Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kabschia group

The cushion saxifrages are ideal dwarf plants for the trough garden, slowly forming tiny domes of green or silvery leaves with extremely pretty flowers on very short stalks in spring. One of the best is S. ‘Jenkinsii’, with masses of shell-pink flowers on red stalks; ‘Valerie Finnis’ is primrose yellow; S. burseriana is pure white and flowers earlier than the others; and there is an infinity of other species and hybrids to appeal to the gardener who is interested in alpines. These saxifrages look well in a trough landscaped with one or two rocks, and could be followed in summer by rock campanulas or Phlox douglasii.

They need a gritty, well-drained compost, preferably with lime, and do best in light shade, perhaps shielded from the sun by a rock; or the trough could be sited where a building would provide light shade. They also need protection from heavy winter ram, which is anathema to many alpines, and they can be covered in winter with a piece of glass propped up on stones to allow ventilation.

Varieties of Sempervivum. A deservedly popular variety is S.t. Calcareum ‘Commander Hay’, with large crimson rosettes tipped with green, and S. arochnoideum, the cobweb houseleek, has small, bright green rosettes laced with cobwebby white hairs.

Sempervivum tectorum

Sempervivums are plants for the collector, rather than the general gardener, but the specialist takes as much pride in his houseleeks as does the rosarian in his roses. They make an ideal pot or sink plant, being easy to grow and requiring little attention. They come from the mountains of central Europe. Semperivivum tectorum, theContinue Reading

Rhododendron ‘Cilpinense’

Of all evergreen flowering shrubs, the dwarf rhododendrons are among the most rewarding for the town garden or terrace. This doll’s-house rhododendron makes a perfect rounded bush no more than 3 feet (90 cm) high. A hybrid of Himalayan and Chinese parentage, it is evergreen and flowers earlier than most rhododendrons, in mid-spring. The bell-shapedContinue Reading

Rosmarinus officinalis

The common rosemary is fully hardy in a sheltered place, a dense evergreen shrub from the Mediterranean with narrow, highly aromatic leaves which are glossy green above, white-felted below, and has light blue labiate flowers in late spring. Rosemary likes full sun and a well-drained, gritty compost. It is such an excellent culinary plant, especiallyContinue Reading

Phormium tenax

This evergreen perennial from New Zealand has such an exotic appearance that it looks more appropriate near a building than in the open garden. Pri-marily a foliage plant, the leaves grow in fan-shaped clumps at least 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, are leathery and swordlike and of a deepish green, though there are varieties withContinue Reading

Osteospermum ecklonis

Nothing is prettier in the mid-summer months than a trough filled with South African daisies, for the flowers are exciting in colour and have a slight sheen on the petals. They are white above and bluish-mauve beneath and when open reveal electric-blue centres. They have a behaviour of their own, for they always look towardsContinue Reading

Pelargonium regal and zonal hybrids

A pelargonium in a pot with its dense heads of flower, beautiful leaves, and rare intensity of colour, makes a visual impact which is unique. Pelargoniums are tender sub-shrubs available in a bewildering range of hybrids, almost all from South African species. They are classified into several sections, of which only the zonal and regalContinue Reading

Pelargonium ivy-leaved and scented-leaved species and hybrids

The most graceful in habit of all pelargoniums, P. pelioLum, with its cascades of glossy, ivylike leaves, makes a garden in itself in a well-designed urn or pot. The trailing stems, which are rather brittle and must be carefully handled, can be as much as 3 feet (90 cm) long. There are many varieties, bothContinue Reading

Petunia X hybrida

The window-box gardener, pondering how best to use his exiguous space, would get glorious value from a row of petunias grown as annuals. Their trumpet flowers come in all shades of pink and purple, in red, white, yellow or blue, single or double, frilled or plain, striped or bordered, with all the brilliance of circusContinue Reading

Melianthus major

Connoisseurs of foliage plants hold Melianthus high in their affections, for the leaves are ravishing – large and at least a foot (30 cm) long, pinnate, very coarsely toothed, and of a rare colour, a true sea-green. The plant is shrubby and will grow to 6 feet (1.8 m) in perfect conditions, but would certainlyContinue Reading