Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hot Plants in a Cold Summer

It's been raining almost endlessly here over the past few days, and temperatures are on the cool side, feeling more like very early spring or autumn rather than early summer. We had a bit of a respite over the weekend though so I was able to take photos of some plants currently looking good in our garden.

Canna 'Cleopatra'

Lush and Leafy in the Jungle...

The jungle area is looking very lush and leafy now courtesy of all the extra rain we've been having. Two species of Arisaema (A. ringens and A. consanguineum) are doing particularly well whilst the others have been slow and are just sprouting now due to the cooler than normal weather.

Arisaema ringens
And several snaps of Arisaema consanguineum which is proving to be the most reliable of the lot, year in year out.

Arisaema consanguineum
Arisaema consanguineum
Arisaema consanguineum
Another plant that is looking good in the jungle is the fern Woodwardia unigemmata. Slower than usual to start this year but it's getting there and it's already rewarding us with its beautiful, large fronds.

Woodwardia unigemmata
Deliciously vicious...

These plants may be thorny and vicious looking but they're just part of their charm and appeal!

Smilax aspera - a wonderful, very exotic looking climber with vicious stems to help support itself as it climbs or scrambles away. It has glossy, heart shaped, narrow leaves with white blotchings that makes it look like it comes from tropical climates. This plant is evergreen and I find that it remains looking good all through winter. Be careful in handling the plants when training and tidying it up as the spines are sharp and recurved and could easily cause deep scratches with every false move. Keep an eye on where it clings on too as well, and prize unwanted growth off carefully to avoid shredding neighbouring plants. If you're used to maintaining ornamental (and not so ornamental) brambles (Rubus) you should be well prepared in taking care of this one.  

Smilax aspera 
New growth of Smilax aspera - leaves start off glossy red before turning green with blotchings
Rosa sericea pteracantha 'Red Wing' - I have written about this plant before and this is how it's looking now:

Rosa sericea pteracantha 'Red Wing'
Rosa sericea pteracantha 'Red Wing
  It has more than lived up to my expectations and I'm really pleased with it!

Pretty Miscellany...

I love the new flush of growth from Mahonias, especially the reddish-purple new leaves of Mahonia fortunei.

Mahonia fortunei
The wispy, delicate looking, glaucous foliage of Asphodeline lutea was the main attraction for me although the blooms aren't too bad either. After flowering it sends more off shoots and the clump steadily bulks up. Occasionally it needs tidying up, removing the dead leaves by combing it with your fingers much like a small grass. Left unkempt, it ends up looking like a clump of chives rather than something much more ornamental than that.

Asphodeline lutea
Beschorneria septentrionalis - possibly the hardiest Beschorneria around, ours has sailed through fine over the last few winters without any extra protection apart from being under the canopy of a yew tree. It's planting area however receives very little winter sun which indicates toughness and tolerance of shade. A seemingly tough plant that is also very rewarding to grow.

Is it a Fuchsia? Nope, it's a Beschorneria!
Beschorneria septentrionalis
Delicate Gems...

Euphorbia deflexa - an alpine Euphorbia, this one is barely 6" tall, with sprays of tiny yellow flowers rising above the blue-green foliage. 

Euphorbia deflexa
Delosperma sutherlandii 'Peach Star' - Ice plant blooms tend to be bright and intense but I was especially attracted to the subtle shade of this one, as well as the succulent foliage that is almost tempting to burst with your fingers. A new plant for us this year, I hope it thrives and expand out to cover a bigger area so I get a better display of peach, daisy like flowers in the spring.

Delosperma sutherlandii 'Peach Star'
Cotula hispida - one for the tactile gardener! This alpine is so soft to the touch and rewards you with little yellow flowers that looks like micro pom poms! Very cute!

Cute little yellow pom poms! Cotula hispida
Poetry of a Protea...

Lomatia ferruginea - this Chilean protea has been hardy enough in our garden and I love it so much I'm going to plant out a couple more! The fern like foliage is distinctive and very attractive, and the flowers, I'll let the photos speak for itself...

Lomatia ferruginea
Lomatia ferruginea
We might get a bit of a respite from the rains tomorrow but it's set to come back after and  it's predicted that this might continue till the end of next week. Still I'm optimistic, I'm sure summer, warmth, and sunny weather will get here eventually!

Mark :-)


  1. Some gorgeous and unusual plants there. Love the rose. Definitely a place in exotic gardens for certain roses. And clematis too.

  2. Hi Liz, glad you liked them. Creating the look with hardy plants is in someways more satisfying than growing too many tender plants. Another staple in our garden are some of the more unusual hydrangeas (some of which came from UJ!).

  3. What cool looking plants. Even the Rosa thorns although I don't think I'd want to tangle with it. The Lomatia and Asphodeline are really unique and wonderful.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  4. I love Cleopatra. I've never seen it here. If I had, it would be in my garden. There's always room for a new canna.

  5. Love the Canna 'Cleopatra' I don't think I've heard of that one before. you must have had some heat though because none of my Canna are anywhere near this size.

    Your Rosa sericea pteracantha 'Red Wing' is CRAZY! I really like the more thorny thorns. And the Beschorneria septentrionalis as well as the Lomatia ferruginea are both plants I would love to have in my garden...

    Beautiful! Hope you get some sun and warmth soon...

  6. I love canna's too, but sadly must have the virus somewhere in my garden as they are fine for the first year, if grown in pots, then come back virused the second :o( The protea looks amazing, such an unusual looking flower.

  7. Cher, you would be wise to avoid the thorns, they are lovely to look at but not so nice to touch!

    Missy, you will have to track one down!

    Loree, Isnt the rose just so extra thorny!! A bit more sun and warmth would be great. We have had a couple of nicer days but the rains have arrived again this evening.

    Libby, we had the virus a few years ago but have recently returned to canna. For a while most of the ones you would see in garden centres would have the virus but everything we have seen recently looks clean.

  8. That Canna is fantastic, I have never seen a variety with variegation like that in this country. Also, what is that big plant behind the Cotula hispida?

  9. Wow... so many interesting plants... Larry

  10. The garden looks very cool and luscious now. These are very interesting plants, some I haven't seen before.

  11. Lovely and very interesting. Rather like a walk about a botanical garden (I was in Brussels last weekend and thought of you - but sadly not time to visit the botanics there. Nice little one in Antwerp though). God help any intruders prowling about with all those thorns. D

  12. College Gardener, it's a lovely Canna and my favourite! The plant behind the Cotula is Kniphofia caulescens which is looking huge now (must take a pic of it soon) :)

    Thanks Larry, Autumn Belle! We do love plants and try to have as many selections as we can, great to have the variety :)

    Thanks David! Read your blog and sounds like you had a lovely time away in a fantastic city. Those thorns do look vicious but never mind as they're also so pretty! :)

  13. I've got to have a Lomatia ferruginea--and a Canna 'Cleopatra'. Just stunning!

  14. wow, you really have unusual but very beautiful collections. I don't like Canna but if its leaves are like that i might reconsider. But look at those thorns, really scary! Are they hard? If so it might not let you in in a little while.

  15. Hi Kalantikan, thanks so much, glad you like the photos. This Cannna is so different, well worth searching out. The thorns on the rose start soft but do harden up.

  16. I've always drooled at the pictures of 'Cleopatra' that I've seen in catalogs, I had no idea it had stunning foliage too. I guess I'll just have to add that to the list for next year, won't I?

    I wish we could trade weather with you's been in the high 90's here for a week with not a cloud in the sky, not exactly the most enjoyable weather to be a full time gardener...

    The Cotula looks like an adorable little alien, I love it!

  17. Hi Tom, we find wish lists seem to get ever longer as we find more and more lovely plants, reading the various blogs always adds lots more too!


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