Printer Friendly

RARE BEAUTIES.

Byline: gardening WITH Diarmuid Gavin gardening WITH Diarmuid Gavin

Hasn't the weather been glorious? After four years of cold and grimness, millions of eyes have been opened up to the wonders of gardens and gardening this summer.

of s At last, garden centres and nurseries are teeming with visitors after a spring that devastated production of bedding plants.

g g a and or the pton Court I've been travelling a lot, visiting gardens and shows. I popped in for the gala evening at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, as guest of Forest Garden Products, which treated me to a barbecue on a beautiful evening, standing beneath an innovative pavilion.

The fireworks exploded above us and the true magic of a midsummer evening was revealed.

In Galway, in the west of Ireland, I did some judging of plant displays and some plant shopping. Finlay Colley of Rare Plants Ireland, who passionately deals in the slightly unusual, caught my attention. He was showing a plant that I exhibited at a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2004 - Schefflera taiwaniana, a hardy version of the umbrella tree introduced in to the UK by Crug Farm nursery in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

y umbrella tree UK by Cr CaernA my ha so sre rkhm All the specimens from my exhibit at Chelsea had been given away or sold. I've always regretted that I never kept one. But Finlay had one and a load more interesting trees - some of which I decided to use in my garden.

somt COLLECTING: In my back garden fP A few, such as the foxglove tree Paulownia tomentosa, will make dramatic statements in time to come. Others, for example the aralia, caused some conflict between myself and my wife.

She didn't want it but I argued the garden was big enough for everybody's favourites. So, it's been a few days of happy planting. Here's what I chose...

Salix magnifica This is a medium-sized shrub of deciduous habit that likes a moist but definitely welldrained soil. It's native to China, where it can be found growing at high altitudes.

Yellow flowers are produced in long, dramatic catkins after the new foliage emerges. It can grow up to 12ft but has a nice, open habit. Particularly striking are its red/brown shoots and magnolia-like leaves, which may reach up to 1ft in length.

Paulownia tomentosa The foxglove tree produces flowers in early spring before the foliage emerges. First introduced into the UK in 1838, its flowers are produced on mature wood and are tubular shaped and similar to foxglove. Fruits are egg-shaped and contain winged seeds. Leaves are large, especially on young trees, and heart-shaped.

It needs space to shine as it will grow 26 to 39ft high, with a spread of 26ft.

It loves to be in full sun but is not fussy about its soil type.

Aralia This can grow up to 33ft in height, although it may take 20 years for it to achieve this.

It has dramatic architectural foliage and thorns on its stems and it likes a lightly shaded situation, but will tolerate full sun.

Aralia prefers a moist but well-drained soil and has creamy/white flowers followed by black berries, which birds, bees and butterflies love.

It can produce suckers and is said to be invasive in some places.

Vitex latifolia With a reputation for being tough and trouble-free, this great border plant has glossy, green, five-lobed leaves.

It is often one of the last plants to emerge in the spring. Bright blue flowers form on long panicles and last from summer to autumn. Bees and butterflies love them. It likes full sun and well-drained soil.

Parrotia persica 'Vanessa' This develops a more upright habit than most of the species and is slimmer than the common Parrotia.

It looks good in all seasons and can reach 15ft with a 10ft spread in full sun to dappled shade. Foliage starts green with a red edge and ends up golden.

SOME PLANT SPECIALISTS WHERE YOU CAN FIND UNUSUAL PLANTS: FINLAY COLLEY, RARE PLANTS IRELAND, THE MILL HOUSE, KILMATEAD, GREEN ISLE ROAD, DUBLIN 22, TEL 01 4592668.; CRUG FARM PLANTS, GRIFFITH'S CROSSING, CAERNARFON,, GWYNEDD, LL55 1TU, WWW.CRUG-FARM.CO.UK; SPECIAL PLANTS, GREENWAYS LANE, COLD ASHTON, CHIPPENHAM, WILTSHIRE SN14 8LA, WWW.SPECIALPLANTS.NET; THE BETH CHATTO GARDENS AND NURSERY, ELMSTEAD MARKET, COLCHESTER, ESSEX, CO7 7DB, WWW.BETHCHATTO.CO.UK Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' This hardy perennial, (main picture) will grow in full sun to partial shade, preferring a moist soil.

It has brown stems and chocolate foliage with tips adorned with white flowers from summer to early autumn. It reaches 6ft and its foliage contrasts beautifully with other plants. But be careful, it's poisonous.

Schefflera taiwaniana This is found on the slopes of the highest mountains in Taiwan. It likes partial shade to full sun and in optimum conditions and can grow up to 15ft in height (and width).

Cardiocrinum giganteum The largest of all lilies grows up to 11.5ft in its native Himalayas but up to 8.2ft in the UK in light shading.

It was introduced in the 1850s and likes moist, well-drained humus soil and humidity. In summer, it produces purple and white flowers.

Ask the expert HI DIARMUID I have a problem with my clematis.

Nine months ago, I moved house and took them with me.

I was extra careful digging them both up but since then they're just not moving. The flowers on one are insipid and the other one hasn't flowered at all and growth is stinted.

Please can you help? PHILIP PHILIPS, VIA EMAIL HI PHILIP Your timing sounds right if you moved them when they were dormant last autumn. They will need at least one growing season to find their feet and, in fact, I have often found with clematis and other climbers when newly planted, they can just sit there for one or two years and then really take off.

So lots of care - a good seaweed feed, definitely don't let them dry out during this hot spell and prune correctly according to type - and I imagine things should improve next year.

GOOD LUCK!

DIARMUID

CAPTION(S):

COLLECTING: In my back garden
COPYRIGHT 2013 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 20, 2013
Words:1030
Previous Article:Jobs for the week ... watering.
Next Article:Pa's pink puzzle.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters