Monday, June 26, 2017

 The Young's Garden



Even though many of us belong to the Scottish Rock Garden Forum and view Ian & Maggi's garden regularly, there are many who have not seen this magnificent garden, that is just filled with the most choicest of plants. The minute you walk up the path into the garden you are greeted with a drive way planted full of Fritillaria meleagris, you know you are in for a treat.


Troughs are positioned strategically, old stone troughs, the famous fish box troughs of polystyrene that are moulded with a heat gun and very large trough made from concrete slabs joined with long bolts going from side to side holding them together, filled with slabs of stone to create crevice garden conditions. This brings the tiny plants closer to the eye and provides growing conditions to suit the plants that are growing in them.


The large concrete slab trough.


Bonsai tree's add height and lead the eye into the garden beyond.


The edging on the pond is under construction again, allowing more planting to take place, as you can see at the bottom of this photo below, Erythronium's are a large part of the garden, some that Ian and Maggi have bred them selves, separating the very best and giving them names such as Erythronium 'Craigton Cover Girl'. They have beautiful markings and the flowerers seemed very large to me.


Looking towards the house and garden.


Ian's garden sculpture.


 Two gorgeous well behaved little girls, considering all the strangers in their garden.









Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Arisaema's "The day of the triffids".


This is a collection of Arisaema photos that I have taken, most have been grown in Australia but others were from over sea's, some are easy to grow other not so, finding the right position is the key to keep Arisaema's alive and multiplying, so a little research as to where they grow and come from needs to be done before planting.
Our first Arisaema was photographed in Ken and Leslie Gillanders garden in Tasmania, prior to them moving to a smaller property. Ken did not know its name, but it is certainly interesting.


Arisaema candidisima does very well in woodland gardens in Australia, photo from my old garden, it was severely affected by our drought we had and high temperatures of over 40deg celsius for days on end. I lost a large group except for one pip, it multiples readily and spreads underground when happy, not too dry but needs to be kept moist in summer months. Available from a lot of the smaller Nurseries.


Arisaema consanguineum taken in Phyll Bears garden, A. consanguineum has a few variants of coloured spathes. Phyll was the queen of Arisaema's. Arisaema speciosum was like a weed in her garden.


Arisaema speciosum coming up like triffids, they used to get up to about a meter tall with big, thick, dark brown, marbled stems and were more of a feature than the flowers they were magnificent so majestic. Phyll grew them under the high shade of a very large old blackwood tree and the tubers were planted shallowly, just virtually on the top of the soil, with a good top dressing of leaf mulch spread around the tubers in a moist soil. Phyll explained to my son then about 18 years old that if you planted the tubers too deep the tubers would rot, goodness knows how they held those tall stems and leaves upright they must have sent out strong surface root's. Arisaema speciosum dies after it flowers, but it usually will set seed and you may get a few pips remaining around the old spent tuber. Apologies for poor photo below, only one I had of Phyll's Arisaema speciosum in flower. (Above and Below)




Arisaema formosanum? taken in Val Popham's garden in New Zealand, so many of the Arisaema names were mixed up, especially the ones that we imported from China.


Arisaema japonicum photographed in Christchurch Botanical Gardens, near the little stream that runs through the Primula and woodland area. Moist, semi shaded position.




Above and below Lynn Mc Gough's Arisaema kiushianum two photo's taken same day at different stages of growth,  just before Lynn and Baz moved to NSW.




I can claim this Arisaema lingyunense with it's very dark almost black cobra head flower, an import from China. The spadix appendage, I used to curl up in the leaf it was so long, but tubers have gone backwards and it has not flowered for quite a few years (Above and Below)




Another Arisaema from Ken and Leslie Gillander's garden, Arisaema nepenthoides, growing in a wooded area with plenty of shade and it was quite moist.
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This dark photo was taken in the hall at The New Zealand Alpine Garden show. Arisaema peninsulae it could be variety atro-purpureum.


Arisaema propinquum at Wisley Gardens UK.


Arisaema ringens we have two forms of A. ringens growing in Australia the black nose form and a green nose form. All grow extremely well in a large pots that I repot every few years. They flower and look good for a very long time, putting on a beautiful display. They are readily available from Lynn's rare plants, Gary and Sue Reid at Allans Flat Victoria. Lynn grows all her Arisaema's in the garden that is usually heavily mulched and regularly digs them up to sell and I think that keeps the plants multiplying, disturbing them all the time, lifting and dividing. Green nosed Arisaema ringens below photo courtesy Lynn Mc Gough.




Arisaema sikokianum  no makings on the leaf above and below Arisaema sikokianum Takedae with the light green markings on the leaf. Arisaema sikokianum is not easy to keep in cultivation it seems to come and go. Best raised constantly from seed, which it does seem to set when happy in a well drained woodland position, don't dry seed out and plant as soon as it is ready.



We had a group of people go to China specifically to collect Arisaema seed quite a few years ago 1997. It was a subscribed trip and the seed was divided between the donors the collection number of the Arisaema above is GSE 97 9683 3 a soft green and pink flower sadly is no longer with me.
Below a slight variation of the above Arisaema collection number GSE 97 9655 2.




Arisaema taiwanense collection number BSW 200 Wisley Glass house U K taken 2001 



Arisaema thunbergii ssp Urashima taken at the Alpine Garden Society conference.



Arisaema thunbergii ssp Urashima here in my garden, woodland position but not too damp.


An easier Arisaema tortuosum.


A very difficult Arisaema wilsonii, difficult to grow and flower well and more difficult to keep plants from raised seed going for any length of time, but Lynn seems to have this one growing and flowering well from imported plants from China.


I find this Arisaema franchetianum from imported bulbs from China, needs to be repotted every year to keep it multiplying well. Grown in a good potting mix with plenty of leaf mulch added and a course sand mixed through the potting mix, when plants are dormant I repot and place pots in a shaded position open to rain. It grows quite well for me. 
Reference book The Genus Arisaema by Guy & Liliane Gusman




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sibillini, Italy

As there's not much going on in the garden at the moment I thought I might post some photos taken by me on a recent trip to Italy. All photos where taken in the Sibillini Mountains (Italy), part of the central Apennines. Click on each image to enlarge. - Jon

Corydalis cava

Cyclamen repandum

Edraianthus graminifolius

Globularia cordifolia

Hepatica nobilis

Muscari neglectum

Muscari comosum

Ophrys sphegodes with Anacamptis morio in the background

Orchis italica

Saxifraga sp.

Valeriana tuberosa

Viola eugeniae

Monday, June 5, 2017

Anchusa caespitosa


 I never stood a chance of not growing Alpine plants, my very first book when we were first married was the Collins Guide To Alpines By Anna N Griffith from my mother in law and then my mother gave me Alpines for trouble free gardening by Alan Bloom. Anchusa caespitosa was in both books, with a coloured plate in Collins Guide to Alpines and I wanted to grow it way back then and I still have a hankering for it. Of course it is never seen on seed lists any where and it is not on the approved plant list anyway for Australia. I had better do a weed risk assessment for it.
Both of these photo's were taken in New Zealand, the top picture was in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens glass house, hence the bars, and the bottom photo was at the New Zealand Alpine Garden Soc. show held each year in September in Christchurch, an excellent show.
Walking along a back lane close to where we were staying in Christchurch, before all of their earthquakes, we came across a small plant sale with Anchusa caespitosa for sale, the lady had about 10 plants for sale at $3.50 each, a pittance for such a rare plant. I explained to her it was a very rare plant and she replied but its so easy to propagate, you just pull a clump apart and cuttings must have a heel and you let it dry out for a few days like Sedums and then you pot the cuttings up, and they nearly all grow.
The Alpine Garden Soc. Encyclopaedia of Alpines says Anchusa cespitosa syn. A. caespitosa is from the White Mountains of Crete on dry limestone slopes. The choicest alpine anchusa. Beautiful large 1.2cm wide blue forget-me-not flowers with a white eye and bristly strap-shaped deep green leaves. Introduced into cultivation in 1930s and it is still a rare plant as it is by no means easy. I guess no one has told the lady in the lane way in Christchurch. I do apologise for the quality of the pictures but they are scans form my old photo's.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Margaret and Henry Taylor's Garden


The second of the Scottish gardens. Every plant in this garden had a story behind it, how it grew in the wild, where it came from and all were grown extremely well. Thank goodness I had an excellent photographer with me as, I was so involved in conversation with these two very knowledgeable people that I think I only took one photo and that was of the Ranunculus parnassifolius. Every nook and cranny had some exquisite plant growing in it. So many I recognise now from Spain as Margaret and Henry Taylor wrote the Mountain Flower Walks, The Pyrenees and Picos de Europa Book that we used every day on our trip to Spain it was so useful, as we had no guide, we were totally reliant on it for information. But the Taylors had very extreme weather the year before our visit and had lost a large Eucryphia and a few other quite large trees from extreme frosts, so it is difficult gardening in all parts of the world.


Pleonie unknown


Looking up towards the glass house.


Celmisia's and Ranunculus all grow beautifully in this garden, as did Meconopsis punicea and Adonis.


A selection of Sempervivum arachnoideum all found growing in Spain.


You may be able to pick out the Paraquilegia almost in the centre of the rock garden.


Saxifraga's about 8 varieties all in this small area and the small fern's that I didn't pay much attention to until I came home and looked at the photo's, it's amazing how much you don't see when looking around a garden.


You will need to click on this photo to see the detail in this picture, there is a large Haberlea, Primula's an Aquilegia, Ramonda's and Ramonda nathaliae and a yellow flowering Primula that looks like P. palinuri? with the short toothed leaves from the sea cliffs in south-western Italy that does well in Australia if you can get it to germinate from seed, Saxifraga's on the top of the mound and at the sides.


Ranunculus parnassifolius


A raised bed with Gentian verna in front and Fritillaria persica? up against the glass house to get the radiated heat from the glass.


This lovely old sink is surround by Viola's and back towards the house are more Viola's