Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April in the Garden

This year Spring has been quite late in the UK and across much of Europe, with a long cold snap through February and March. However April is now showing some warmer and brighter weather and the garden is responding rapidly.

I love this time of year, with new shoots and leaves on woody plants, and herbaceous plants busting through the soil ready to explode into new and exciting forms that we have not seen since last autumn.

I took a stroll round the garden this evening with a camera in hand, here are some of the plants that caught my attention.

Schefflera macrophylla
Schefflera macrophylla
Schefflera macrophylla has to be one of the most spectacular Scheffleras available although for us it has proved to be too tender to plant out. We have tried twice, the first time the plant was killed to the ground but re-sprouted (we potted it on and its starting to make a nice plant). The second time we tried the plant was killed out right. This one is kept potted and was tucked away when the worst of the cold weather was expected. It probably saw temperatures close to 0c but even then that was within the confines of the filter house.
Euphorbia deflexa
Euphorbia deflexa is a fairly new plant for us, going into the larger raised bed by the koi pond. It is spreading about in the bed, which we hadn't really anticipated. 
Aloe polyphylla
This particular Aloe polyphylla is fast approaching flowering size, and has been with us for several years now, spending nearly three years in the ground, taking all the cold, wet and winter weather the last few years have been able to chuck at it. Not all A. polyphylla are as hardy, and from chatting to Claire at Trewidden at the recent RHS Plant and Design Show I understand that this is often due to cross-pollination. So the resultant cross may look like a polyphylla but contains some other genes and thus isn't as hardy.
Thalictrum sp.
Syneilesis aconitifolia
Syneilesis aconitifolia have a fabulous habit, the newly emerging shoots remind me of Cousin It from the Addams family, (see the photo in this post from 2011 for how they look earlier on).  The mature foliage is also rather beautiful and delicate looking. I'll share photos of this later in the year.
Impatiens omeiana
This little shoot of Impatiens omeiana is popping up in the 3rd raised bed near to the filter house. It has a habit of wandering about a little, this certainly wasn't where it was last year!


Farfugium japonicum 'Bumpy Ride' 
Aesculus parviflora
Aesculus parviflora
We have a number of Aesculus in the garden, A parviflora has lovely dark green leaves with red stems, stunning plant, and it doesn't get too big. It could almost pass for a Schefflera.
Aralia elata 'Aureo-variegata' 
How lovely is the newly emerging lead on this Aralia!
Veratrum poking up through the ground
... and another Veratrum that made an appearance a little earlier
We have several Veratrum in the garden, I find the crinkled foliage simply delightful, I just wish they would bulk up a little faster. Veratrum are yet another highly poisonous plant, so much so that Native American Indians used it to poison their arrows ahead of a battle. There are also a number of species from Europe and China as well as North America.
Rhododendron 'Wine and Roses'
Chrysosplenium macrophyllum
This Chinese native has been doing well in our garden overthe last couple of years multiplying on the end of runners. Its a member of the Saxifragaceae family and when it flowers you can see the connection.
Clematis armandii
Schefflera taiwaniana x gracilis
Small dainty flowers of an Acer
Heuchera
We have several Heuchera in the garden, hardy and yet with so many colours and leaf forms available they can look quite exotic. The deep rich maroon leaves on this one are looking fantastic this spring.
Aesculus neglecta 'Erythroblastos'
Rheum palmatum
Arum italicum
Heuchera 
Another Heuchera (no longer have the name), the marbling effect resembles a much more tender begonia leaf, but this has the advantage of being evergreen and hardy.
Rubus lineatus
We have found a number of interesting Rubus recently, but one of the best has to be R. lineatus, delightful form and leaves. Once we get into late spring I will have to post a blog of the various plants we have in the garden.
Podophyllum 'spotty dotty' 
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'
Heuchera 'Creme Brulee'
Fatsia japonica 'Spiders Web'
Not everyone likes variegated plants, and Fatsia japonica 'Spiders Web' often brings strong reactions. I love this plant but what do you think? We have found that these can be quite variable in terms of the variegation as well as growth.
Cyathea cooperi
Recently brought out from its winter home this Cyathea cooperi is unfurling a number of new crosiers.
Hydrangea macrophylla
Tetrapanax papyrifera 'Rex'
T.'Rex' as it is affectionately known is a good old faithful exotic in our garden. This plant was originally given to us by Gary and Nat (Gary made the carved sculpture featured in this post) and has done well pretty much ever since. The very harsh winter in 2010 did cut back the newer growth but it has regrown strongly and sent up a number of pups. Most of the pups are removed but a few (including the one in the photo) have been left to grow and provide extra interest.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what is bursting into life in our garden, how is your garden doing?

Gaz

41 comments:

  1. Love all the pictures and the plants!!! so dramatic!

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    1. Thank you Lisa! It's a lovely time of the year :)

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  2. Looking forward to the Rubus blog; I'm so addicted to them. Also, I'll second your observation that T.Rex is VERY hardy, at least at the roots. Mine survived winter 2010 in very cold Irish midlands.

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    1. There are so many beautiful rubus out there, we could easily get into collecting them if we had the space :) I'm glad T-Rex has turned out to a tough plant.

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  3. B+E+A+U+T+I+F+U+L! Your garden is like the plant catalog of a rare plant nursery come to life.

    Out of all the wonderful plants you showed, Fatsia japonica 'Spiders Web' is my favorite. I'd buy one in a heartbeat if I could find one.

    Your Aloe polyphylla is a stunner too. I need to get another one after I killed my large specimen by overwatering it last fall as temperatures were beginning to cool.

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    1. Lovely words (and letters!) Gerhard, thank you! A little bit surprised that Spider's Web isn't readily available there yet, hopefully you'll find one soon. And it's definitely worth trying Aloe polyphylla again :)

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  4. Not sure quite where you garden Mark and Gaz but you are certainly in advance of me-although I do manage to grow half a dozen or so of your plants. Did I see a heucherella with your heucheras. Heucheras are great value plants

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    1. Hi Roger, we're in Luton, Bedfordshire. Perhaps we're only a little bit ahead of you? Yes it's possible one of the photos is a Heucherella, I know we have several of those dotted around the garden.

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  5. That may be the most spectacularly-colored Rheum I've ever seen in someone's garden...wonderful!

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    1. Glad to hear that Scott! Unfurling leaves of Rheum are always a sight to behold in the spring :)

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  6. Lovely stuff. That Fatsia is just the thing for my front garden, as it has a jungly theme in green and white. I saw that a nearby garden centre has some, they are absolutely beautiful. £29 for a 4L pot makes me cringe, but it has to be mine.

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    1. Glad to hear you still went for it, it certainly is a lovely plant and I can imagine it would look great in your front garden :)

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  7. Oh, this was such an enjoyable post. I loved looking at all this lovely new growth. I never realized the new leaves on Aesculus were so interesting. Hmm....a Schefflera substitute, huh?

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    1. That's lovely to hear Alison, and yes, spot on! Aesculus does have that Schefflera look it and makes for a great and hardier substitute :)

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  8. Your garden is a touch behind mine but who doesn't enjoy a slight rewind on the exciting times of early spring! You guys have got so many wonderful plants...your own botanical garden...

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    1. Thanks Loree, and I can say the same to you, you have so many wonderful plants in your garden :)

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  9. You have some of the coolest plants opening up. Has to be a site to watch some of them. I also have some things leafing out on shrubs and plants coming up. Been a long wait this year though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks Cher, these unfurling and sprouting plants are certainly a sight to behold :) Spring has been delayed in arriving for a lot of us this year, I'm just glad it's finally here now.

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  10. Veratum is on my to get list this year. Saw a few Schefflera walking out of Spetchley Plant fair at the weekend, trying to avoid plants that are borderline but I am tempted. Love the spiral effect of the leaves on the Aloe

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    1. Veratrum is definitely worth having soon Helen, the pleated leaves are lovely :) And worth giving in to the temptation of a Schefflera, it's a fab plant and it could do well in your garden.

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  11. It's so much fun to go out in the garden now and see what changes are taking place. You have a lot of interesting things going on in your garden. I actually love the Spiders Web fatsia! I also like the contrast that a variegated foliage plant gives.

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    1. Indeed Holley, spring is such an exciting time of the year for most gardeners. I'm glad spring has finally arrived here, it's been a long wait :)

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  12. Goood to see plants finally waking up after the lousy winter and spring.Aesculus and Veratrum get my vote and I'm looking forward to seeing my favourite specimen of Aloe polyphylla at Tremenheere Garden in Cornwall in a couple of weeks time.

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    1. Good to hear Richard! Aesculus and Veratrum are such great garden plants. We might visit Tremenheere this year too, they have so many wonderful plants there :)

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  13. They are all beautiful but i love most the frond of C.cooperi. I can imagine your nursing room might be so big because you have big plants. If i were in temperate climes, maybe i will be planting all miniature ones, for ease of transporting in and out. By the way, you said you shot them at night? They don't look like night shots! What time does your sun set?

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    1. Thanks Andrea :) In the spring and summer daylight hours is much longer than night so early evenings can still be sunny and bright. C. cooperi is a lovely tree fern, not that hardy but easy to take care of.

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  14. Oh my...that was a tour and a half! So many beautiful things unfurling to reward you for your patience (not that you had much choice).

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    1. Ahh it was a test patience indeed, it took a long time for spring to arrive but I'm glad it's here now :)

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  15. Your plants are so special, but hey, I have two of them. You can probably guess which ones! The Brunnera and the Rheum. I had to click on Syneilesis aconitifolia from the Adams family, just like Myra after she has washed her hair.

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    1. Haha! Your comment about Myra's hair made me laugh (hope she doesn't read it!). Mind you Syneilesis should be fine and hardy for your location :)

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  16. Some fascinating and eye - catching foliage. I do like the colour of the rheum. April was beginning to feel like spring until yesterday whilst this afternoon's on and off rain/hail combo has kept me indoors:)

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    1. Hi Anna, we also had that rain/hail combo last Saturday, fortunately it wasn't that bad. Typical April showers :)

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  17. The Aloe polyphylla is looking good,we have just got a tiddler from Trewidden so I think it will be a few years before it gets it's trademark swirl.

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    1. Hi Barry, Aloe polyphylla is relatively quick growing especially if over potted, and even better if planted out and given free root run.

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  18. Hi Mark and Gaz, that Aloe is out of this world! Such perfect geometry. Are the leaf tips scorched? It looks like the plant is planted into the ground, did you protect it over the winter (sorry, I'm a but clueless when it comes to tropicals). I'm jealous of your Clematis Armandii as well, that's a plant that's been on my "I want" list for a little while now, it's gently fragrant, isn't it?.

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    1. Hi Sunil, yes the Clematis armandii blooms do have a lovely scent. This climber shouldn't be that difficult to get hold of. The Aloe polyphylla in the photo is planted out and hasn't had any protection at all. Usually the tips go like that in the spring but later in the season it greens up nicely again and gets even bigger :)

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  19. My immediate reaction to the variegated Fatsia was "I want one!" I have a solid green one, and a Spiders Web would be a nice companion. I truly love all of your weird and wonderful plants, including Cousin It. Seeing newly emerging foliage is one of my greatest spring time joys.

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    1. It is lovely to see emerging new growth isn't it Debs? And I knew you'd like the Spider's Web, a lovely variegated plant :)

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  20. What a glorious spring symphony. It is always an exciting time of year, but you have so many really different plants, it makes it pretty special. I love that Euphorbia deflexa, gorgeous texture to it. And yes, definitely Cousin It!

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    1. Thanks Janet, the E deflexa is lovely, very soft and tactile too.

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  21. Love the Euphorb deflexa. And about that fatsia, it is variable -- I saw one I liked last summer with much less white to the leaf. Also very tempted by the Schefflera macrophylla but see it's only available in England and gets huge! Still, I wouldn't walk away from it at a local plant sale. Hope the good spring weather continues.

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