Friday 26 October 2012

Leaf-peeping at the Castle Howard Arboretum

Acer rubrum 'October Glory' living up to it's name. It's a signature tree in the arboretum at this time of year.

Flaming scarlet: a young 'October Glory' amid the oaks

Browsing the BBC website this morning I found a video segment featuring my friend Raef Johnson discussing autumn colour against the backdrop of the Japanese maples at Westonbirt, where he works. It's currently the fourth most watched video on the BBC site, so congratulations to Raef, but Westonbirt isn't the only place with fantastic autumn colour! The tints this year, at least in this area, seem to be exceptionally good and I took advantage of a bright spell this afternoon to go round the Castle Howard Arboretum to get some pictures of our trees. Lots of colour now and it should get better for a little while to come.

I think this is Acer x freemanii, but there's no label on the tree (!)

Delicate shades are as attractive as the intense reds: Betula papyrifera

Beech trees: Fagus orientalis on the left.

Malus florentina

Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus) and the view to the bridge.

And we have Japanese maples too: a good red Acer palmatum,
grown from seed from Westonbirt.

Sunday 21 October 2012

A busy weekend in the garden

Planted a few weeks ago, Colchicum 'Dick Trotter' has been looking superb in recent sunshine, flowering a bit later than normal.

It has been 'all go' here this weekend: my parents, Susan and Peter Grimshaw, came to build a run for the bantams, currently boarding with them.

Rama Lopez-Rivera, a Kew Diploma student, very kindly volunteered himself to help in the garden this weekend and did a fantastic amount of digging,

as a consequence of which I could get a lot more bulbs into the ground: a 'mass grave' of snowdrops.

A beautiful (unnamed) hybrid between Crocus speciosus and C. pulchellus. It's nice to see the first of my plants beginning to get going here.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Bulb planting at the arboretum

10,000 Narcissus poeticus 'Recurvus' bulbs have gone into the ground today.
 This week has seen a huge bulb planting effort at the Castle Howard Arboretum, with about 25 volunteers turning out to help staff plant a big meadow of bulbs. So far 7000 camassias, 10,000 Narcissus poeticus 'Recurvus' and 2600 Iris latifolia have gone in - there are a lot of Crocus and Fritillaria meleagris to follow next week. The aim is to make a meadow full of colour and interest for a long season next spring and early summer, visible from a wide area in the core of the arboretum. With so many people involved there has been a lot of chat and banter, making it rather fun, but I'm off for a long hot bath now!

Volunteers and staff have done an amazing job at getting some 20,000 bulbs into this patch of the arboretum in the past three days.

The intended effect - a meadow of pheasants' eye daffodils (these are at Colesbourne)

Afternoon light in the arboretum.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Autumn colours

Acer rubrum 'Somerset' at Frank P. Matthews., Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire.
Populus alba 'Richardii' - this is fresh, healthy foliage of this amazing poplar, with the gold beautifully set-off by the white undersides.

Sorbus rosea (a.ka. 'Rosiness'). Large pink fruits, but unfortunately the leaves drop early.
A speaking engagement in Shrewsbury took me south on Thursday and I took the day off on Friday to visit Colesbourne. Plans changed slightly so I found myself with a morning to spare yesterday, but was able to occupy it very satisfactorily with a tour of the outstanding tree nursery Frank P. Matthews of Tenbury Wells, where a lot of things drew my attention (some are above). A slow crawl across the width of Worcestershire took me to the always inspiring Cotswold Garden Flowers for a brief visit, and then it was up the Cotswold escarpment for lunch with Sibylle Kreutzberger and then on to Colesbourne. It was a little odd to be back after leaving two months ago, but I was able to collect a lot of plants from my former garden, and help the new senior gardener at Colesbourne Park, Chris Horsfall, with some queries about snowdrops - and the place is as beautiful as ever, with the first snowdrops just in flower.

Michaelmas daisies at Cotswold Garden Flowers

Nerine bowdenii 'Marjorie' at the Garden House, Condicote.

Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow' - a lovely selection from Jelitto, but plants are either annual or biennial, so the display is a bit uneven. This was planted last year at Sycamore Cottage.

The border at Colesbourne Park: this is the view featured in my post The Big Border Replant of 14 June.
It has done quite well.

The border from the other end: Salvia 'Indigo Spires' and Helianthus salicifolius 'Bitter Chocolate' are conspicuous.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Autumn Plant Fair at Scampston Hall

Sarracenia hybrids offered by Wack's Wicked Plants

It was nice to see Helleborussahinii on sale from Primrose Bank Nursery

A light frost and early mist turned into a lovely bright but crisp autumnal day, mostly spent doing more digging and getting bulbs in, but this morning I went to the Scampston Hall Autumn Plant Fair. being so close (less than five miles) it's easy to pop over there. The sale was a bit sparse, but there were some nice things on offer and I acquired some autumn gentians in the hope that I'll be able to grow them here. Afterwards I took a quick turn round the Scampston walled garden, where the plantings are taking on lovely autumn colours.

The drifts of Molinia 'Poul Petersen' at Scampston Hall are now beautifully tinted.

Eupatorium and Panicum

Late artichoke flowers.

Red Admiral on Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Marina Wolkonsky'

Hydrangea paniculata 'Unique'

Thursday 4 October 2012

A miscellany from Kew

Crocus speciosus
A meeting at Kew today for once ended in good time, permitting a quick scamper round the garden in lovely bright autumn weather. Here's a selection of things that caught my eye.

Nymphaea 'Carlos Magdalena'

The Salvia border, S. uliginosa in front.

The grass garden, with Stipa ichu in the foreground.

Cyclamen graecum with propeller-shaped flowers.

Amorphophallus titanum fruits

Amorphophallus titanum infructescence

Coelogyne dayanum

Cleistocactus candelilla
Persea palustris

Fraxinus americana (shaded leaves)
The canopy of Fraxinus americana

The first peacock on the blog this year!

Crocus nudiflorus: I have never seen this species doing so well before, flowering in sheets and making a tremendous display.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Do you need a new plant?

Click on the image to read a very funny guide to the plant-buying process, by Joseph Tychonievich, who works for Arrowhead Alpines, in Michigan (reproduced with his permission). He writes a very good blog for the nursery, and has just completed a book about plant breeding for the amateur gardener, to be published by Timber Press.