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Plants for the garden: East Anglia Show 2019

May 14, 2019
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Here are a few good garden plants that were exhibited at our East Anglia Show 2019, including tips on how to grow them.

Trollius europaeus (dwarf form)

Globeflowers inhabit wet meadows and forest clearings in mountains across Eurasia and North America. Though the main species would be suitable only for wildflower meadows or herbaceous borders, the dwarf form (at most a foot tall) can be grown in pots and raised beds or on the edge of a partly shaded, moist woodland garden.

Sempervivum arachnoideum subsp. tomentosum

This is perhaps the daintiest of the houseleeks and best admired in a large pot where it can spread at ease and enchant with its miniature, wooly rosettes. In nature, these plants inhabit rock crevices and they require a poor compost with plenty of sand and grit in full sun.

Some people grow Sempervivum in an unheated alpine house in pots but others grow them outside. Chris Lilley who often exhibits Sempervivum at our shows is regularly asked how to grow them. To maintain tight cushions, including those with fine hairs, he advises keeping the plants outside in all weathers. Ideally place them on a low wall or on bricks (this stops worms getting into the pots and blackbirds tearing the cushion apart). At the start of the growing season, Chris gives his plants a weak dose of fetiliser by watering overhead. Another regular exhibitor and successful Sempervivum grower, Michael Sullivan also prefers to grow his plants outside: he rubs handfuls of mud into the cushion before hosing them down to replicate how they may receive mineral feed in the wild!


Iris reichenbachii

If you love the flamboyance and elegance of bearded irises but only have a small garden, there are several Eastern Mediterranean species that are dwarf enough for pot or raised-bed culture. One such is Iris reichenbachii which can be found in the wild from southern Romania to northern Greece.

The curved leaves are topped by stems up to 30cm tall. Tepals are buttercup yellow or dark purple and every shade in between. Flowering typically occurs in May. Plant in well-drained soil with added grit and plenty of sun for best results.

Image of Răzvan Chişu Răzvan Chişu

Răzvan Chişu MCIHort, has had a passion for alpines since he joined the AGS aged 14. As a professional horticulturalist, he divides his time between garden design jobs, giving lectures and running plant hunting tours. His plant interests are diverse and wide ranging, from bulbs, to ferns, succulents and hardy perennials.