Polystichum setiferum ‘Divisilobum Wollaston’

It’s a bit of a mouthful this name, and for some reason I find ferns’ names amongst the most difficult to remember, and certainly the ferns themselves extraordinarily difficult to identify. However, names are important and having discovered this beauty, (I looked long and hard to find a fern that would be happy in a rather testing location), I now have no difficulty in remembering it! It is my special plant this week for two reasons. First off, there is nothing like the unfurling of those amazing fronds to remind us that spring is here (as if we needed reminding), and then there is this fern’s outstanding ability to thrive in dry shade which, translated, means just four...

Continue reading

Peltaria alliacea – (shieldwort, garlic cress)

No question, it has to be an edible this week as we all try with varying degrees of success to grow our own fruit and veg. It’s odd, and rather unhelpful, that garlic cress is very difficult to source, and this I just don’t understand as it’s an easy plant to propagate, easy to grow, very decorative in and out of flower, and edible … what more could you want?! Peltaria alliacea is a hardy perennial in the Brassica family. It is endemic to south eastern Europe but has been recorded as naturalised on the Isle of Skye. The decorative, purple flushed foliage emerges early in the year and the leaves, which have a garlicky mustard flavour, can be cooked...

Continue reading

Corydalis solida subsp. solida ‘Beth Evans’

I was going to write about a dependable, evergreen, scented shrub but decided at the last minute that we might all need a bit of cheer. This fumitory (as they’re commonly known) ‘Beth Evans’ cuts the mustard and is equally dependable and also tough: a couple of years ago it was covered with snow one spring morning and reappeared quite unperturbed a few days later!  Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’ is an easy, tuberous, herbaceous perennial and has beautiful, ferny, grey-green foliage and tubular pink flowers with a white flash on the spur. It reaches about 25 cms in height and...

Continue reading

Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ AGM

Loddon lily, summer snowflake It’s a bit of a misnomer this common name. Leucojum aestivumusually flowers in March or April, yet informally, it is called the summer snowflake. Furthermore, this year, which is far from normal climatically, it’s out in February. This clump forming, bulbous, hardy perennial is very easy going and tolerant of most situations. I wouldn’t plant it in a border because, as with daffodils, I’m not keen on all those leaves flopping about and smothering neighbouring emerging treasures. This is a plant for an informal setting, and preferably one that is cool and damp: pondside would be...

Continue reading