecyparis lawsoniana pygmaea argentea'

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana pygmaea argentea’

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Pygmaea Argente’: This conifer has all the good growing habits of all lawsonianas. It is a superb selection, with a dense compact habit of blue-grey foliage with white tips. It is slow growing and possibly one of the best dwarf conifers with variegated foliage, a must for the front of a boarder or the rockery.

 Juniperus communis 'Depressa Aurea'

Juniperus communis ‘Depressa Aurea’

Juniperus communis ‘Depressa Aurea’: A good low spreading conifer, making excellent ground cover, with densely packed foliage. Leaves are a particularity vibrant yellow when young, going darker green through the growing season and it has good bronze tints in the winter months.

Cupreeus macrocarpa 'Goldcrest'

Cupreeus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’

Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcreast’: An excellent conifer which is moderately fast growing and will cope well in coastal areas and is a good wind break. It is a medium sized tree, with a broadly conical habit when young, old trees broaden out. Golden sprays of foliage are densely packed, giving this conifer a striking look and is one of the best golden conifers, the colour is best in full sun.

 Picea pungens 'Koster'

Picea pungens ‘Koster’

Picea pungens ‘Koster’: A wonderful conifer with a striking habit, forming a conical small to medium sized tree, with flat tearied branches of bright blue grey foliage, a very striking addition to a mixed planting or great as a specimen tree.

 Taxus baccata 'Fastigata'

Taxus baccata ‘Fastigata’

Taxus baccata ‘Fastigata’: The humble yew, has lots to commend it and this fastigate form, just adds to those. Faster growing than most people think and coping on poor soils, this is a brilliant medium to large tree as a focal point in a garden or to act as sentinels on either side of a path, they add structure and elegance to the winter garden. Dense dark green foliage, acts as a foil to other planting, with a compact columnar habit.

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’

Cedrus alantica ‘Glauca’:As conifers go they don’t get much larger or more hansom than a cedar and this is defiantly the one to consider. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, verging on the stately home size or a field or piece of land you are considering making into an arboretum, then this is the specimen tree for you. Remember you are planting it for future generations. It forms an attractive conical shaped tree when young and matures into a wide spreading specimen when older. The branches are clothed in whirls of deep blue-grey foliage.

 Conifers adding structure to a mixed planting.

Conifers adding structure to a mixed planting.

Growing conditions: conifers grow on a wide range of soils, some will cope with poor soils and little water, junipers for example, some will even cope with sitting in water, like Taxodium. Some will cope with thin soils and some chalk. But most prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil with a good quantity of humus and do not like to be water logged.

They can truly be the back bone of the garden, particularly at this time of year and should planted much more.

 Conifers adding green texture to a mixed border

Conifers adding green texture to a mixed border

 

If you would like some help, renovating a planting area with a new planting plan, then now in the dormant season, is the time to get planning and planting, then contact me, Emily on 01273 470753. I would be delighted to discusses your garden design project with you.

Winter Gardening

The Winter Garden

The Winter Garden

Many may feel the depths of winter are not a time to be in the garden and the only type of gardening jobs that should be considered, are flicking through seed catalogues while sitting cosy in front of a fire. But the winter is in fact a good time to carry out remedial and repair work in the garden and get the garden ready for the next growing season.

 falling down fences

falling down fences

The first thing to look at is the garden boundaries, now that a lot of plant cover will have died down, check all walls, remove any large quantities of ivy, it is good for wild life so leave some, but it can be a disaster with old mortar particularly on flint walls. Also check fences and posts, that they will be up to winter winds. If repair work is needed, then while plants are dormant this is the time of year to have the work carried out.

 Over grown wall

Over grown wall

Now that it is mid winter, take time to walk round your trees and check all trees ties, which may have become loose in the autumn gales.

check tress ties

check tress ties

While large sections of the garden are dormant, now is the time to add a thin layer of garden compost or well rotted farm yard or horse manure, over whole beds or round the base of shrubs and trees, Also top up mulch on flower boarders. Be sure not to build up the height of compost round trunks and crowns.

 adding compost

adding compost

Now is the time of year to get cracking on pruning your Apple and Pear trees. Removing dead and diseased wood, branches that rub and prune to fruiting spurs, for full details on fruit tree pruning see January 2016 blog.

 fruit tree pruning

fruit tree pruning

Check climbing plants and wall shrubs, make sure they are tied in well and will not be pulled off the walls and fences in the winter storms.

tieing in wall shrubs

tieing in wall shrubs

If you have free standing structures in the garden like archways, pergolas, trellis sections, now is a good time to check them, and repair where needed also carry out any re-staining, while most of the planting has died down.

 staining trellis and fences

staining trellis and fences

So as you can see there is a lot of gardening to carry out in January, but hopefully you have planted some good scented winter shrubs and hellebores and snow drops which will cheer the sole while you work.

Winter Garden Magic

Winter Garden Magic

Happy Gardening.

Elegant Camellias

A mass of Camellias

A mass of Camellias

By the time mid-winter comes about with short and dull days anything in the garden that adds a splash of colour, is to be grabbed and celebrated. So Camellias, with varieties that flower from October through to April are a good choice. With evergreen glossy foliage and attractive habit, whether grown in the garden as specimen shrub or on mass or even as an individual specimen in a pot are a must. Here are a few favourite

Camellia 'Cornish Cream'

Camellia ‘Cornish Cream’

C. ‘Cornish Snow’: This lovely Camellia rightly has a AGM award. With a good strong upright habit which can become a large shrub. Delicate single white flowers with gold stamens, which are produced on mass.

 Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

C. sasanqua ‘Yuletide’: This is one of my top favourites, a medium sized shrub with an open habit. Flowers are borne in a succession a few at a time from mid -October until the end of January. Small single red flowers with a mass of yellow stamens, add a real splash of colour in the depths of winter.

 Camellia japonica 'Kramer's Supreme'

Camellia japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’

C. japonica ‘Kramer’s Supreme’: This camellia has a good compact habit forming an upright shrub. This Camilla packs a punch with large loose paeony like flowers in red and has a delicate fragrance, wonderful in an enclosed space or a pot by the back door.

 Camellia japonica 'Lady Vansihart'

Camellia japonica ‘Lady Vansihart’

C.japnica ‘Lady Vansihart’: this upright camellia has unusual holly like twisted foliage, which is a real talking point. With small sauces blushed pink flowers.

Camellia japonica 'Lavinia Maggi'

Camellia japonica ‘Lavinia Maggi’

C. japonica ‘Lavinia maggi’: A dramatic camellia which grows into a large shrub. Large double blousy flowers, some white, some, pink, some red. But most striped and blotch in all 3 colours. It is as if someone has had a mad Alice and Wonderland joke with a couple of paint pots. If you want a statement shrub this is the camellia for you.

Camellia sasanque

Camellia sasanque

C. sasanque: A graceful open habit, with sauce shaped white flowers with rich yellow stamens from late autumn through to early spring, giving a long display.

 Camellias grow well in containers.

Camellias grow well in containers.

Tips: All Camilla like a neutral to slightly acidic soils with a rich humus compost that retains moisture well but dose not become water logged. They do best in dappled shade but will cope with some full sun. It is best to avoid early morning sun so that frost covered buds and flowers do not brown. The important thing to remember is that even when they have stopped flowering they need a good water through the summer months and must not dry out as this is when the flower buds are forming for the following year. A good helping of rotted leaf mould and feed should be added as a topdressing after flowering to help with flower bud development for the following year.

 Beautiful flowers of Camellias

Beautiful flowers of Camellias

If you would like help developing a winter garden, then I know just the person to give you a hand. Give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753 to disuses all your garden design needs.

I hope I have inspired you to add Camellias to your garden, weather in a boarder or a couple in pots by the front door. Enjoy!

Ornamental Bark

Mass of birch with sliver trunks

Mass of birch with sliver trunks

Birch Bark

Birch Bark

As the leaves finally fall it is the skeleton of deciduous trees that give structure to the winter garden and distinctive and colourful bark in the rosy lights of the winter can be a truly stunning addition to the garden and are well worth considering when choosing trees to plant.

Acer capillipes

Acer capillipes

Acer Calliopes: The ‘snake bark’ maple, this hansom tree has real wow factor at all times of the year, with the new growth a lovely coral red and leaves turning a strong red in autumn. But the bark is truly magnificent, the mid green stems, have vertical stripes of white to light green and soft pink shades. This small tree makes a good focal point for a small to medium sized garden. Grows best in good humus rich soil in dappled shade.

 Betula 'Jermyns'

Betula ‘Jermyns’

Betula ‘Jermyns’: A dramatic medium sized tree with mop headed habit. With superb creamy-white pealing stems and trunk, showing coppery coloured bark beneath. Good golden yellow autumn colour, any free draining soil.

 Prunus serrula

Prunus serrula

Prunus serrula: ‘The Tibetan cheery’, this beautiful small tree has a lot going for it and is a great addition to a small garden. It has glossy mahogany coloured bark, which positively shines. With elegant small white blossom in April any good soil that dose not dry out.

 Acer griseum

Acer griseum

Acer griseum: The ‘paperbark maple’, A striking tree particularly if grown as a multi-stem. With attractive bronze coloured pealing bark, with qualities similar to papery birch. The trifliolate leaves have wonderful fury autumn colours. A small tree, which likes humus rich soil.

Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne

Arbutus andrachne: the ‘Grecian Strawberry tree’: This small evergreen tree, is tender and needs a sheltered spot, to get it started, but becomes hardy once mature. With dark green glossy leaves and delicate bunches of waxy bell shaped flowers in a stunning red, it is a dramatic tree. The added bonus is the smooth cinnamon brown bark. It needs an acid soil which is humus rich.

 Salix daphoides

Salix daphoides

Salix dalphnoides: The ‘Violet Willow’ This is a fast growing and striking tree for a small garden. It will grow in most soils although dose not like drying out. The new growth is a rich purple which matures with a white bloom. Catkins are produced in spring before the leaves.

 Group of hansom Eucalyptus

Group of hansom Eucalyptus

 Close of Eucalyptus

Close of Eucalyptus

With deciduous trees you have over five months with out the leaves, so the bark is well worth considering particularly if your garden is small as everything you plant needs to work hard for you. I hope I have given you food for thought. If you would like help choosing and planting trees as part of a new planting plan, I know just the woman to help you. As the bare root season will be starting shortly, there is no time like the present, give me, Emily a call on 01273 470753, to discuss all your garden needs.

Keeping Everyone Safe- Covid 19

 

All government and local government guide lines and advice are to be adhered to. As much as possible, all meetings are to be held outside. This means entering your garden through a back or side gate if possible. If the garden can only be reached by walking through the house, then I/we will wear face masks.

Some sections of the meeting will involve paper work and the presentation of plans, this is to be outside if possible, on garden tables, or inside porches or garages or conservatories etc. If due to weather or the time of day, it means a meeting does have to be inside your home, then everyone present at the meeting should wear a face mask.

Landscapers and all site contractors will also follow all COVID-19 guidelines and best practice outlined by government and local government, at the time of landscaping. They will avoid entering your home as much as possible. If they need to come into your house they will wear a face mask at all times.

Clients Please Note: Due to the COVID-19 shut down and reduced working practices, some supplies of materials may be harder to source and there may be longer lead in times. Also work may be disrupted if a landscaper has to self-isolated, quarantine or is ill, due to COVID-19. Also, government guide lines may change without notice and work on a garden may have to stop. All of these things are beyond the control of Arcadia Garden Design. We will do our upmost to keep you informed if any of these problems arise and will be in discussion with you.

Fabulous Ferns

Fabulous Ferns

Fabulous Ferns

Ferns are often an over looked group of plants, but since their Victorian heyday they are quite rightly beginning to have their turn back in the limelight. They are much more than the go to plant for a shady difficult spot. They go from the large and dramatic, to small and delicate foliage. Although most do like damp humus rich conditions in partial shade, some do well in full sun and even dry shallow chalk. Here are a few to consider.

Asplenium trichomanes

Asplenium trichomanes

Asplenium trichomanes: The maidenhair fern, is a stunningly delicate fern, it is evergreen with mid to dark green pinnate foliage on elegant black stems. Reaching 15cm in height, and with spreading rhizomes. In fact they will sneak in and populate small crevices in walls and will cope well with lime and tolerate dry shade.

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum

Athyrium niponicum var. pictum

Athyrium niponicum var.pictum: The Japanese painted fern. Is a stunningly beautiful fern. The leaves blend from pale grey through to powdery blue with splashes of soft pink and sliver. This deciduous fern likes light shade and moist humus rich conditions. Growing up to 30cm tall is makes good dense ground cover.

 Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum

Cyrtomium falcatum: Japanese Holly Fern, a striking evergreen fern forming a strong growing clump growing up to 60cm. With dark green glossy fonds with a holly like appearance. Ideal for a shady spot. It is a acid lover and thrives in humus rich soil.

 Polystichum setiferum

Polystichum setiferum

Polystichum setiferum: Soft shield fern, this is a wonderfully tolerant garden plant, it will cope with deep shade and bright sunshine, good in humus rich soils but will also thieve in thin drying chalk soils. An evergreen fern which produced a wide clump of mid green pinnate fonds up to 60/90cm high. Brilliant as a back drop plant as well as a evergreen statement in a winter planting and also dose very well in a pot in a shady corner, it has much to commended it.

 Dryopteris cycadina

Dryopteris cycadina

Dryopteris cycadina: The Buckler fern, A deciduous fern, with a dramatic habit of upright growth. Mid spring sees bright green shuttlecocks unfurling into mid green fonds. Growing up to 60cm tall, it will cope with some sun and tolerate dry shade. A dramatic addition to the garden setting.

 Dicksonia antarctica

Dicksonia antarctica

Dicksonia antaretica: The tree fern. This is the big daddy of the fern world, and it has that wow factor in spades, whether seen in it’s native habitant of temperate rain forest in Australasia or as a lone specimen in a garden. An erect rhizome covered in a mass of roots, forms the ‘trunk’. It is very slow growing taking 10 years to grow 30 cm. From the top of the trunk unfurl, a reset of long mid green fonds, you really can imagine a Dinosaur., wondering between them! It is possible to grow this fern in the warmer parts of England, as long as they are grown in a sheltered position in semi-shade in humus rich moist conditions and the crown of the fern and trunk are insulated with straw and well wrapped in the winter months. It is a worthy addition to any shade garden.

A fernery

A fernery

I hope I have inspired you to think again about these wonderful plants that should be set for a resurgence even if not quite on the level of the enthusiastic Victorians. Happy Planting!

Autumn Nuts and Fruit

Autumn Nuts and Fruit

 The Bounty of the Autumn

The Bounty of the Autumn

As the nights begin to shorten and the air cools, Autumn begins to feel on the way, but this is the time of harvest. There are a bountiful supply of both nuts and autumn fruiting berries that can be grown and enjoyed in the garden. Here are some to consider.

 Kent Cob Nuts

Kent Cob Nuts

Kent Cob: Also known as ‘Lambert’s Filbert’, is the largest fruiting cob nut and must productive. Producing a strong growing shrub with upright stems. Clusters of nuts are born from late August into September and should be picked in the green. The fresh nut have a fresh milky taste and can also be dried, for use latter in the season.

 Blackberry Oregan Thornless

Blackberry Oregan Thornless

Blackberry Organ thornless: Of course the hedgerows at this time of year are groaning with blackberries, but if you want large lush juicy fruit and more importantly no thorns, then this is the variety for you. It has attractive lacey foliage and the large fruit are ready for picking September to October.

 Walnut 'Broadview,

Walnut ‘Broadview,

Walnut ‘Broadview’: Walnuts are hansom and large trees, this is a more compact form and early to fruit producing nuts with in 3 to 4 years. It is also self-fertile. It produces nuts early in the season, with round green fruits appearing from early August, picking into October, but steel a march on the Squirrels. Top tip, walnuts are also used in the dying industry, the green husks that surround the nut have a dark tanning, so where gloves and pick just as the husks begin to crack. Either eat, when still quite green. Or they dry well for eating latter in the winter.

Worcester Berry

Worcester Berry

Worcester berry:This unusual berry is ready to pick in late September. It makes a vigorous prickly bush, but the advantage is that it is mildew free or very nearly. It produces round dark purple almost black fruit a bit like a gooseberry and has a good flavour.

Worcester Berry

Worcester Berry

Mulberry morus ‘Nigra’: Mulberry Trees are the stuff of medieval gardens and Shakespeare and make long lived rambling trees that seem to be as happy horizontal as they do vertical. In England it is the black mulberry that really produces fruit, so alas no good for silk warms, it is the caterpillar of the silk month that feed on white mulberry leaves. Red juicy fruits start to appear in July into August and they are truly ripe when they are nearly black towards the end of August beginning of September.

Sweet Almond 'Robijn

Sweet Almond ‘Robijn

Sweet Almond ‘Robijn’: No Christmas nut bowl would be complete with out Almonds and although they are not grown as much as Walnuts, it is still possible to get a good Almond crop particularly in Southern England. They are also a smaller tree than a walnut so more suitable for the small garden. This is a new variety of sweet almond with a softer shell and a good flavour, nuts appear late summer in the green and ripen for picking in October.

 Autumn Nuts

Autumn Nuts

Autumn would not be complete with out great crops of Apples and other tree fruit, but I hope I have inspired you to plant some nut trees to join the Autumn bounty.

Mulberries and Blackberries

Mulberries and Blackberries

Everyone loves Blackberries, but adding to the Autumn berries with some more unusual berries like Worcester berry and Mulberries only adds to the joy of the season.

Happy Planting! If you would like help designing and planting a Nut GArove or Orchard, then I know just the woman to give you a hand. Contact me Emily on 01273 470753. To discuss all your garden design needs.

Crazy About Crocosmia

 Fiery colours

Fiery colours

As high summer approaches, many gardeners feel that colour socked boarders of mid-summer are over and July into August is a difficult time to injected summer brightness into the garden. Crocosmia can be your saviour. As hardy as hell, putting up with must soil conditions and creating great sweeps of colour there is much to love about this dependable old favourite.

 Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Emily McKenzie'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily McKenzie’

C.x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily Mckenzie’: clumps of sword like green foliage and very long lasting orange trumpet shaped flowers with a green throat, from August to September.

 Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Geogre Davison'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Geogre Davison’

C. x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’: Darker green leaves in dense clumps up to 75cm, with rich butter yellow flowers, July to August.

C. x crocosmiiflora ‘Solfatare’: Bronze foliage up to 60cm, with soft apricot trumpet flowers from July to September.

 Crococsmia 'Lucifer'

Crococsmia ‘Lucifer’

C. Lucifer: This is the big Daddy of Crocosmia, due to it’s height and the smack you in the face colour, it can’t be missed. Tall clumps of leaves 1/1.2m tall with flowers of vibrant red produced June to July.

 Croccosmia mansoniorum

Croccosmia mansoniorum

C. masoniorum: Arching stems and leaves up to 90cm tall, with bright vermilion orange flowers produced July to September.

 summer show stopper

summer show stopper

This herbaceous plant loves a bright sunny spot , but will cope with a little shade although they will not flower quite so well. So get planting and brightening up your high summer garden.

If you want help with designing planting and re-designing your garden, do give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753.

Architectural Plants

Architectural Planting

Architectural Planting

Architectural plants, are plants from herbaceous to trees that has stand out ‘star’ quality and can be used as a statemented at the corner of a boarder or edge of the path or bang slap in the meddle of the lawn, they are meant to stop you in your tracks. All of the plants listed below if used in the right spot have the ability to do that.

Abies koreana

Abies koreana

Abies koreana: the ‘Korean Fir’ is a very slow growing medium tree, with a broad crown. It has a mass of short blunt dark green needles held on white stems. The foliage looks very dramatic, It has dense barrel shaped blue crones that are held on the branches for a long time. This is a beautiful conifer which can be planted even in a smallish garden due to it’s very slow growth. It can be enjoyed for many years as a shrub. Good rich soil slightly acidic, in full sun or partial shade.

Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge'

Yucca filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’

Yucca filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’: Stiff lanceolate slightly glaucous leaves with creamy margins are held in wide rosette spirals up the stem/trunk of the shrub. A tall flower spike in hotter summers is produced in July/ August and rises up to a 1m above the plant. It is this shrubs striking form that makes it so eye catching. Although be careful when gardening with it, as it has sharp spikes on the end of the leaves. Good draining soil in full sun

Gunnera manicata

Gunnera manicata

Gunera manicata: This is the wow factor plant of any bog garden or waterside planting. With huge palmate leafs of up to 1m across held on stout stems reaching 1.5/2m high, Strange conical flowers that are brown/green are produced in July to August. Good humus rich damp soil part-shade, protect the crowns in the winter.

Cortaderia selloana 'Sunningdale Sliver'

Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Sliver’

Cortaderia selloana ‘Sunningdale Silver’: Pampas grass, it may have had bad press in the past, but in the right place this really can be a specimen plant. It makes a dense clump of arching 1.5m long thin leaves, which have a creamy white edge. Flower plumes of white to creamy flowers are produced from August to October and will last through the winter.

Tachycarpus fortunei

Tachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei.: This is a striking addition to the English garden, this ‘Palm’ adds a touch of the exotic! It has wide palmate leafs of dark green palm like fond on 30cm long stems edged with spikes. These leaves are produced in a spiral round the central trunk It can be either grown as a tree, or as s shrub in a planting or does equally well as a container plant. It is hardy and will cope with sea winds. Grow in good free draining soil in full sun.

Miscanthus x giganteus

Miscanthus x giganteus

Miscanthus x giganteus: This a huge grass and not for the faint hearted gardener. It has broad arching green foliage that hangs from statuesque stems reaching up to 3m tall, it make dense tickets of stems and can form a grass forest. It has white plumes of flowers held upright above the stems and produced in late summer. It is a great screening plant and although the leaves fall in the winter the dense stems remain.

Phyllostachy aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

Phyllostachy aureosulcata f. aureocaulis

Phyllostachys aureosulcata f. aureocaulis: Please note always plant bamboo with a bamboo barrier round it it help to prevent spreading. Remember these are very vigorous plants and can become a pest if they start to take over. Having said all that this really is a striking form and you expect to find Pandas, lurking round the back of the odd stem. Up to 8m in height it can’t be missed, making clumps of dense golden yellow stems with good green foliage, this is truly an architectural plant.

Picea pungens 'Hoopsii'

Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’

Picea pungers ‘Hoopsii’: A stunning conifer for the smaller garden, it makes a small to medium sized conical tree. It has brilliant sliver blue foliage, the branches have a wonderful stiff structure, adding to the over all effect of this striking tree

Like with all good things, moderation is key, a statement plant is only a statement if there is one of it or it is used sparingly, to get that wow factor. A lot of the plants I have suggested are large and have thuggish qualities so plant with care. But they can truly own a space and be that talking point, just make sure they don’t over run it!

If you would like help with designing and planting your garden or a section of it. Then do give me, Emily a ring 01273 470753.

Culinary Herbs

 Mixed Culinary Herbs

Mixed Culinary Herbs

Culinary herbs are easy to grow and no matter how large or how small your garden, even if it is just a window box.

 Bouquet Garni

Bouquet Garni

You can enjoy the added bonus of fresh herbs in your cooking, here are the top easy to grow favourites, which appear in many dishes.

 Curly leafed Parsley

Curly leafed Parsley

Curly leafed Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): A universal herb, possible the most widely used in Britain, from stews to salads or the last flourish as a garnish, it has a crisp fresh flavour. An easy to grow biannual, sow directly into drills in a moisture retentive soil in dappled shade to gentle sun, from April to August. Thin with care. The younger leaves of the first year are the most tender, remove flower spikes to length the cropping yield. To help continue harvesting into the late autumn, cover with a clouch. Also the harvest can be lengthened by cutting the remaining leaves at the end of the season and either freezing them or drying in paper bags hung in a warm space like a linen cupboard.

Marjoram vulgare

Marjoram vulgare

Marjoram (Origanum vulgare): A strong favourite in Italian cooking, with it’s distinctive flavour. From cooking fish to vegetable dishes and what rich tomato sauce would be complete with out it. A vigorous low growing preannual, grows well in any free draining soil, in full sun. It’s flowers are much enjoyed by butterflies and its pretty purple flower heads can turn great sections of poor chalk down land a rosy purple hue. Dries well, use the same method as above.

 Chives

Chives

Chives ( Allium schoenoprosum); This delicate flavoured member of the onion family is a must in many dishes from potato salads to garnishing spring and summer soups. The flowers can also be used in salads. This preannual seeds freely, and will seek out pavement cracks. Grow in full sun in most soils except very wet ones. To lengthen the harvest freeze.

 Mint

Mint

Bowles Mint ( Mentha x villosa nm. Alopecuroides): A wonderful herb this it just one variety out or a cornucopia of different flavours and colours, but according to Edward Augustus bowels who it is named after, this is the variety that makes the best mint sauce. As with all mints they can be vigorous thugs, plant them in open ground at your peril. So always plant in a good sized container, grow in good moisture retentive soil and in dappled shade. To lenghten the harvest, dry as above.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinallis: This is the common Rosemary, producing a strong growing evergreen shrub up to 1.3m in height and at least the same in width. Grow in free draining poor soils in full sun. This aromatic herb can be used to flavour both meats and puddings.

 Thymus

Thymus

Thymus vulgaris: the common thyme, a wonderfully versatile herb, a staple of a wide range of Mediterranean cuisines, from fish, meat and vegetable dishes and also adding a fragrant note to puddings and sweets. A low growing evergreen herb, it will grow well in most poor soils in full sun and has a mass of pink/purple flowers in mid summer.

pots of Herbs

pots of Herbs

This selection of herbs would be my starter kit of culinary herbs, all can be grown in pots, in fact apart from the Rosemary I would in courage this as it means the herbs are above cat and dog level. Culinary herbs are best as close to the kitchen as growing conditions will allow, so you can pop out and harvest them mid cooking.

cooking with herbs

cooking with herbs

Growing herbs is easy and can be achieved in little to no space and most important of all, fresh herbs can bring an extra dimension to your cooking. Enjoy!

Amazing Alliums

 A mass of Alliums!

A mass of Alliums!

The ornamental members of the onion family put a big wow into the flowering month of May, whether a mass of wild garlic, white below a woodland canopy or the statuesque tall purple globes of some varieties threaded through mixed planting. The Allium is a late spring bulb which packs a large punch and is easy to grow.

A. hollandicum’Purple Sensation’: A good garden favourite, which is very reliable. Reaching 70-90cm tall with dense round heads of rich purple. Full sun. Flowering May to June.

 Allium 'Moly Jeannine'

Allium ‘Moly Jeannine’

A. ‘Molly Jeanninne’ : A low growing showy allium which will cope with a bit of shade. Reaching 25/30cm tall. With 1 to 2 stems of umbel headed flowers in bright sulphur yellow flowering May to June.

 Allium 'Mont Blanc'

Allium ‘Mont Blanc’

A. ‘Mount Blanc’: A giant of an allium, reaching 1/1.2m in height, with large globe dense heads of white flowers. A stunning talking point to any boarder.

 Allium cristophii

Allium cristophii

A. Cristophii: an impressive allium with large round heads reaching dinner plate size, the flower heads have flowers in spaced clusters evenly distributed over the whole flowering head. A light mauve colour reaching 50/60cm, flowering mid May to June.

 Allium schubertii

Allium schubertii

A. Schubertii: A show stopper if an allium, with a flower head of up to 20cm in size, with different length flowers making the round globe, producing an explosive firer work effect. With light purple flowers, it also looks stunning dried. Reaching a height of 35/40cm. Flowering end of May into June.

 Allium atropurpureum

Allium atropurpureum

A. Atropurpureum: An elegant allium standing at 90cm/1m tall, with rich dense heads of dark purple flowers June.

 Amazing Alliums

Amazing Alliums

Alliums, add a flowering punch into the late spring boarder when the earlier bulbs have died down and before the main flush of herbaceous planting has taken off. Most prefer full sun, they will cope with most soil conditions, but don’t like drying out and equally will rot in very wet conditions.

I hope I have inspired you to add this easy to grow bulb to your planting schemes. If you would like help with planning and planting a new planting scheme, then give me, Emily a ring on 01273 470753, I will be delighted to help you with you planting project.