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Plants in the Garden: Midwinter at Kew

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Started by: Richard Wilford

Plants on the Rock Garden at Kew

Go to latest contribution by Richard Wilford, 23 December 2008, 12:14. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Richard Wilford 23 December 2008, 12:14top / bottom of page

Things to look out for on the Rock Garden at Kew include some lovely foliage as well as a few flowers to brighten up the dull days of midwinter. Firstly are some New Zealand and Tasmanian species and you cannot miss the bright linear leaves of Libertia ixioides. This plant was originally collected by Brian Halliwell in 1973, in the Hartz Mountains of Tasmania.

The delicate leaves of the New Zealand native Acaena saccaticupula really show up well on a dull day. This is a recent collection from Otago, South Island, in 2006.

Another New Zealander, also collected from Otago in 2006, is the silver-leaved Celmisia semicordata. The new leaves have a wonderful golden bloom.

For a splash of bright red the leaves of the Chinese Cotoneaster mairei collect in one of the Rock Garden's waterfalls.

At one end of the Rock Garden is the Davies Alpine House, here framed by the lovely orange bark of an old Pinus sylvestris 'Pumila'. Taken yesterday in a brief moment of early morning sunshine.

Some flowers are out including the South American Ipheion sessile, from Chile and Uruguay. It has been flowering for some time, this was taken on 14 November, but it is still going strong today.

...and finally the first snowdrops are out. This is Galanthus elwesii. Not all plants of this species flower so early but this clump is nearly always out before Christmas. It dates from 1965, when it was donated to Kew by Tbilisi Botanic Garden.

So the shortest day is over and spring is on its way! Next year is Kew's 250th birthday and entry is free on New Years Day, see http://www.kew.org/events/newyearsday2009.html Happy Christmas.



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