Despite the wintery showers this last week there is still plenty of foliage in the garden. I do like evergreen foliage. I know that there are many winter shrubs which have flowers before the leaves but I like to see some green outside on a grey day. One of the stalwarts of my garden is the prostrate rosemary which grows over the patio wall. It has been there some 6 or 7 years maybe even longer and has come through at least two very cold winters. I tend to take it for granted but at this time of yet it is a star not just for me but for the bees that feed on its nectar.
Choisya is another plant which really earns it keep in the winter. I know there are some that don’t like the yellowish foliage but I find it welcome.
And it wouldn’t be a foliage follow up post without featuring my favourite Melianthus major which just glows in the winter sun.
Close to the Melianthus is a collection of Watsonia pallida which is looking particularly good in the sun at the moment. I do like the strappy leaves they provide a nice contrast throughout the year to other foliage such as Geranium palmatum below
The Acanthus mollis foliage is still looking good although you will see that some of the leaves are spattered and this is mud which has been splattered up in the heavy rain we have recently had. I do like the glossy leaves which is lucky as it is an impossible plant to remove from the garden!
Many of the ferns are looking good with their wintergreen foliage. I particularly like the Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern) as the leaves are yellowish and come the summer they will take on a more orangeish hue. Like some of the other foliage on this post this plant seems to catch the winter sun very well.
Finally a sun kissed Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton Patty’ which is thriving having been planted a year ago.
So those our my foliage highlights this month. For more foliage posts visit Pam over at Digging
Long term readers of this blog may recall that last year I did a number of reviews for Plant Me Now mainly in relation to their bedding plants. I was always impressed with the quality of the plants and the package so I was more than happy to be asked to review some of their perennial starter plants this month.
The plants arrived in the usual good packaging and as you can see they come with excellent roots all ready to be potted up. I received two varieties of Geum – Mrs Bradshaw and Queen of Orange, some Poppy Garden Gnome and also Euphorbia Martinii. All quite hot colours but their offer of perennial starter plants covers a wide range of plants from Achillea to Viola in a whole wealth of colours.
I potted them all up and they are already looking as though they need potting up again and that’s after only about 2 weeks. I want them to put on a little more growth before I plant them out in the garden but then this approach is the purpose of the starter plant. You save the time and effort of growing from seed and also the cost of buying a plant that has reached maturity. It also allows you to buy more plants for your money which is particularly useful if you want to make a bit of an impact.
I shall do an update in a few months on how they have progressed but so far so good.
Despite the completely mad weather this weekend I have still managed to get my horticultural fix. Some say that a small tornado went across the country yesterday I don’t know if that is exactly what it was but my journey home from the monthly Hardy Plant Society group meeting was one of the most unpleasant journeys I have had for a while. The wind was so strong I could feel it pushing at the car, there was thunder and lighting, tree branches all over the road and at one point electricity cables flapping loose above the road. Luckily it seemed to have blown through very quickly and we were left with regular downpours of rain making the garden even more saturated than last weekend and quite frankly unworkable.
Luckily, although unsurprisingly, the HPS meeting was excellent. Amazingly, given the time of year there was plenty on the display table; my eye was particularly drawn to Fatsia ‘Spidersweb’ and I have even sussed out a potential site for one. The main talk was by Nick Macer of PanGlobal Plants – the theme was a planthunting trip to Manipur in India. Lots of wonderful hardy big leaved exotics to lust after. I was really pleased that Nick remembered a twitter conversation a few weeks back and bought with him a Grevillea victoriae and Polypodium cambricum ‘Richard Kaye’ which I was keen on. I also bought a Euphorbia pasteurii ‘Phrampton Phatty’ which although I realise can be quite thugish has wonderful foliage and will be going in the area I cleared last weekend. As ever I was tempted by the plants Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers had on offer and came away with a lovely pot of Eranthis hyemalis (see top photo) and some Narcissus romeuxii subspecies Albidus var zaianicus to add to my small but growing collection of Narcissus.
I did manage to steal 30 minutes to walk or squelch around the garden between showers to take some photographs and to see how the bulbs are progressing. My favourite border at the moment is the lower slope which runs behind what was the Bog Garden and which I planted up with epimediums, ferns and bulbs in the Autumn (above). I keep peering into the depths of the epimediums to see if there is any sign of the flowers appearing as I will be cutting back the evergreen foliage to show the flowers off.
Even if it hadn’t been so wet the ground was so sodden that any ideas of gardening would have had to be forgotten. Instead I cracked on with sowing seeds and in particular those of perennials that need the cold to help break dormancy. 20 packets of seeds from either the Hardy Plant society seed distribution scheme or from a Czech supplier I was put onto by a fellow plant nut were sown. They are predominantly woodland plants many with names that are new to me which is very exciting. I was even more excited to spot a paeonia seedling reappearing in one of the pots in the cold frame, the seed having been sown over a year ago. It seems I am rather drawn to paeonia as I have acquired 6 packets of them this year without really realising it – ho hum.