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My A-Z of garden treasures..grab a cuppa and keep warm!

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A is for Abutilon…a treasure because it flowers all year round. You can put it outside in the summer and bring it in for the winter and it just keeps on flowering! This one is Canary Bird. I have to prune it hard in July to prevent it becoming to big to bring inside….

B… ‘Bug planting!’ Including Buddleia and Borage. Loved by Butterflies and Bees… beautiful! Gardeners can get a buzz by planting to support biodiversity!

B. Weyeriana ‘Sungold’

B Weyeriana ‘Bicolor’

Borage

And for those who like white flowers….white borage!

C ….nope, not Clematis this time, but Choisya. Gorgeous shiny evergreen foliage with beautifully perfumed flowers (sometimes twice a year) giving it the common name ‘Mexican Orange Blossom’. More new ones seem to appear every year in my garden (just like that, amazing!! lol), and they are easy to root from cuttings too! Plant them in shade as well…they don’t mind too much!
This is Choisya ‘White Dazzler’

..and here are the flowers of ‘Aztec Pearl’

D…for me it has to be Dicentra Spectabilis. Translucent flowers in late spring right through to mid summer. Graceful arching stems with little ‘bleeding heart’ shaped flowers all the way along. One of the most elegant and long-flowering plants in my garden. Delightful!

Eucalyptus. Yes, I know, it’s not universally loved. It grows so fast and has to be regularly chopped, it has a tendency to fall over, and some feel it looks out of place in a british garden. However, with all year round glaucous blue leaves, pink new growth, flowers, fruits, scent, and the ablitity to keep away midges AND relieve a cold I would really miss it. Oh, and something that grows fast (and isn’t heavy and dark) is a godsend when you’re trying to hide the neighbours! I heard a tip on the radio recently….impoverish the soil before planting by digging in lots of grit. This will help the plant to send down it’s long tap root and prevent it being blown over by the wind when it’s bigger. And more good news, Eucalypts are excellent for Pollarding. Wherever you cut them back to, they will quickly resprout from that point.
I have two varieties; the fast growing and hardy E.Gunnii

And slightly less hardy and less fast E. Pauciflora

F..Flowers obviously, yes…all of them! What is a garden without them? Even the most beautiful foliage garden has a few! We all have our favourites, and most of mine are in the ranunculaceae family, but I do love roses too, and all kinds of spring flowers. Let’s hope that 2011 is a bumper year for flowers! 2010 wasn’t half bad…

G is for…Geranium..the hardy perennial ones. This year I grew about 20 new vars. and I’m going to try a mixed pack from seed this year. GOYers have really opened my eyes to how many there are to choose from, and boy are they rewarding plants to grow. You can grow them easily from seed, they mingle well with other selections and some of them flower for four months plus. Chop em back when they begin to flag and they just come right back and flower again! There are tall ones, tiny ones, and all of them lovely! I have yet to find one I don’t like! Make room for them….you won’t regret it!

Oops! Got a bit carried away with geraniums there but aren’t they lovely?

H….is for Helleborus. At this time of year I am always looking forward to the first flowers of late winter, and here in Scotland, any plant that extends the growing season is a boon. Hellebores are an essential element of my garden for these reasons: Early flowers in lots of different colours, evergreen foliage, a rapidly growing range of selections with recent doubles and ruffles being introduced, and evergreen architectural foliage that withstands all the harshest weather conditions. It’s a good idea to remove this just before flowering to allow the new blooms to be seen.

I…has to be Iris. There are Irises for almost every month of the year, from the tiny earliest winter-flowering bulbs through the spring flowering Sibiricas, the stunning flags, some of which will flower in the early autumn, to Iris Unguicularis which flowers at the same time as the snowdrops if you can find a sunny, well-drained, sheltered spot for it to thrive.

J is for Jasmine. I have to have Jasmine..for the scent. The one that has no scent, winter flowering Jasmine, is a must for the winter months, and I happened upon a dead looking J. Humile Revolutum in the GC sale a couple of years ago. I had no idea if it would survive here, but it is very happy in the front porch where even in temps of -9 it is still fully clothed with leaves. The yellow flowers are very pretty and the scent is lovely. Next year I will find a spot for one of the deciduous summer flowering vars.

K is for Kirengeshoma Palmata. A really choice plant for damp shady spots. You don’t see it very often…I don’t know why, it is a really elegant plant for a tricky spot. Pale lemon flowers and interestingly shaped leaves. A charming plant! sorry this one’s not a great pic. This is a new addition to this garden…better pics next summer I hope!

L…Lonicera or Honeysuckle. Lonicera is like Jasmine, it’s a scent I just can’t live without! It’s also , in a different form, a very useful topiary speciemen. I’ve never been absolutely convinced that they both types are related….how on earth could both of these plants be Lonicera?…oh well, I never was much of a scientist!

M is for Malus, Meconopsis, Mertensia, Muscari…all in my garden and all worthy ‘treasures’, but this time the prize goes to…Mentha. Common or garden mint. Easy to grow, rich in variety, an essential element of a good Pimms…and this is why it gets the prize from me, because the smell of fresh mint always takes my heart straight to summertime! I have one overwintering in my greenhouse right now and here’s proof that bubble wrapping your greenhouse does work!

N is for…Narcissus. It has to be doesn’t it? I have a friend who has emigrated to warmer climes and she really misses the daffodil in the spring. I would too. I sometimes dream of living somewhere tropical where I could grow bougainvillea and Strelitzia and have fresh Mangoes in my garden. But never to have a daffodil? Particularly the Jonquil types with the lovely scent…..that would be a tragedy! And pots of little ‘tete a tete’ on the windowsill in January and February….they keep my spirits up during the worst months of the too long scottish winter. Love them, love them, love them!

O…probably has to go to Osteospermum. I don’t have many plants beginning with O actually, but Osteos are definitely treasures aren’t they? Those big bright daisy flowers that are so useful for filling in summer bedding gaps! And some of the colours..wow!

P is for Prunus and Primula…both diverse families of plants and worth shouting about…but this time P is for Patio. A patio is such a useful space to have in any garden. It’s where the eating usually happens for a start! And the sitting-and-taking-it-all-in. It also provides a micro-climate where we can pot up some slightly more tender specimens. Its a must for our most treasured and pampered plants, and our prettiest pots.

Q…Q….erm….Q? I have no Q. Well, there’s Quince..Japanese Quince…Chaenomeles…. I love it! Thre is a house near me where the front fence is covered with a red one, must be at least 20 years old…and perfectly matches the front door paint and the colour of the car in the driveway. In spring I walk past it as often as I can..it always makes me smile! This one is my Geisha Girl.

R is for Rose. Too obvious? Well, for years I avoided them…probably because of memories of hybrid T’s in beds with dusty earth around them and prickles, and pruning and feeding and spraying. Then, one year not too long ago, a new rose came on the market…Rosa ‘Rhapsody in Blue’…well, what with the colour AND the association with Gershwin, it just HAD to be included in my garden. Well, that was the start of something wasn’t it? Now I have over 40 different shrub and climbing roses and every year there are additions. And it’s all down to this beauty….

S is for SPRING!! I just come to life in Spring. There is NOTHING that can bring me down during the month of May. Come rain, hail, sleet, wind…..May is just the very best month of the year! It’s Music to the eyes! and a tonic for the Soul..

Oooh, I just can’t wait for spring 2011!

T is for ‘treasure’ itself. The idea that we all seem to share that plants are worth treasuring. The daily wandering around our plots, looking for something really worth sharing on GOY. I love that. I love that there are other people here who feel the same way as me…not necessarily about the same flowers…but just that shared love of gardening. I treasure that!

U is for Uncinia Rubra. I know, that’s a bit obscure isn’t it. Thing is, I have no U, so I went on my favourite plant website and searched, and this was all they had under U. So, since it’s a very pretty red grass and it likes shade…I think I shall add uncinia rubra to my shopping list! That’s one of the joys of gardening isn’t it….new discoveries and unusual plants….THATS what U is for friends….UNUSUAL plants!! I love it when someone on GOY shows something unusual, even if I can’t get my hands on it..like Louise’s Iris Grapesicle for example. I can’t find it anywhere, but it is soooo beautiful! This is one of my more unusual specimens….Podophyllum Peltatum…

V is for Viola, Vinca, Vernonica and Viburnum. I love Viburnums. I love shrubs that flower. They bring structure to the garden and they provide a great host for a clematis. Viburnum is my favourite shrub family. I just love so many of them. There are all the great evergreen ones, the ones that flower in winter on bare stems and give lovely scent. Then there is the guelder rose, Viburnum Opulus with it’s bright shiny red berries and the lovely metallic blue berries of Viburnum Davidii. They make lovely standards too. My favourite one has to be Viburnum Plicatum. I love it’s tiered shape and hydrangea like white flowers. Too broad for my garden sadly, but a mature specimen in a lawn….wow!

Viburnum Burkwoodii

Viburnum Bodnantense

Viburnum Opulus Berries

W….Water….it has to be water. Especially water in Butts, waiting to be quench the thirst of my potted plants. Water features too….solar ones especially, and my new waterfall in the shade garden. Wildlife ponds, Water baths for birds, watering cans and outside water taps. All of them are treasured and absolutely fundamental.

X is for …well it is for ‘hybrid’ isn’t it. Hybridisation is something we all take pretty much for granted whenever we visit the GC, but when you think about what plant breeding actually involves…wow…that takes patience, effort and real hard graft. Hats off to all the wonderful people who have introduced new plants to our gardens through hybridisation! One of my favourite hybrids is Fatshedera…a hybrid of Fatsia and Hedera…..neat eh?

Y …in my garden Y is most definitely for Ypsilandra Thibetica. I introduced it this year and I am waiting patiently to see if it will thrive and flower. It’s quite an unusual plant, and I do like to have a few unusual treasures…lets hope this one will soon have a starring role in my border! Here’s a link to AndrewR’s photo if you would like to see it for yourself in flower….
http://www.growsonyou.com/photo/slideshow/65094-ypsilandra-thibetica-2009/member/AndrewRto

Z….Zantedeschia Aetheopica …I soooo wanted to grow it…‘Green Goddess’….aptly named beauty that likes a damp spot. She survived, but she never thrived and so she had to be removed to make way for happier plants. She needs somewhere a bit warmer than the Eastern coast of Scotland I think. Please, somebody grow her…she really is sooooo beautiful!! I did get a few flowers….

Well, that’s my A-Z…well, for now. On another day it will be totally different, but I do hope you enjoyed it, and that it has inspired you…just a little bit….:))

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Comments

 

brilliant blog karen how did you think of it and you have something for each letter, well done and love the pics they make me feel better with the bright and pretty colours :o))

20 Dec, 2010

 

Ah thanks San...you're a real friend! :)) P.s. it took me so long to do it, I can't remember what gave me the idea, but I nearly gave up half way through...I need a better way of filing my photos!

20 Dec, 2010

 

Karen you have put a lot of work into this blog, very good reading and love your A-Z., your garden is a credit to you. Added to my favs..
Merry Christmas to you and your family......

20 Dec, 2010

 

Thank you very much Lincslass, it was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it, and you and San have just made it all worthwhile! x Merry Christmas!

20 Dec, 2010

 

your welcome karen, ho ho ho lol

20 Dec, 2010

 

:)) x

20 Dec, 2010

 

What a wonderful blog Karen, must have taken you a pretty long time Lol.!! But it was worth it, your garden is so beautiful. Happy Christmas.

20 Dec, 2010

 

Thank you GG happy christmas....your garden is lovely too!

20 Dec, 2010

 

Goodness gracious, that took a lot of work, how come C is not for Clematis!!!!!!! Beautiful, well put together and thank you!! xx Merry Christmas time to you and yours.

20 Dec, 2010

 

Thank you Karen I enjoyed reading that. All the way through I was trying to see what plants I had in my garden that started with each letter. I didn't have them all of course.
I agree about May being the best month. I am very fortunate to have my birthday in it :o)

20 Dec, 2010

 

Thanks Lulu and Hywel. I felt we needed some sunny, colourful pics and this blog was a way of giving you some! Lulu, Merry Christmas to you too, I'm glad you liked it. Hywel, that's the third thing we agree on then!! :)))

20 Dec, 2010

 

Wow, fantastic blog! Pics 5 and 7 of the geraniums are my faves...

20 Dec, 2010

 

5 is Clarkei Kashmir White and 7 is Oxonianum 'Lace Time' Lulu. So glad you enjoyed the blog!

20 Dec, 2010

 

Good things come in threes :o)) x

20 Dec, 2010

 

Wonderful blog ... so much colour to see on these monochrome days ... the Honeysuckle is fabulous ... how do you get it to grow so well? : o )

20 Dec, 2010

 

It's nearly 4 am here, at the moment. No central heating and no running water - pipes froze. I've been out to check on the local wildlife, armed with a thermos of hot coffee, made from snow, and a couple of cheese rolls.
There have been screeches and hoots, scratches and sniffs, scurrying and flapping, creeks and groans ( that was usually me slipping in the snow) and mysterious snow padding footsteps, that when I looked around, there was nothing there. There never is, is there? A distant aircraft and an even more distant police car. My goodness - who is he trying to warn at this time of morning? There nobody alive out here!!!
Oh, it's been wonderful out here. I've had Pegasus to guide me, and Jupiter to enlighten me, and soon I will be dazzled by the welcoming warmth of a vibrant Venus.
Now I'm back indoors, your wonderful blog has reminded me of NIGHTIME; the best "N" I could ever think of.

21 Dec, 2010

 

Oh no, that sounds hard, no running water?? I hope that gets sorted out soon...you sound like something of a 'Ray Mears' Jason!! Sounds like you had quite a special time out there , hope you are now tucked up and snoozing! I noticed that it was a lovely moonit night last night here, but that's as far as I went...looked out of the window at about 11pm!

21 Dec, 2010

 

What a lovely blog Karensusan. That lovely white speckled Helleborus and the delicate salmon pink quince have been favourited. Talking of frozen pipes. I had to defrost the condensate pipe last night too~I think you had trouble with that as well. What problems this freezing snowy weather causes for so many people.

21 Dec, 2010

 

Yes Dorjac! It certainly interferes with normal life doesn't it! Yes, my condenser pipe froze up as well. Thank goodness it was nothing more serious! I am afraid that many businesses will be really suffering.

21 Dec, 2010

 

what a lovely blog ~ im keeping it in my favourites cos you have so many of my favourites on here!

21 Dec, 2010

 

Thankyou Karen really enjoyed reading it and looking at the photos, i to like May, infact i love April, May & June, as every morning at that time i make a cupper and walk round the garden to see what else as come up to say hello to me.

21 Dec, 2010

 

KS63 - snoozing? Oh my, I wish. No, I'm afraid I just got back in from all my outdoor chores (12.20pm). My two cheese rolls had to last me until now, so as you might expect, I'm cold and very hungry. At least the pipes have thawed out, so I now have running water.
You know, "special time" as you put it, is absolutely spot on. I value my 4am walks so much. Winter or summer, whenever, it's a way of starting a day in a thankful manner and resolving to pass on to others the happiness of another day's life.
That's what I liked about your blog. Sharing with us on GOY your obvious happiness that you impart to your garden.
People always think that it's the garden that makes them happy, or the car or the holiday, only to find soon after that the happiness is gone, and thus the perennial need for another "fix".
If only they could find the joys in their own hearts that you have clearly found in yours!!!

21 Dec, 2010

 

Straight into my favs Karen, great blog, will use this in the new year . I grow a bit from seed but have never tried geraniums, are they that easy ?

21 Dec, 2010

 

Into my favs too Karen...wonderful blog and beautiful photos...You really brightened my day....:>)

21 Dec, 2010

 

Thanks Sticki! You and I obviously share a love of similar plants! I'm so glad you liked the blog! Happy christmas!

Clarice, you are a woman after my own heart! I too love the daily treasure hunt in the spring, armed with my cup of tea! It really lifts my spirits!

Jason, don't know what to say to your very kind comments. You have brought a tear to my eye, in a good way, thank you. Perhaps I should cultivate early morning walks too...in the summer though, I find it incredibly hard to get up in the dark! It does sound a wonderful way to spend time being thankful though and much better than sitting in a room meditating (which has never appealed to me). I do believe that walking is by far the best way to clear the mind, restore the spirit and be thankful for all the blessings in the world. :)) Glad your pipes are freed!

Littlelegs, I am assured that they are. Several friends on GOY, particularly Spritzhenry finds that they self seed all over the place (not all of them of course, but many). I have only ever propogated mine by division in the past, but one of my fave. websites is offering a nice mixed seed packet which promises some choice and unusual selections, so I'm going to give it a go! thanks for your kindness in favouriting the blog!

Motty, thank you so much, I'm glad that this blog has brightened your day! Making it certainly was a lot of fun!

21 Dec, 2010

 

"Perhaps I should cultivate early morning walks too...in the summer though" - absolutely KS63, and take someone with you too, and a pair of binoculos or a camera or notebook. Too many memories can be lost.
Don't forget too, KS63, that the biggest blessing in this world is yourself, whether you can see it in it's entirity or otherwise. Those early morning walks will help you to discover much about yourself that you didn't really know, and then you can benefit from the joys of sharing them with others. The restoration of the spirit that you mention, is for those who have never discovered their true selves, for once you have, you will find more than enough joy and strength to accomplish any day through any adversity. I know this to be true, having sat at death's door itself, although trauma can make this such a difficult conquest.

Think of yourself as a plant, continually fertilising those around you for generations to come, in your own small way.
:):):)

21 Dec, 2010

 

whoa...I like this advice! :)) Thank you Jason!

21 Dec, 2010

 

my pleasure :)

21 Dec, 2010

 

Another brill blog Karen, is the double geranium 'Hocus Pocus'? My first chance to sit down today after cleaning and getting everything in order for tomoz! Have a lovely, lovely Christmas xx

24 Dec, 2010

 

Hi Annella, nope it's not hocus pocus, it's pratense violaceum plenum. Hocus Pocus has a single beautiful blue flower and gorgeous dark, almost black leaves. Hocus Pocus is my favourite from last year, but I didn't get a really good shot of it. If you want to, you can see it on my garden pages, third page. Just below violaceum plenum actually! Barbara probably has an even better picture of it though. I've been searching the net to get a plant of G.Phaeum Margaret Hunt and so far the only one I found is £15!!! I've gone off it now!! :)) Did you get nice pressies? My daughter gave me her cold!!

26 Dec, 2010

 

Hope you feel better Karen. I always thought, when in a crowd, at my Cheshire cousin's house( now deceased and house sold) for many a wonderful Christmas gone by; that grand children are an utter joy BUT..... for the awful upper respiratory track infections they passed on to her almost every festive season. If not that....a younger person working with other youngsters at Heathrow, gave me a truly awful cold 2-3 Christmases ago at a completely different location. New year was a washout with 3 cancellations of events looked forward to. As I got better GJ followed on and that was worse than anything, apart from a size 7 earthquake. Who invented the festive URTI?????

27 Dec, 2010

 

Dorjac, our son & his wife have coughed their way through Christmas, my OH has been poorly for 10 days and I'm just taking him to emergency GP for tests as I think he now has a chest infection! Grrr!!

27 Dec, 2010

 

Shirley, I'm really sorry that OH is so unwell and hope he gets better soon. However, I had to have a good chuckle at Dorjac's comment which was very funny! I am ok, just glad I don't have flu like olivoil, but just a horrid raw trachaea! Now that you mention it, I think I have been unwell for at least half of the last 20 christmases...my daughter is 20 now....funny that! :)) Still, at least the rotten snow and ice has finally started to melt!

27 Dec, 2010

 

Indeed, Karen, the festive URTI ! Hope your Christmas was a happy time for you and your family. Michael does have a chest infection and now on Amoxycillin tabs for 7 days. Funniest comment from the Locum was: You have a fever and shouldn't be out of bed!
Well, HE wouldn't do a home visit . . . . I rest my case!
So pleased the big thaw has started for you. Not long until your holiday I believe . . . hooray!

27 Dec, 2010

 

Yes, well, urm, GP told my mum on the phone to go and stand at her back door for her fever! Sometimes I could swear, honestly!

27 Dec, 2010

 

What a ridiculous suggestion ... I hope she's recovering now ... just wandered round the back garden for some fresh air ... there are buds appearing ... hooray again!!

27 Dec, 2010

 

Not yet Shirley, but thanks. I too had a wander...lovely to see the buds swelling on the Cornus mas tree. some damage on shrubs, but not too bad considering. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of winter to go don't we?....lets hope it improves from now on!

27 Dec, 2010

 

I used to work as a community midwife and knew when the tots were coughing and spluttering on visits I might 'get something'. I had one flu ridden weekend, as the only midwife left standing....I flung myself from one delivery to the next, and ended up with 5 births from Friday evening to Monday morning. By Sunday evening I had flu myself but had to carry on......when I got back after a short break.....I got teased by the mums. They thought it funny, they all got flu one by one....then I got flu too. Funny, it was the sixties, we didn't get into such a panic about all sorts of things then.

29 Dec, 2010

 

You sound like you loved your time in midwifery, Dorjac. These days it seems birthing pools are a favoured option for mums-to-be!

29 Dec, 2010

 

I wish that those days of home births would come back. I know midwives are trying to promote their 'skills' but I was hearing on radio 4 today that most women now request an epidural as a matter of routine. Now, I'm no great lover of discomfort, but I would have hated to have been numb during labour, there's nothing like it in the world. I wish I could have had my two at home. Labour is not an illness, and I really really detest hospitals, especially now that they are stinking filthy places....well ours is!

29 Dec, 2010

 

It is a shame Karen, just as automatic washing machines, reliable scans, and paramedics were just round the corner; The Peel Report gave home delivery a serious wound that it has never recovered from. There was no proper scientific research to back up their aggressive statements. Now obstetricians and the lawyers have cornered the market. It is all caution due to litigation. Gone are the days when a mum knitted a full set of tiny baby clothes for the prems, while walking about. Even in the second stage. This was in hospital. Not suitable for home. Part of a birth plan. I was with her most steps of the way. Might not be allowed these days....don't really know. A maternity unit near us has just closed....so it goes on.

31 Dec, 2010

 

It's funny, kinda counter-intuitive really, as we are all growing our own veg, recycling and building eco-homes....at the same time....most mums to be are more terrified of labour than ever before!

31 Dec, 2010

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