A North Wales Alpine Gardener's Diary
This entry: November 2017: Entry 66
I am sure I am not the only one among you for whom November is the least favourite month. Having lived in Scotland for a few years in the 70's I think the word 'dreich' admirably describes it, grey, damp and cold. Anyway, at least this year it has bee quite dry and not too windy so I suppose one should be grateful for small mercies. Even so, there have been few days when I have felt the urge to explore the garden, and on the odd occasions I have there has not been much to show for it. Bulbs finished early here and are now a fairly distant memory, although good old stalwart Narcissus 'Cedric Morris' has started to flower adding a bright spot in a rased bed.
Hesperantha coccinea 'Sunrise'
Elsewhere, in sun and in fairly deep shade, Hesperantha coccinea 'Sunrise' continues to shine amidst the gathering gloom, and it makes quite a good cut flower when brought into the house. H. coccinea 'Major' is, as the name suggests an altogether bigger plant, growing to 75 cm as against 50 cm, with fewer but larger flowers.
Hesperantha coccinea 'Major'
New Zealand 'silvers'
As always at this barren time of year I take pleasure in the structural beauty provided by silvery New Zealanders, notably those shrubs in the genus Ozothamnus (until recently Helichrysum), notably the so-called 'coral bush', O. coralloides, and its close relatives O. plumeum and O. selago var. tumidum, and the two N.Z. edelweiss, Leucogenes grandiceps (S. Island and Stewart Island only) and L. leontopodium (mainly N. Island). They love our damp, misty conditions and thrive almost wherever they are placed. Cuttings taken in late May and stripped of the 'wool' that encases the stems root fairly easily in a peaty, gritty mix.
Ozothamnus coralloides and O. plumeum
Leucogenes grandiceps and L. leontopodium
Nothing to do with alpines but our bi-ennial fruiting Sorbus pseudohupehensis has been fantastic this autumn, retaining its huge crop of fruits after most of the holly beeries have been eaten by birds. Everyone who walks past it to our front door remarks on it while we are able to enjoy it from the comfort of our kitchen. If anyone asks me for a recommendation for the best medium-sized sorbus and doesn't mind the fact that the berries are pink rather than red, this is what I recommend to them.