Lythrum salicaria ‘Zigeunerblut’ – Purple loosestrife ‘Gypsy blood’

Given the heavy rain showers that we’ve had recently, and the very strong winds, I’m confident that when it is all over, there will be one plant that comes through it all unscathed. It may just be a form of our common native purple loosestrife, but it is one that can withstand any weather and will never need staking. At well over four foot, I call that commendable! Too often, at this time of the year, I make a foray into the garden and end up with armfuls of prunings and broken stems, then I must find stakes and...

Continue reading

Digitalis ferruginea AGM – ‘Rusty foxglove’

This foxglove is a jewel! I know I’m on to a winner when each time I pass a plant I find myself stopping and staring at the wonder of it, and my selection this week is no exception. It is also an absolute magnet for every passing bee which just adds to the interest The ‘Rusty foxglove’ is more likely to be a short-lived perennial than a biennial and can be encouraged to behave as one by cutting back the spent stem right down to the basal rosette. However, do leave at least one seed head and you may...

Continue reading

Clematis viticella ‘Étoile Violette’ AGM

I made a happy accidental choice when I planted ‘Étoile Violette’ at the foot of our Amelanchier lamarckii: at the time, I hadn’t realised that for many reasons it was the perfect clematis for growing in a large shrub or small tree. Now, our snowy mespilus never looks dull, but there are certain shrubs that, however stunning in flower, look drab for the rest of the year (lilac, wintersweet, viburnum to name but a few) and these are ideal candidates for the viticella partnership. ‘Étoile Violette’ is quite simply, an outstanding, undemanding and generously free-flowering cultivar that with its slightly...

Continue reading

Rosa ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ Climbing

There are so many beautiful roses out right now, so how on earth do I choose just one? No rose is perfect, and my favourite today shares certain less attractive traits with many others. Let’s face it, few roses look their best after a downpour and this one is no exception, it really sulks after rain; and then there is the dying process which can be untidy at best or downright unsightly. But in so many other respects, ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’ is a winner. First off, it is one of the best for a north facing wall: its...

Continue reading