London in bloom in February

A superb gold medal winning display was created by our Plant Heritage London Group, at the RHS Early Spring Plant Fair. The display illustrated a range of plants that are in flower or fruit now.  At first glance the display catches your eye with the wide variety of plants, but then you start looking at the details.  It’s a feast for the eye, and the nose, particularly at this time of year.  Visitors lingered along the display stopping at particular plants to simply enjoy them, and to wonder where they have come from and some took notes perhaps finding a particular Camellia they had not seen before.

Such a display is only possible with tremendous team work from the London Group: Gerald Goddard, Antonia Cannon, Angela Hepple, Fiona Crumley, Pat Huff, Peter and June Lloyd, Toby Vane and James Callicott with help from garden staff of Chiswick House.  Plus the volunteers who manned the stand during the Show.

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The generosity of the plant donors is an important part of this display, so thanks go to London members, and for the contributions from the gardens of  Buckingham Palace, Capel Manor, Chiswick House, Isabella Plantation, Marlborough House, Myddelton House and Regent’s Park, plus the invaluable skills and time given by the gardeners from all of these gardens in sorting and preparing the plant material.

Amongst others the plant that caught my eye was  Freylinia  lanceolata (Honey Bush),which is a tenderish evergreen from South Africa with panicles of fragrant flowers, and the Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’ known as Silver Hedgehog Holly.

The challenge and the beauty of this display is that the team never know what plants they will have until the day before the Show, so a gold medal is lovely reward for this display.

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Love your rose Collections on Valentine’s Day

We have 11 National Plant Collections of Rosa, spanning the UK from Edinburgh to Hampshire.  From old English roses to Scottish and Japanese roses, rambling, shrub and ancient Gallica roses – there’s a Collection to woo all lovers of the nation’s favourite flower.  Wherever you live, why not plan some visits to see them this summer?

Rosa 'Etoile de Holland'

Rosa ‘Etoile de Holland’

AYRSHIRE: Rosa rugosa

BERWICKSHIRE, SCOTLAND: Rosa (pre 1900 Gallica cvs.)

CIRENCESTER: Rosa (rambling)

OPEN DAY: 25 June 2-6pm

EDINBURGH: National Trust for Scotland, Malleny Garden, Rosa (19th century shrubs)

http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Malleny-Garden

ESSEX/EAST LONDON: St Francis Hospice, Rosa – intro by Pemberton & Bentall 1912-1939

www.pembertonroses.org.uk

HAMPSHIRE: National Trust, Mottisfont Abbey, Rosa (pre 1900 shrub roses)

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

LANCASHIRE: Rosa – hybrid musk intro by Pemberton & Bentall 1912-1939

http://www.duttonhall.co.uk/

OPEN WEEKEND 24-25 June 1-5pm

NORWICH: Rosa – Peter Beales Old Rose Collection

www.classicroses.co.uk

OPEN WEEKEND: 17-18 June (17 June 10am-6pm, 18 June 10am-5pm)

SHREWSBURY: Peter Boyd, Rosa spinosissima (syn. R. pimpinellifolia) Scots Roses & hybrids.

www.peterboyd.com

ST ALBANS: The Royal National Rose Society, Rosa spp. & cvs.

www.rnrs.org.uk

WOLVERHAMPTON: Rosa (English roses bred by David Austin)

www.davidaustinroses.com

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Plant Heritage at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – In pictures

National Collection Holder Kristopher Harper and Rachel de Thame after filming for the BBC

National Collection Holder Kristopher Harper and Rachel de Thame after filming for the BBC

Sarah Cook & Anne Milner, Iris introduced by Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur J Bliss.

Sarah Cook & Anne Milner, Iris introduced by Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur J Bliss.

Barry Clarke and his National Plant Collection of Rubus

Barry Clarke and his National Plant Collection of Rubus

The Plant Heritage zone inside the Floral Marquee

The Plant Heritage zone inside the Floral Marquee

Chris Brickell with the Chris Brickell award winners - Margaret McKendrick and Judy Barker

Chris Brickell with the Chris Brickell award winners – Margaret McKendrick and Judy Barker

BBC presenter Joe Swift with Philip Oostenbrink filming his National Plant Collection of Hakonechloa macra & cultivars

BBC presenter Joe Swift with Philip Oostenbrink filming his National Plant Collection of Hakonechloa macra & cultivars

BBC's Matt Biggs opening the Plant Heritage Zone on Press Day

Garden journalist Matt Biggs opening the Plant Heritage Zone on Press Day

Gary and Maria Firth and their National Plant Collection of Myrtaceae (Tribe Myrteae)

Gary and Maria Firth and their National Plant Collection of Myrtaceae (Tribe Myrteae)

Harper & Debbage - Fuchsia cultivars introduced by James Lye

Harper & Debbage – Fuchsia cultivars introduced by James Lye

Our Missing Genera stand

Our Missing Genera stand

Jonathan Hogarth and his National Collection of Small and Miniature Hosta

Jonathan Hogarth and his National Collection of Small and Miniature Hosta

Visitors to Plant Heritage's Seed Shop

Visitors to Plant Heritage’s Seed Shop

 

Linda Heywood’s (Echium World) new National Plant Collection of Echium spp., & cvs., from the Macaronesian Islands

Linda Heywood’s (Echium World) new National Plant Collection of Echium spp., & cvs., from the Macaronesian Islands

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Late

I couldn’t walk the Hartland Peninsula without paying a visit to Westcountry Nurseries to see the National Plant Collection of Lupinus.  When I arranged this visit with Sarah Conibear in February it seemed to be perfect timing to see the Collection coming into bloom ready for the upcoming shows.

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But as we all know – and I certainly do after a week walking on the North Coast of Devon with a wind coming straight down from the Arctic – it’s been a cold Spring and there was not a flower in sight – not even the promise of one at the base of the leaves.  Sarah reckons that the plants are about a month behind schedule.

National Collection of lupins

National Collection of lupins

Sarah was a professional clarinettist but retrained as a horticulturist and was awarded National Plant Collection status in 2005.  The Collection is propagated by cuttings and housed in a large tunnel.  The first thing they did when they bought their current site was to sink a borehole, lupins are thirsty plants and you can see that there is a very efficient watering system to make sure the plants don’t dry out. 

Sale plants ready for Malvern

Sale plants ready for Malvern

Most of her sales are by mail order but she is displaying at the Malvern Spring Show this week, Sarah is taking lots of lupin stock with her but will have to build her display with other spring flowering plants in order to inject some colour into the stand.  To get you in the mood, here are some pictures taken in past years of Sarah’s Chelsea displays.

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There’ll be lots of other National Plant Collection holders at  the Malvern show and the weather looks perfect this weekend for a visit.  Follow this link for a list of nurseries at the show.

 

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Placed, not plonked

Eucalyptus vista

Towering Eucalyptus trees are better than a SatNav in finding the way to Meon Orchard, home of Doug and Linda Smith and their three National Plant Collections of Antipodean rarities; Araliaceae and Podocarpus as well as the aforementioned giants.
Sparsholt College is featuring these genera in their display at the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show and with little more than a month before the show opens, Doug had invited the students along to select suitable plants for the garden.

Chris Bird and Doug Smith

Chris Bird and Doug Smith

Students have been working in four teams on the different aspects of the garden; Plants, Construction, Water Feature and Graphics.  Since the autumn they have been selecting and growing plants, designing and constructing the  hard landscape items, creating the water feature and developing the leaflet and other display material needed for the stand.

The Plan

The Plan

Taking the dimensions from the plan, the relevant area was laid out on the lawn and pots were moved into place.

Measuring the bed

As they were laid out tutor Chris Bird talked them through the concepts of designing in 3 dimensional triangles, making sure that the garden looks good at all levels – remember the wheelchair view and the techniques such as chocking the pots to raise them to the same height.

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As the design started to come together the students were told to ‘snake the Podocarpus through the gaps’ or put in ‘a canoodling of the yellow variant at the front’.

Chris points it out

And so we go from ‘plonked’ plants to a layout which will work in the final design. Sight lines through to other parts of the garden, contrasting foliage combinations and interest at all levels.

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The plants are putting on new growth, so will be different again by the end of May.

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Then the challenge of recording the positioning of the plants so that the design can be recreated at the show.

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What better way to spend a warm sunny early spring day?

The team

The team

 

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A weekend in Worcestershire

Last weekend I had the chance to visit Malvern in Worcestershire before hosting the Plant Heritage Members’ day at Bodenham Aboretum and we chanced upon Picton Garden at Old Court Nurseries who keep a National Collection of Michealmas Daisies.  The Gardens are beautiful but the main attraction at this time of the year are the Asters and  Symphyotrichum novi-belgii in so many forms and colours.

Old Court Nurseries was established by Ernest Ballard in 1906 and he was one of the first nurserymen to specialise in breeding Asters, devoting 50 years to doing so. His work was carried on by Percy Picton, who purchased the nursery in 1956 and since then this has been a family  business with 3 generations of Pictons involved.

The Picton garden wase also bursting with colour and showed helpful planting combinations for Asters and more.

The nursery has over 400 different varieties of Michalemas Daisy which are like jewels in a the autumn border at this time of year.  The range is extraordinary.

The following day I joined the Plant Heritage tour of Bodenham Arboretum, near Kiddiminster whether there was stunning colour once again.

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Bodenham is also a family run affair, having been founded by David Binnian family in 1973. The Arboretum and attached farm are now run by his son James, who gave us a guided tour whilst James’s son Sam runs the visitor centre.

After the tour we enjoyed hot soup and hot farm-raised turkey baguettes in the visitor centre beside the lake followed by a fascinating talk by John Grimshaw about the Yorkshire Arborteum, which holds National Colections of Picea and Abies.  October is a great month to visit Arboretums and we have a number of National Collections of trees so why not take a trip next weekend?

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Zootime

Bristol Zoo is still in a unique position in that it holds the only dispersed National Plant Collection.  Their Collection of Calendula is held in locations all over the city – schools, community groups and residential centres and this dispersal over many sites is advantageous for keeping distinct the different cultivars and species in the Collection.  Seed for the cultivars were from Thompson and Morgan and the species came from various Botanic Gardens and the Millennium Seed Bank

The zoo exhibited at Hampton Court Palace Flower show in July this year and were awarded a silver medal for their display.  It was very popular with the public who were able to listen to the community growers talking about their experience on an interactive Ipad app.

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The zoo held a reception to bring the communities together at the end of the season.

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 Activities for the younger guests

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and questions answered by Matthew Bufton, Gardens Manager

Matthew Bufton Gardens Manager

The gardens were looking lovely in the late afternoon sun.

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Well done, Emma, Eddy and all the groups involved in this exciting project.

Emma, Eddy, Gillian

Emma, Eddy, Gillian

 

 

 

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