When an idea comes together

The soil in one part of my south-facing front garden is heavy clay. Although most sources state that hemerocallis need a “moist but well-drained soil”, several different varieties having been growing here quite happily for more than ten years. In an attrmpt to extend the seaon of interest, I added some narcissus ‘Tete-a-tete’ a couple […]

Read more "When an idea comes together"

An unlikely berberis relative

We all know berberis shrubs, often big unruly monsters with vicious thorns (which we rapidly discover when trying to reduce them to a more manageable size). But within the berberidaceae family is the genus gymnospermium, comprising twelve members. These are small plants growing from a tuber, flowering in early spring. They are native to temperate […]

Read more "An unlikely berberis relative"

By George, he’s tough

All keen gardeners look foward to the new year with a sense of anticipation. Early spring  sorts the optimists from the pessimists – those who look foward to the first blooms, welcoming the frontrunners in the flowering calendar, and those who decry their precociousness, heaping doom and destruction from the fickle weather on their temerity […]

Read more "By George, he’s tough"

From Leicestershire to Berkshire

The story starts with a man called George – Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George Frederick Stanley to be precise.  He was a British soldier and Conservative Party politician, who also served as the Governor of Madras and Acting Viceroy of India. A son of the 16th Earl of Derby, he married a titled lady, Beatrix Taylour, daughter […]

Read more "From Leicestershire to Berkshire"

Japanese Jewel

According to Wikipedia, “eranthis (winter aconite) is a genus of eight species of flowering plants in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, native to southern Europe and east across Asia to Japan.” E. hyemalis is the one from France and Italy and the one that is most commonly grown, while E. cilicica is similar (and is sometimes listed […]

Read more "Japanese Jewel"

The Race to be First

Early flowers are always welcome, the precursors to spring that try to banish winter with their early promise. I have three different daffodils that vye to be the first into bloom, a race against the horticultural clock. Narcissus ‘Cedric Morris’ was the winner for several years. I have knoon this to be in flower for […]

Read more "The Race to be First"

A nudist for Christmas

It may be common as muck, but winter jasmine, jasminum nudiflorum, is very welcome at this time of year. Not only does it flower in mid winter, but the bright yellow of its blooms brighten what can be a very gloomy time of year. A native of China, this is strictly speaking a lax shrub growing […]

Read more "A nudist for Christmas"