Friday, 28 April 2017

Ledebouria Gary Hammer

Ledebouria sp Gary Hammer
I've had a thing for Ledebouria ever since I first came across L.socialis when I was a teenager (Scilla violacea then) because of their interestingly mottled leaves and curious little flowers. It's a mainly African genus with a few species in south west Asia I believe. A few of the South Africans are reputed to be hardy to z7 if kept dry in winter, including this one and L.cooperi. Otherwise they make excellent pot plants for a frost-free greenhouse or stood outside in summer.
Ledebouria sp Garry Hammer
This species produces relatively long leaves with bold black blotches, and spikes of small greyish hyacinth flowers in summer. It is more or less deciduous in winter
10cm pots ~ £6

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Kalimeris incisa Edo Murasaki

Kalimeris incisa Edo Murasaki
A rather choice compact aster relative with flowers that remind me of Anemone blanda - with rich violet rays and yellow centres. The foliage is lush and deep green and the whole plant is of modest size without being a blobby dwarf.
Kalimeris incisa Edo Murasaki
Not fussy about soil or aspect as long as extremes are avoided, and flowering through the summer - usually June to autumn, but it started in March this year!
1L pots ~ £8

Monday, 3 April 2017

Salvia deserta

A rather posh version of the meadow clary from China, with upright plumes of vivid violet blue flowers for months in summer over rosettes of crinkly grey green leaves. 

Very hardy and reliable. For well-drained soils in sun.
1L pots ~ £7

Viola douglasii

Viola douglasii
An extremely choice species from California with rich golden flowers, black at the centre, and with deep red reverses to the petals. The foliage is finely cut.

In the wild this is a species of open grasslands and needs sun and free drainage. Thus far on the nursery they've been easy to grow and have made slow but steady progress
10cm pots ~ £7

Calceolaria pavonii

Calceolaria pavonii
A remarkable species from Chile. The flowers are typical for the genus - yellow and slipper shaped, but in this case with quite broad pale green sepals behind. The whole flower is over an inch across and the effect is vaguely daffodil-like. Flowers appear over a long period in summer.
Calceolaria pavonii
This is quite a big soft bushy sprawling plant, reputed to be hardy in mild locations in a well-drained sunny spot or dry semi shade. I haven't risked it outside here yet because there isn't much shelter.
1L pots ~ £7

Monday, 20 March 2017

Hesperochiron californicus

Hesperochiron californicus
A little-known but charming miniature perennial related to Phacelia and Nemophila, making pale rosy almost stemless funnel-shaped flowers over a neat rosette of leaves in spring. It emerges in late winter and disappears again in early summer.
Hesperochiron californicus
I’ve not had enough to experiment with until now, so been keeping it in the tunnel, but it might well be happy in a well-drained sunny spot outside, among small bulbs for example, with plenty of water in spring. Very pretty.
3in pots ~ £7

Primula elatior meyeri

Primula elatior meyeri
This is a lovely Caucasian form of oxlip with nodding heads of rich violet blue flowers on slender stems.
Primula elatior meyeri
From seasonally damp mountain meadows and light woodland - it wants plenty of light and moisture in winter and spring - not waterlogged or heavily shaded.
1L pots ~ £6


Cardamine glanduligera
Cardamine glanduligera
In my estimation the best and showiest of the Eurasian species with rich purple flowers and deeply textured foliage.
Cardamine glanduligera
A vigorous spreader in a retentive soil in part shade, and probably a bit too vigorous with choice woodlanders, but a splendid groundcover among shrubs and larger woodland perennials.
1L pots ~ £6

Cardamine kitaibelii
Cardamine kitaibelii
A much more slender and less vigorous species than glanduligera needing a little more care to keep it, but not difficult once happy. The heads of nodding flowers make this one of the most graceful of the Cardamines. Very few.
1L pots ~ £6

Aesculus californica

Sorry -  no pictures yet as mine are not old enough to flower.
This is a very large spreading shrub (or low spreading tree) and needs a lot of space - the flowers are fragrant, creamy or rosy white and held in solid ‘candles’. The foliage is neat and attractive and the bark is chalky white (especially good in winter after the leaves fall). Given an open sunny well-drained site this will be one of the most magnificent woody plants we can grow. Hardly ever offered and I have no idea why it isn't better known.
Aesculus californica and Calycanthus occidentalis
Young plants grown from conkers collected in California. Not flowered yet but will be fast growing once established.
5l pots ~ £15

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Field-grown Plants #1

Stachys thunbergii and Chrysogonum virginianum
Stachys thunbergii and Chrysogonum virginicum

I have decided after much struggle with potted specimens to offer some plants lifted directly from the garden. These are mostly species that seem to hate being cooped up in a pot long term and won't mind being disturbed, even in growth. This is actually more common than one might imagine. Moving things in the depths of winter when the temperatures are too cold to repair any damage is a traditional practice only really tolerated by the toughest of plants. Many plants recover quickly if transplanted in full growth. Spring and early autumn are ideal for many, but even high summer is ok as long as the roots don't dry out. Lifted plants often establish more quickly than they do from pots.
Nb. when lifting plants it is better to cut out a lump with a spade, cleanly severing the roots, rather than lifting with a fork, which produces a fringe of damaged roots. If you think about it, it's the same as pruning - a clean cut grows away quickly, whereas damaged shoots just hang around doing nothing and may die back.
Also, if you order field-grown plants you will likely get a stronger more generous lump than you would in a pot. These will mostly not be bare rooted - you will likely get a clod of soil with them.

Campanula takesimana
Campanula takesimana
A beautiful species with 2in long ivory flowers, lightly speckled red inside, over fresh shiny green foliage.
Campanula takesimana
Like its coarser relative C.punctata, this is a coloniser, but in my experience, not to anything like the same extent, and in fact I've had it peter out a couple of times, possibly from too much competition.
Easy in any moist rich soil in sun or part shade

Campanula Paul Furse
Campanula Paul Furse
Another spreader of uncertain parentage perhaps involving punctata or takesimana, but with violet flowers. A useful vigorous late-flowering ground cover - happier in shade than takesimana so ideal to combine with shrubs and trees. Best not with small delicate perennials.

Chrysogonum virginicum
Chrysogonum virginianum
Unusually in the sunflower group these are restrained and even refined plants - flowering over a long period through summer and autumn in a wide variety of conditions.
I have two forms of this - the basic virginicum, above, is the more vigorous and possibly a little coarser, while australe, below, is a choicer, more compact plant, but both are equally easy and adaptable.
Chrysogonum australe

C.v.virginicum ~ £6

C.v.australe ~ £6

Sanguisorba applanata
Sanguisorba applanata
Not flowered here yet for some reason but an excellent foliage plant, reminiscent of a low spreading Melianthus or a giant Acaena. The flowers should be white bottle brushes, but are not the main reason for growing this plant. Suitable for any moist fertile soil in sun.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Plant Fairs 2017

Great Comp
Great Comp Spring Fling 
Sunday 9th April
11am - 5pm,
Great Comp Garden,
Comp Lane,
Platt, Sevenoaks,
TN15 8QS
01732 885094

AGS Wimborne Show (aka the Rocky Show formerly Summer Show South) 
Saturday May 27th 
9am - 4.40pm
Queen Elizabeth's School
Blandford Road
Wimborne Minster
BH21 4DT
Dorset and Hampshire local groups host on behalf of the national AGS

Garden House Brighton
The Garden House Brighton
3rd June 2017
11am - 5pm
Bridgette & Deborah
The Garden House
5 Warleigh Road
07788 668595 or 07729 037182

Sussex Prairies
Sussex Prairies Unusual Plant and Garden Fair
Saturday 3rd September
11am until 5pm
Morlands Farm,
Wheatsheaf Road (B2116), near Henfield,
West Sussex,
01273 495902

Others may be added later
I am more than happy to bring along plants for you to pick up on the day if you let me know in advance. I may ask for prepayment if the plant is in short supply and likely to sell out.

Hope to see you there


Tuesday, 21 February 2017


I thought it might be good to show potential customers how much trouble I take over packing up your goodies. Some people I know are wary of mail order plants - and I've seen some dreadful examples of packing over the years - small plants rattling around in a big box - compost everywhere, broken stems, buds knocked off, soaked disintegrating boxes. I've had only one real disaster among all the consignments I've sent out and when I got it back it looked like someone had stood on it.

1. Any surface crust, moss, liverwort, weeds or other debris is removed

2. paper is used to hold the compost in place

3. the paper is taped in position so nothing can rattle loose in transit

4. the pots are enclosed in plastic bags, mainly to stop the box getting wet

5. this is my packing material stash - all recycled. I've never had to buy paper, bubble wrap, bags or boxes

6. packed as tightly as possible in a box

7. these packing balloons are excellent for cutting down on weight. Otherwise I use shredded paper

8. taping it all together

9. finished off with document pocket and FRAGILE tape

10. packing a taller shrub requires a slightly different method

11. bubble-wrapped to avoid knocking the buds off. The canes are to brace it against the side of the box so that if the box is turned upside down, the heavy pot won't break the stem

12. like this

13. then packed in with the smaller pots and packing balloons as before
And I don't charge you for any of this!