Early on in the Spring Laura arrived with a beautiful Clematis with no label. We potted it on and popped it at the front of the house, which gets the early sun. It is now covered in beautiful white flowers and we have realised that it is Early Sensation. The Clematis variety Early Sensation is an evergreen clematis and can grow up to 9ft tall. It has finely divided leaves which emerge bronze when young and mature to a dark green. In spring this cultivar bears a profusion of scented, white, cup-shaped flowers each with a greenish-yellow centre. It belongs to the family Ranunculaceae. We are both excited and nervous. We love it but are afraid to lose it so lots of research needs to be done.
No routine pruning is necessary apparently. If the spread of the plant needs to be restricted prune immediately after flowering, cutting back overlong shoots to healthy buds. Apply a slow release balanced fertiliser and a mulch of well-rotted garden compost around the base of the plant in early spring. RHS
Early Sensation and its cultivars originate from species native to New Zealand. It flowers prolifically and has attractive evergreen foliage which is non-clinging. This group of clematis is dioecious producing either male or female flowers. It is an early season clematis from pruning Group 1 so flowers early in the year on shoots produced in the previous summer.
This group of clematis is semi hardy and requires a warm sheltered position with a very free-draining soil in sun or partial shade. It is well suited to growing in pots using a well-drained gritty compost which can be brought into the protection of a cold glasshouse or conservatory in winter; it also makes a lovely subject for the alpine house. Plant your new clematis with the crown 2–3″ deep to encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level and keep it well watered during its first Spring and Summer. Clematis are greedy feeders and benefit from regular feeding.
This year I decided to buy a few more seeds of Ammi Majus but unfortunately I had put the seed packet in my jumper pocket and it ended up in the wash. Disaster. I have put them in a bit of compost but an pretty certain that I have ruined them. I think if I can get just one plant to grow I shall be happy. I last sowed these in 2017 and thought that they would be popping up every year but not much survives in my garden, not even plants like this tough weed-like specimen.
Bishop’s flower, Ammi majus is a superb annual bearing delicate white lacy flowers and attractive ferny foliage. They look good in a mixed herbaceous border. These tall plants do best in well drained soil in sun to partial shade. As Ammi is an annual collect seeds to sow the following year but leave some for the goldfinches which like to eat them in winter.
Ammi majus, commonly called bishop’s flower, bullwort, greater ammi, lady’s lace, false Queen Anne’s lace, or laceflower, is a member of the carrot family Apiaceae. The plant is native to the Nile River Valley. Wikipedia
I have sown seeds of The Tobacco Plant, Nicotiana today. The seeds were from Seekay Horticultural Supplies. I prepared a deepish box of warm, moist compost and scattered the dust like seed on the top. No need to cover with more compost as it just settles into the soil being so fine. Unbelievably small seeds when you know how large the final plants are. I hope that the seedlings wont mind being transferred into the garden. I may try sowing some directly into the garden when the soil warms up a bit.
A Very tall variety of Nicotiana that bears white pendulous scented flowers well above the foliage..
Sow from Feb – April.
Do not cover the seed.
Germination will take between 7 and 20 days
When all risk of frost has passed plant out the plants at 3′ apart in a Sunny free draining site
This beautiful alpine was sent to me yesterday from Deb along with quite a few other surprise plants. Strangely enough I had bought myself one earlier in the year and had lost it during the long hot spell we had recently. Its common name is Rock Rose and it is described as good ground cover and as a hardy plant once established.
This is an evergreen mat forming perennial producing masses of rose pink flowers over grey green foliage and is suitable for the rockery, as ground cover in the borders, or in gravel gardens. It is equally at home in a container.
The advice is when newly planted always keep watered until the roots have grown down and it is able to find its own moisture. Trim after flowering to maintain a good shape.
Secret Garden Club sprang out of our popular promotion of overstocked plants. We noticed they sold fast to our growing market of seasoned gardeners! Knowing a number of high quality plant nurseries across the UK, we’ve started to sell off their stock too, to our Club members.
I ordered a few more perennials from secretgardeningclub.co.uk and after soaking them for a couple of days I planted them into the garden last night.
Jacobs Ladder – Polemonium Caeruleum
Jacob’s ladder is quite a rare plant in the wild these days. It can be found in three areas in England. It can be found primarily in the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland, where it inhabits the steep slopes of limestone or riverbanks, usually growing in partial shade around trees or shrubs. It prefers sites where the soil remains damp. However, it is a popular garden plant now. I have planted in at the foot of a tree at the edge of the pond so I hope it will be happy there.
Trollius Alabaster – Globeflower
Trollius x cultorum Alabaster is a moisture loving perennial from the Ranunculaceae family bearing pale yellow flowers in late spring and early summer. It grows best in damp soil such as around the pond edge or a bog garden. I have placed this plant at the front of the pond.
The elegant, creamy white shade of Alabaster was an important color break in Trollius. Blooms appear in late spring and a repeat show may happen in late summer. Alabaster is apparently slower growing than many other varieties. Trollius is a genus of the Buttercup family.
Caltha Palustris – Marsh Marigold
Commonly known as the marsh marigold or Kingcup this plant has golden yellow flowers appearing in profusion from Spring to Summer and are surrounded by large scalloped leaves that serve as great shelter for small wildlife that might appear around ponds and marshes. This hardy perennial is happiest in damp areas around ponds or in marshes. I have placed this plant at the back of the pond.
Knautia Macedonica – Macedonian Scabious
This relative of the Scabious has deep wine red flowers in clusters on wiry stems. It has a long flowering period and is very attractiveto bees. Knautia macedonica seems a perfect plant for a cottage garden. Another name for Knautia macedonica is Scabiosa rumelica. Both Knautia and Scabiosa species come from the eastern Mediterranean where they grow wild in grassland.
Knautia are clump forming perennials, are totally hardy and will grow in most well drained soils. Siting in full sun ensures maximum flowering from July to September. Remove dead flower heads will encourage more flowers.
Propagation is straightforward either from basal cuttings in the spring or clumps can be lifted and divided.
I love Secret Gardening Club and would love to visit the gardens one day.
Over the years I have gathered quite a few varieties of Aquilegia Vulgaris from the very first seeds given to me many many years ago by my Sister-in-law Janice who had gathered them from her Mothers garden one Autumn. Her mother has long gone but I think of her often when these flowers start to bloom.
Just like Joyce these flowers are hardy and no nonsense. They look after themselves and pop up year after year to bring colour to the garden. There are so many varieties and hybrids so my wish list is very long.
You can start Columbine flowers from seeds or buy young plants. Seeds should be sown throughout spring. The seeds need light to germinate so simply press them on the soil surface and lightly cover with soil. Germination is about 30 days and because Aquilegia is a perennial it will take two years from planting the seeds for them to bloom.
Most varieties of Columbine plants will bloom for at least four weeks. They look delicate but are tougher than they appear. They tend to be short-lived perennials but self seed and spread bringing pleasure and colour to your garden for years.
Varieties of Columbine include dwarf varieties that are just 6 inches tall as well as large varieties that are more than 3 feet tall with large flowers. Keep in mind that Aquilegia varieties readily cross-pollinate. If you plant more than one variety be prepared to see new colors and combinations.
Aquilegia is a genus of about 60–70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals of their flowers. The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because of the shape of the flower petals, which are said to resemble an eagle’s claw. The common name “columbine” comes from the Latin for “dove”, due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together.
Aquilegia Vulgaris William Guiness
Also, known as Magpie, this variety has purple-black flowers with contrasting white centres in late spring and early summer above fern-like, mid-green leaves. The unusual flowers of this old fashioned columbine creates an eye-catching display. The plant self seeds freely.
Aquilegia Vulgaris Pink Flamingo
This is a large flowering pink variety. Appearing in late Spring it is a new columbine variety. Coming quite true from seed it should be planted away from other Aquilegia with which it could hybridise.
Aquilegia Vulgaris Crystal Star
Aquilegia Crystal Star is a long spurred aquilegia with pure white flowers. A cottage garden favourite and an excellent and unusual cut flower possessing a clean crisp bright whiteness. “This has to be one of the easiest and most rewarding Perennials available producing masses pure brilliant white flowers with stunning spurs”. so says the company that I bought the seeds from so I hope so as this is the first year that I have sown them and I am hoping for them to become a permanent presence in the garden.
Aquilegia Vulgaris Blue Bird
From the Songbird series this blue Aquilegia is one of my favourite flowers in the garden. Such a perfect blue.
The songbird series is a range with compact habit and very large flowers with bright clean flower colours. A clump-forming perennial which forms a basal rosette of foliage and from May to July huge flowers with long spurs produced on strong upright stems. Varieties still to add to my collection from the Songbird Series are Goldfinch, Nightingale, Cardinal, Bunting, Early Bird and Chaffinch.
The Songbird hybrid series has a long history that started back in the 1980’s, and it’s story involves at least two breeding programs. The breeders used many species and selections in creating this mix. McKanna Giants formed the foundation of this complex cross. Breeders also reportedly used A. skinneri, A. californica, A. chrysantha, A. canadensis and a number of other strains. It’s a real mix, but is still sold under the botanic name of Aquilegia caerulea, as this remains the primary species used in the strain.
Aquilegia Wild Variety
A perennial often found at woodland edges and roadsides, long stalked with long-spurred blue-violet flowers. This variety grows to a height of 60cm and prefers damp woodland. It flowers during June and July. The foliage is very pretty.
Aquilegia Crimson Star
Crimson Star hybrida has striking red and white flowers. Columbines are attractive foliage plants that grow well in fertile soil in the sun or partial to full shade.
Zinnia is a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe within the daisy family. They are native to scrub and dry grassland in an area stretching from the Southwestern United States to South America, with a centre of diversity in Mexico. Wikipedia
For early flowers Zinnia seeds can be sown under glass in early spring. Fill a seed tray or pot with compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite or compost. Water moderately and when the seedlings are large enough to handle pot on and harden off before planting outside.
Alternatively, sow seeds thinly a quarter of an inch deep in a sunny bed in the garden. Wait until after all risk of frost has passed. Germination should take place in 7-14 days.
Zinnia are perfect for cut flowers. They should flower from early June until the first frost. I am going to try to sow them directly into the border this year. They like a sunny but sheltered position and once germinated don’t like to be moved. I have seeds of both Green Envy and Polar Bear.
Green Envy – The colour of this summer blooming annual Zinnia is a bright chartreuse green and acts as a wonderful foil to richer shades.
Polar Bear – A bright white double flower that shines out in the border.
Save seeds at the end of the season and in a couple of generations of seeds you will have developed your own strain of zinnia naturally selected to perform well in your conditions. Simply clip off a dried flower head from each flower type that you want to save. Pull the flower apart and remove the seeds inside or simply put the whole blossom full of seeds into an envelope. Seal and identify the flower colour. Keep the seeds in a cool, dry place until it is time to plant next year.
It’s a beautiful spring day today and although I still have a heavy heart, I have sown some seeds directly into the garden. I already have a few established roots of Columbine here and there but as they are such rewarding perennials I feel you can never have enough. The seeds I have scattered are of a startling crystal white variety.
Aquilegia Crystal Star. This is a long spurred aquilegia with pure white flowers. A cottage garden favourite and an excellent and unusual cut flower possessing a clean crisp bright whiteness. Columbines are one of those plants that have a very long history of cultivation. Aquilegia vulgaris is a Native of Europe and is the traditional Grannie’s Bonnets of the cottage garden. In the late 19th century a florist call Douglas began to cross this with Aquilegia caerulea, canadense and chrysantha to begin the long-spurred hybrids that we know today under the name Aquilegia x hybrid.
Aquilegia comes from the Latin Aquila meaning eagle, Columbine is also a reference to the flower shape. Columba is Latin for dove. info from Dorset Perrenials.
Potentilla Atrosanguinea – I bought this healthy little plant online from https://www.secretgardeningclub.co.uk along with a few others. It’s a shrubby plant that bears red flowers during June and July. I look forward to seeing it thrive in my garden. I received the plant a couple of weeks ago and potted it on to grow a little before it goes outside. The foliage is very attractive and the plant looks sturdy and well worth the couple of pounds I paid for it.
Potentilla is a genus containing over 300 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae. They are usually called cinquefoils in English. Potentilla are generally only found throughout the northern continents of the world, though some may even be found in montane biomes of the New Guinea Highlands. wiki
Erysimum Red Jep and Yellow Bird – Today I have planted the two hardy perennial Wallflowers from secret. I already have a Bowles Mauve and an un-named yellow variety, both from cuttings gifted to me by my sister. I love them both and so when I saw these available for £1.99 each I jumped at the chance to add them to my collection. I already have a few roots of Wallflowers grown either from seed or bare roots and I am very fond of the genus.