Iris lazica

This is not to be confused with Iris unguicularis which I wrote about in this column in February 2017. Although closely related, their needs differ in many respects, and for that reason it is well worth giving today’s plant a plug! Iris lazica is native to coastal areas of the Black Sea in Turkey and Georgia, and unlike the Algerian iris (which needs a hot, dry spot in poor soil), this one positively thrives in semi-shade, even full shade, and preferably a little damp. It also flowers later, in March, so if you grow both species, you will have a...

Continue reading

Paeonia mlokosewitschii A.G.M.

From the moment the first young shoots push their way up through the earth in early spring, I am watching its growth daily, and waiting for the buds on this captivating plant to form. The anticipation is part of the pleasure of P. mlokosewitschii (also known as ‘Molly the Witch’) … the primrose yellow, bowl-shaped flowers have a central mass of golden yellow stamens which are a magnet for bees, and the flowers themselves are set off to perfection by the glaucous blue-green foliage. This beautiful species is one of the first to flower, and sadly the flowers are very...

Continue reading

Omphalodes cappadodica ‘Cherry Ingram’ AGM Blue-Eyed Betty

Louise Sims Thanks to a good friend (and 3growbags follower), who reminded me of the common name of this week’s special plant, I have been dipping into a couple of books by Margery Fish. Having read most of them years ago, I am again inspired by her chatty and informative prose and am finding them hard to put down. A member of the forget-me-not family (Boraginaceae), Omphalodes cappadocica is a remarkable little plant and its sprays of brilliant blue flowers will enhance and enliven any shady corner for many weeks. Happiest in part or full shade, and preferably damp...

Continue reading

Epimedium warleyense

In our garden, Epimedium x warleyense is the first of the genus to flower and it never fails to delight. The sprays of unusual coppery orange coloured flowers, held high on thin wiry stems, seem almost to hover above ground. The effect is delicate, yet this clump forming plant is tough and a very efficient suppressor of weeds. Almost simultaneously the pretty, heart shaped leaves emerge; and they remain looking good well into autumn and through winter until it is time to prune them to the ground the following February, well before the cycle starts all over again. If...

Continue reading