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"
You’ve probably heard of the spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) and the summer snowflake (L. aestivum). But did you know there is also an autumn snowflake? Originally named L. autumnale, this is now known as Acis autumnalis. The autumn snowflake comes from the western end of the Mediterranean, growing on stony hillsides and other rocky places. The flowers […]Read more "Autumn snowflake"
Many bulbs have evolved in hot, dry climates. They wait for spring or autumn rains to begin growth, then flower and set seed before conditions become hostile again. A few, such as our native fritillaria melegaris, enjoy moister growing conditions. Another member of the same family, fritillaria reuteri, revels in wet spots. Here it is, […]Read more "Some like it wet"
While we are waiting for the large tulips to start, many of the smaller species ones are out of bed and flowering already. One of these is Tulipa praestans, a native of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, where it grows on rocky slopes and screes, and in light woodland. In the garden, it should be given a […]Read more "An excellent tulip"
With galanthophiles staring intently at the ground at present, there is more than enough white around the garden. So a brilliant burst of yellow at soil level is more than welcome. Winter aconites, or Eranthis hyemalis to give them their botanic name, grow from small tubers, usually planted in the autumn. Some gardeners complain they are […]Read more "Little bowls of sunshine"
Keen gardeners get impatient at this time of year. Bulbs have been poking their noses through the soil since autumn, and we want them to grow a bit more and open their flowers to show that spring really is on the way. But they are not going to be rushed. Rain, hail or snow will […]Read more "Hungry to flower"
As well as the big Flower Shows such as Chelsea and Hampton Court, the RHS runs smaller events in London at their Lindley and Lawrence Halls, just off Vincent Square. The first of these is held in mid February each year. You come in from a bleak landscape to be confronted by a kaleidoscope of […]Read more "It Caught My Eye"
Gladiolus – those brash, showy, top-heavy spikes of flowers, often seen at flower shows but rarely in gardens these days. Well yes, there are those, but there also the specie gladioli, smaller, more subtle, and sometimes hardy enough to be left in the ground over winter. Growing from corms, gladioli are found in Asia, Mediterranean Europe, […]Read more "Glad all over"
Those who live in the UK may remember two series of programmes on the BBC called “The Great British Garden Revival.” One of them featured Carol Klein extolling the virtues of heritage varieties of daffodils, some of which have naturalised in the hedgerows of Cornwall, a county that used to grow them for the early cut […]Read more "Some heritage daffodils"
Have you noticed how many plant names have changed in the past few years? Schizostylis became hesperis, dicentra spectabilis is now lamprocapnos spectabilis (who makes up these names?!), and some of the asters are now symphiotrichum. Several years ago, Russian botanists decided fritillaria sewerzowii displayed enough differences from the rest of the family to be split […]Read more "A frit by any other name"