Monthly Archives: April 2015

Pasque Flower – spring magic

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Eschscholzia californica ‘Rose Chiffon’ (Thai Silk Series)


Eschscholzia can be annuals or perennials, with finely divided leaves and solitary, long-stalked, poppy-like yellow, orange or red flowers, followed by conspicuous long seed-pods

‘Rose Chiffon’ is an annual to 25cm tall, with blue-green foliage and semi-double flowers to 6cm across, the fluted petals heavily flushed rose-pink on a cream ground, red on the reverse

Common Name: California poppy ‘Rose Chiffon’
Family: Papaveraceae
Color flower: Cream, Pink and Red in Summer
Hardiness: H3 (half hardy – unheated greenhouse/mild winter)
Color foliage: Blue and Green in Spring and Summer
Height: 0.1-0.5 metres
Habit: Bushy
Habit: Generally pest free
Pruning: Cut back after flowering
Spreadid: North-facing
Time to ultimate height: 1 year
Exposure: Will thrive in poor, well-drained soil but they need full sun for the flowers to open. Can be grown as a drought-tolerant container plant. Good for exposed or coastal areas
Garden characteristics: Banks and Slopes, City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Gravel Garden or Patio/Container Plants

Antirrhinum majus ‘Bells Pink’ (Bells Series)


Antirrhinum can be annuals, perennials or sub-shrubs, with simple leaves and tubular, 2-lipped flowers which may be solitary or in terminal racemes, in summer and autumn

‘Bells Pink’ is an early-flowering dwarf snapdragon to 30cm tall, with erect racemes of mid-pink, open, almost bell-shaped flowers

Common Name: snapdragon ‘Bells Pink’
Family: Plantaginaceae
Color flower: Pink in Autumn and Summer
Hardiness: old H3 (may need winter protection)
Color foliage: Green in Autumn, Spring and Summer
Height: 0.1-0.5 metres
Habit: Bushy
Habit: May be attacked by aphids
Pruning: Deadhead to prolong the flowering display
Spreadid: North-facing
Time to ultimate height: 1 year
Exposure: Grow in a sunny position in well-drained soil
Garden characteristics: City/Courtyard Gardens, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Garden Edging or Patio/Container Plants

Crocus goulimyi – spring beauty


Crocus are dwarf, deciduous perennials growing from a corm, with linear leaves usually with a silvery central stripe, and goblet-shaped, sometimes fragrant flowers in autumn or early spring

C. goulimyi is a cormous perennial, flowering as the leaves appear in autumn. Flowers rather small and almost globose, with a long tube, lilac with a white throat, the inner tepals paler and slightly shorter

Common Name: fall crocus
Family: Iridaceae
Color flower: White and Pale Purple in Autumn
Hardiness: H4 (hardy – average winter)
Color foliage: Green in Autumn
Height: Up to 10 cm
Habit: Tufted
Habit: Corms are vulnerable to mice, voles and squirrels
Pruning: No pruning required
Spreadid: South-facing
Time to ultimate height: 2-5 years
Exposure: Grow in a bulb frame or alpine house in a mix of equal parts loam, leaf mould and sharp sand or grit. Water freely in the growing season and apply a low-nitrogen fertiliser monthly. Keep completely dry in summer dormancy. Can be grown outdoors in a gritty, poor to moderately fertile soil
Garden characteristics: Banks and Slopes, City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Gravel Garden, Patio/Container Plants or Rock Garden

Penstemon ‘Pennington Gem’


Penstemon may be deciduous or evergreen perennials or subshrubs, with simple, narrow leaves and racemes or panicles of bell-shaped or funnel-shaped flowers in summer and early autumn

‘Pennington Gem’ is a compact semi-evergreen perennial forming a clump to 80cm in height, with narrow grey-green foliage and copious erect racemes or panicles of tubular, white-throated clear pink flowers 4cm in length

Common Name: penstemon ‘Pennington Gem’
Family: Plantaginaceae
Color flower: Pink and White in Autumn and Summer
Hardiness: H3 (half hardy – unheated greenhouse/mild winter)
Color foliage: Green and Grey/Silver in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter
Height: 0.5-1 metres
Habit: Clump-forming
Habit: May be attacked by slugs, snails and chrysanthemum eelworms
Pruning: Deadhead after flowering to maintain vigour, then cut back to base in winter
Spreadid: North-facing
Time to ultimate height: 2-5 years
Exposure: Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. In cold areas, protect plant overwinter with a dry winter mulch
Garden characteristics: City/Courtyard Gardens, Cottage/Informal Garden or Flower borders and beds

Spring Beauty in Holand

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Cyclamen ‘Sierra Scarlet’ (Sierra Series) – Fantastic colors


Cyclamen are tuberous perennials with rounded, sometimes angular, leaves which are often attractively mottled. The nodding, characteristically shaped flowers have 5 reflexed and twisted petals, often with dark markings at the base

‘Sierra Scarlet’ is a tuberous plant to 30cm tall, with rounded, marbled leaves and deep crimson flowers marked with maroon around the mouth

Common Name: cyclamen ‘Sierra Scarlet’
Family: Primulaceae
Color flower: Dark Red in Winter
Hardiness: old H1 (requires heated greenhouse/indoors)
Color foliage: Green and Grey/Silver in
Height: 0.1-0.5 metres
Habit: Bushy
Habit: Mice and squirrels may be a problem
Pruning: No pruning required
Spreadid: North-facing
Time to ultimate height: 1 year
Exposure: Grow indoors or under glass in containers of loam-based compost with the tops of the tubers just above the soil surface. Maintain bright filtered light with moderate humidity and a minimum winter temperature of 13 to 16 °C. Avoid draughts and hot dry air. When in growth water moderately and apply a low nitrogen liquid fertiliser fortnightly. Reduce water after flowering and keep dry when dormant
Garden characteristics: Patio/Container Plants

Acalypha hispida


Acalypha can be evergreen shrubs or trees, or annuals, with simple leaves and catkin-like racemes of tiny flowers, brightly coloured in some species

A. hispida is an erect evergreen shrub of open habit, to 2.5m in height, with large ovate leaves and pendulous fluffy red catkin-like flowerheads to 45cm in length, produced sporadically throuhout the year

Common Name: red-hot cat’s tail
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Color flower: Red in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter
Hardiness: H1b (heated greenhouse – subtropical)
Color foliage: Dark Green in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter
Height: 1.5-2.5 metres
Habit: Bushy
Habit: May be attacked by glasshouse whitefly, glasshouse red spider mite, mealybugs and scale insects
Pruning: Pruning group 10
Spreadid: East-facing
Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years
Exposure: Grow under glass or indoors in a loam-less potting compost in full or filtered light. When in growth water freely and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser monthly. Water sparingly in winter, keeping barely moist. Can be grown outdoors in fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil in sun or part shade but only in warmer climes
Garden characteristics: Low Maintenance