WITH spring well under way, it is an important time of year for enthusiastic gardeners to start thinking about planting for summer. With an eye on what’s best for all budgets, TCWDF’s horticultural expert recommends five florae that will draw admiring glances.
Green-fingered amateurs up and down the land will be busy preparing beds and borders, ensuring peak growing conditions for eye catching displays. Whilst many will opt for familiar staples such as begonias, marigolds, salvia and dahlias, adventurous and patient gardeners would be well rewarded with some unusual and exotic specimens that are worth tracking down.
Rishi’s quandary (Minimus taxus)
This attractive vigorous climber is best suited for formal beds and borders. It has a rich appearance and luxuriant foliage that requires little maintenance once established. This is a moderately fast-growing plant with pointed oval leaves. It has clusters of lavender-like flowers and gives off a heady scent. Inexperienced gardeners are advised that it reacts badly to over-attentive care and is best left to grow with minimal interference – preferably in a shady spot.
Bozo’s Bush (Flavis capillis incomptus)
This little-known biennial will thrive in the most inhospitable beds, however, left unchecked will become both invasive and difficult to eradicate. If kept in pots (which I would recommend), it will provide an attractive upright fast-growing bush with small saucer-shaped purple flowers with a cream centre. This should not be confused with its cousin, the evergreen and nowadays largely overlooked Saint Theresa (Roboticus May), noted for its prickly pear-shaped leaves and short-lived, underwhelming flowers.
Sir Keir’s Star (Semper inritus)
Sedges have for years divided opinion: some think they are dull and dreary, others feel that they add a touch of much-needed coverage to ornate estates. This variety is a solid evergreen tuft-forming addition to any bed. It has yellow striped leaves and firm triangular stems that carry insignificant flower spikes in summer. It is one of a handful of self-pollinating plants that has both a stamen and pistil making it a popular choice in certain quarters.
Uncle Joe’s Glory (Democratum geriati)
This ornamental shrub is often ignored, due to the fact it requires a great deal of patient care and careful handling. Novice gardeners have reported several problems with it failing in the first year of planting. However, in the hands of experienced nurserymen it will deliver a late flowering of trumpet-like red, white and blue bell-shaped flowers.
Nicola’s Tartan Rose (Rosa sturgeon demens)
Roses come in an infinite variety and as romantic flowers are unsurpassed in their beauty and fragrance. Cultivated and coveted by many individuals, they are an almost indispensable element to any plot.
This recently developed hybrid is unusual in that it has an overabundance of thorns and a minuscule flower in relation to the size of the shrub. The overwhelming scent, which has been likened to the 70s consumer brand ‘Charlie’, is not to everyone’s taste, nor is the requirement to keep the plant under a cloth covering for most of the year.