Wednesday, November 14, 2018


 Wisley Glass house;  The tuffa wall filled with plants that do not like it too wet and the rock retaining wall opposite covered in colourful Alpine plants. The two gardeners were weeding and replanting the tuffa wall, while we watched on. What a job.

Tanakaea radicans from the Saxifragaceae family very rare in gardens and in woodlands of Japan of which it is native. The plant is dioecious meaning there are male and female plants, the female plant does not produce runners or stolons while the male plant does. The creamy white flowers are Astilbe like but only getting to approx 10cm high. This was growing with Ramonda and other choice plants in a trough in Ireland. One to look out for, for those who order seed from Japan.
Farrer writes of it "Tanakaea radicans is a most pleasant little Japanese plant for light rich woodland soil in a comfortable cool corner, where, if it is happy, it will soon throw out runners freely from its main tuft of fringed-looking elliptic-pointed toothed leaves, leathery and richly green, from which ascend in summer stems of 6 inches, ending in loose fluffy spires of white blooms like those of a miniature Spiraea."
I notice Edrom Nursery in Scotland sometimes has it for sale and it is also listed in flora of China as Tanakaea omeiensis but the article does not mention about the plant being dioecious.

Rhododendron trichostomum Collingwood Ingram a little dwarf Rhododendron from Otto, one of his cuttings he gave me that is growing into a lovely little bush.

Allium karataviense the Turkestan onion from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and in Aaron's Glass house, the leaves are as lovely as the flower which last for quite some time.

Allium peninsulare is a North American species of wild onion also growing in Aaron's glass house, Raised from North American Rock Garden Soc seed.

Allium siskiyouense a flat leafed Allium also from North America known as the Siskiyou onion. Native to the Klamath Mountains and nearby ranges of Northern California and Oregon. CNPS rated as a rare plant, flowering in Aarons glass house.

Camassia leichtlinii Alba in Aarons garden. 

Leopoldina weissii 2/2010 Kirt Vickery seed.

Paris polyphylla variety Yunnanensis seed collected in China by Terry Smyth on a visit to China. Collection number 96248 in 1996. Luckily I passed a piece on to Aaron and he still grows it. It is a beautiful Paris and not very tall only reaching about 60cm.

Thymus serpyllum Elfin growing along Aarons sunny rock wall, the Thyme is about a meter in length.

Ornithogalum bungei Archibald seed 0738230 5/2003 very different to Otto's form, and flowering much later.

Aethionema pulchellum Grandiflorum flowering in a well drained position in Aarons garden an underrated genus of dwarf shrubs.

Linum ? lost name in Aarons rock garden about 30cm high, it gently seeds around and is a lovely little shrub for the rock garden.

A shrub that eventually gets to about a meter, too tall for the rock garden but I love it, Deutzia x elegantissima Rosealind  from Ken & Lesley Gillanders Nursery when they were selling plants from their Tasmanian Nursery. The flowers are also scented.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Otto and his plants

Otto has sent me some photos of the very rare plants flowering and growing in his garden at the moment. The beautiful Shortia uniflora Grandiflora growing in Otto's garden in a very cool position where it is not allowed to dry out and is kept moist at all times, flowered this year for the first time. The flower is quite large for the size of the plant and small leaves it was displayed on our bench about 4 weeks ago.

 Another beautiful plant in the glass house is Ophrys tenthredinifera with Dionysia flowering in the back ground.

Iris acutiloba in bud in Otto's Garden.

Iris acutiloba open and in full flower.

Otto has moved his rare and difficult Oncocyclus Iris to Ferny Creek Hort Soc. to make the most of the well drained soil, hot sunny conditions and good air flow in this garden. The small one on the left of this clump is Iris Thor it is an old hybrid between an Oncocyclus and a Regelia Iris made by the Dutch firm van Tubergen.

 The larger clump of Iris in the above photo is Iris kirkwoodiae calcarea that had 8 flowering stems which I think shocked everyone. These are close up photo's taken by Jon who kindly lent them to us. I'm afraid I couldn't choose which ones to put in so I have included them all. The markings and colouring of this Iris are extraordinary. Well done Otto and thank you to Jon for his beautiful photography.

Click on photo's to see the details of these Iris flowers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Convallaria and Rock Garden plants.

Convallaria majalis Flore Plena in flower at Margs garden, on the cool shady side of the house.

Convallaria majalis and Convallaria majalis variegata below both in Margs garden.

Convallaria majalis Rosea I have in large drifts I never poo poo these easy plants as they always put on a magnificent display, and there is always someone who cannot grow any of the Lily of the Valley.

Aquilegia canadensis nana a lovely little Aquilegia only 10cm high and will grow and seed right up against the house where very little else will grow.
If ever you can find the three little printed leaflets put out by Walter E. TH. Ingwersen and Will Ingwersen on "The Genus Aquilegia" the Hand-list published about 1949 no date on the leaflet, grab them, they are full of descriptive information. A lot of the Aquilegia described in these leaflets, I don't know if they are in cultivation any more. Apparently there were discoveries in Russia that had not been described yet, and since its publication there will be all the Aquilegia's in China.

Dianthus Whatfield Wisp covered in flower and Dianthus sp. Japan below.

Dianthus pavonius from seed, one I grow in a trough it does get a little large for a trough, but I don't want to loose it as it is the true form. The flowers are bearded and the colour varies from purple through to pale pink with the buff reverse on the backs of the petals. Which is how you tell you have the genuine thing. From Italy, France and Switzerland, click on photo to see the beard.

Gypsophila repens a lovely little underrated ground cover with deep pink flowers, fading to pale pink and leaves are a soft grey green, spreads to approx. 60-80cm wide by 10cm high. From central and Southern Europe amongst mountain rocks, an easy little Rock Garden plant.

Phlox adsurgens Wagon Wheels from a Tasmanian friend.

Leiophyllum buxifolium in full flower, a house warming gift from Otto when we moved in to this house. Likes morning sun.

Geranium sanguineum var striatum next to an unnamed Veronica. 

The Rock garden in full colour, which always makes me smile, when I had my nursery people would say "Oh I don't want any thing in yellow, I only grow flowers of White, pink and blue" and I grow every colour under the rainbow and love them all.

Linum x Gemmell's hybrid from seed so may be a little different when grown from original plant. A hybrid between L. elegans and L. campanulatum and that lovely large white flowering bush beside it is Ptilotrichum spinosum from Spain, which we found growing in Grazalema, but not nearly as good as this, just loves this position full sun. Smells of honey, flowers all year and available from Craig at Gentiana Nursery.

A lovely little shrubby Thyme I collected seed of in Spain.

 Semiaquilegia ecalcarata does well in my garden seeding gently, semi shade and a plant that I love, the little nodding spurless flowers are so quaint and old fashioned. Over the years there has been a lot of controversy about its name, but it is listed in the Encyclopaedia of Alpines so I feel confident that we can use this name. In 1989 the Botanist Maximowicz found it growing in eastern Kansu and named it, but it had been described and named by Sprague & Hutch previously. Also Miss Eastwood in 1891 had found a spurless Aquilegia at the head of Johnston Canyon in Colorado which she named A.ecalcarata but luckily this was renamed to A.micrantha var. mancosana, no wonder they keep renaming plants as more records are found of plant name, makes it very confusing for the rest of us though.

Semiaquilegia adoxioides raised by Aaron as Semiaquilegia Linnett Lavender. But as usual that is not a legitimate name it is just simply Semiaquilegia adoxioides about 10-12 cm high just as lovely as ecalcarata only white-pale lavender, scarcely spurred flowers. found in China, Korea and southern Japan at medium altitudes.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Erythronium Field

Recently a small group were invited to enjoy Erythronium revolutum at Tonkins Bulbs for a celebration of over 40 years of self sowing Erythronium revolutum. What a sight to behold it was.
When the Erythronium were first planted by the late Brian Tonkin every care was taken to save every bulb, now there is an acre of them, with a lovely selection of dark pink through to pale pink with a few pale forms.
Shirley and Jane Tonkin were our hosts with Mary and brother quietly in the back ground giving support. Deer now come in and eat the seed, but I guess they do not eat all of it as there were some small seedlings around. To see the full beauty click on the picture many thanks Jon for sharing your two pictures.

Trillium cuneatum was just coming up through the grass enjoying the high shade at Tonkins Bulbs.
Tonkin bulbs Nursery is open now and they have some very choice bulbs.

Now some more photos from Darien and Col in Canberra the Narcissus is a Lawrence Trevanion seedling, and what a beauty. Below is Trillium rugelii? but I am loath to identify without seeing the flower up close and the label has been lost. This is its first year to flower and Col asks is this normal for the flowers to open up under the leaves. This is normal Col you need to plant them up higher so you can see into the flowers. Its difficult on a flat block I know from experience. Well done though growing and flowering Trillium's in your hot climate.

A few plants out in flower in my garden at the moment.

Narcissus atlanticus only 10cm high, a small white one for a semi shaded position, you can't dry this Narcissus out in our heat, you don't keep it wet just moist other wise you will loose it. From Glenbrook bulbs.

Androsace sarmentosa Sheriffii from Ken and Leslie Gillanders Nursery many years ago.

Androsace villosa with Arenaria tetaquetra and Helianthemum oelandicum subspecies piloselloides n'Hug Spain. When my Androsace come out in the garden, my mind always goes straight to Spain and on our very first day we drove to n'Hug stepped out of the car and it was under our feet the very difficult Androsace villosa.

Anemone apennina one for semi shade.

Anemone heldreichii from the late Marcus Harvey 2005 easily lost in the garden so I grow it in a large pot, loves the sun.

Babiana cedarbergensis with little orange tips on the ends of the petals, a gift from a friend.

Babiana pygmaea a bulb that was left behind in my old garden, but now up again from New Zealand seed exchange still vey small, but I will build it up again.

Lastly a lovely prostrate Aethionema glaucinum that Aaron raised from North American Rock Garden Society seed exchange. I will need to do cuttings as we need several of these as I think Aaron said he had lost his and I only have the one plant growing in a trough. An excellent crevice garden plant.
Our next meeting is at 2.00pm on Saturday 27th October with a cutting swop day, so bring along your plant cuttings to share and any thing you want to propagate and we will have fun growing them on, for the Bunfight and for your gardens. I will also show you how to pot on your seedlings and explain when not to pot on.