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Plants in the Garden: Plants at Copton Ash in Kent

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Started by: Tim Ingram

A look at various plants in our garden this spring

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 17 June 2013, 22:18. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Tim Ingram 20 March 2012, 13:10top / bottom of page

I very much agree with Mel's last comment and have found that recording the garden like this is actually very valuable in working on different parts of the garden - so it is certainly as helpful for the person who posts the threads as it is (hopefully) for those reading them.

The very warm and dry weather we are having here is really bringing the garden on (even if the prospect of dry conditions to come and hosepipe bans is less encouraging - this has always been a feature of the south-east in particular so the garden in general is planted accordingly). A lot of nice early woodlanders are flowering - one of my favourites is Hacquetia epipactis and its variegated form 'Thor'. This has very deep roots and will withstand summer drought well so long as it is planted in shade. For the same reason it is not so easily propagated and divisions tend to sulk before growing away. The hellebores are rather later than normal, after the very cold snap we had after Christmas; two rather special ones are 'Queen of the Night', one of Elizabeth Strangman's superb seed strains developed at Washfield, and equally historic, ex. 'Cosmos' grown from Archibald seed and going back to his famous collaboration with Eric Smith. I think this must be as close as you can get to the original.

The species hellebores never seem to be grown as much as they are worth - H. odorus certainly holds its own with any others, and this is a good form with glowing flowers from Blackthorn Nursery. Nearby also the wild-type form of Hyacinthus orientalis, and to my mind much more attractive than the highly bred selections; a good garden plant which must be very rarely grown. Other bulbs are grown in a sunny bed in the lawn, and just beginning to flower - but this makes a good spot for a bit of impromtu music!

There are many primroses flowering at the moment and the white variety 'Gigha' really catches the eye. This planted, with many other choice woodlanders, under a row of dwarf apples, where the soil stays moister a lot longer into the summer than elsewhere in the garden.

The real highlight at the moment is the small shrubby cherry Prunus x blireana. This has attractive bronze-purple foliage and exquisite double pink flowers, which catch the late afternoon light and glow at times. I would highly recommend this for any garden.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 25 March 2012, 23:51top / bottom of page

We grow many more choice alpines in a raised sleeper bed made over 12 years ago, which has had intermittant makeovers. This one is the latest, with many new plants from the Harlow and Kent Shows finding a home. In particular two forms of Anemone coronaria - the first a more typical red with paler centre, and the second (actually from a HPS Sale) a really deep chocolate-red with bluish-violet centre. Extraordinary colour, I hope it will come true from seed.

A great success on this bed has been the North American umbellifer Lomatium columbianum, which typically of the genus flowers very early and dies down during the drought of summer. It is a fine plant with very good silver-grey, fennel-like foliage, and quite unusual for the family, strong pink flowers. Last year this set seed very well (very large winged seed) and these were sown in autumn and have germinated well. I hope the same will be true this year too, and bumblebees have been busy on the flowers (umbellifers in general are wonderful plants for entomologists, attracting a huge variety of insects).

Contribution from Tim Ingram 28 March 2012, 19:07top / bottom of page

Well spring is really getting into its stride with many plants coming in to flower. We are very lucky compared with other gardeners in partd of North America and elsewhere where gardens are still under snow! See what you make of the four plants below - I would have a hard job choosing between them - the Adonis might win the prize if in full flower!

Sorry having trouble sending the photos - will try again later.

Contribution from Tim Ingram 29 March 2012, 09:13top / bottom of page

The middle two are Callianthemum anemonoides, which grows very well on the sand bed, and Pulsatilla grandis (or halleri?), which is very beautiful at this moment when the flowers begin to open above the foliage.

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