Gardening News

Saxifraga x urbium (London Pride)

Written by  on June 14, 2014

London Pride, I didn’t buy it or plant it, the truth is, it was (handed down to me)

Saxifraga x urbium (London Pride)

Performance in our garden

In all the years we spent in Aberdeen, we never did have London Pride in the garden.  Surprisingly, as it is one of the first garden plants which I can recall.

Between the age of about seven and ten I was always fascinated  with my grandparents garden. The front garden was well planted up with HT Roses which my grandfather spent a lot of time tending. Round the back was a good size patch reached by going down a small flight of steps. First thing you came across was the old Rowan Tree to the left with an equally old garden bench underneath it.

Then you would come to the lawn which grandma used as her clothes drying area. The real garden lay ahead,   to the right of the gravel path they had the vegetables and fruit, all in neat rows, and to the left, were  the flowers also planted in rows, as or as may not have been the habit in the early fifty’s.

Well, anyway I cant remember the names of the flowers, many of them were colourful,  one day whilst in the garden with grandma, I enquired as to the name of the plant which filled one of these rows, (London Pride) she told me.

Saxifraga x urbium (London Pride) (4)

She asked me if I liked it, not really I said, I guess I couldn’t see the point of this plant as everything else seemed so large and colourful.  What I do know is it stuck in my head and was one of the few plants which I could name until I reached my twenties.

Here we are, now living in Cheshire and one of the handed down to me plants is (London Pride) which today I discovered was named Saxifraga x Urbium.

In the front garden it is planted at the back of both sides of the curved bed.

Saxifraga x urbium (London Pride) (2)

Guess what, I like it, looks very healthy, flowering well and evergreen, and it is  here for good.

Plant information

The small frothy panicles of pale pink single blooms are carried on slender stems reaching a height of about 30cm/12 inches above ground   Evergreen rosettes of glossy foliage  are an added attraction.

Saxifraga x urbium (London Pride) (3)

The flowers started to open in early May and now on the 7th of June are still looking good but reaching the end of the flowering period.

Position and soil type

London Pride performs best in full sun and will tolerate light shade. Grows in any reasonable soil that is free draining. Having said that the soil in our garden is heavy and not all that free draining. However they are planted in a slightly raised border where the soil seems to have been improved.

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 We have been here for six months now and its beginning to feel like we are finally getting settled in. The garden is starting to take shape although the interior of the house is still like a battle field. Here below is a little of what’s been going on

arch

New paving slabs have been fitted to the paths at the front, and also patio areas in the back garden.  The rickety old arch fell to bits, as was expected, and we put up this new sturdy metal one in its place.  The white Clematis Montana on the right hand side had to be cut right back, however its making fresh growth and I expect it will benefit from this rejuvenation.

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shed

My mini garden shed arrived flat pack a few weeks ago. Reasonably easy to assemble although I am not all that happy with my fitting of the doors.

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patio

The main patio area is just outside the back door, this small seating area above, we have just finished feeking up, and I am very pleased with it.  At the top of the garden it catches the sun for the best part of the day.

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back garden

The back garden has been receiving a lot of attention this past couple of weeks. We have reshaped the lawn, making the borders a fair bit wider. Loads of  planting has been going on with many perennials, Roses, and shrubs. Not quite finished as yet but I am happy with the progress.

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Clematis Montana Mayleen in our Cheshire Garden

Written by  on May 14, 2014

Clematis Montana Mayleen, we had this one in Aberdeen growing up through a Rowan tree in the back garden.

Clematis Montana Mayleen

Performance in our garden 

As you would expect, Clematis Montana Mayleen is thriving in Cheshire, every bit as much as it did in Aberdeen. It is one of those plants which flourish from John o’ groats to lands end, well! perhaps you have had experience which disputes this claim.

Here in our new garden this Clematis at the end of the pathway leading to our back garden appears to have been here for a number of years.

It came into bloom here at the very beginning of May, in Aberdeen it was usually the third week of May before the first blooms opened.

Although we usually have a preference for Clematis that require hard pruning in late Winter, this Montana which is performing extremely well is here to stay. Only thing is, we are placing a small garden shed in front of it, ah well, it will just have to scramble over the shed.

Clematis Montana Mayleen (3)

Plant information  

The highly scented pale dusky pink blooms of Clematis Mayleen will bloom in your garden for a few weeks between late April and mid June. The leaves are a distinct bronze colour.

Clematis Montana is a vigorous, fast grower capable of actually smothering a deciduous tree to such an extent that the host  could well suffer or even die.

Mayleen in my experience was not quite so ruthless and caused no harm to the Rowan tree in our Aberdeen garden which it climbed through, and after eight years still only clung to the lower branches.  This one shown today in our Cheshire garden also appears to be pretty well restrained.

Mayleen carries the RHS award of garden merit and although as I have said, I prefer Clematis which requires hard pruning, Mayleen is here to stay.

 

Clematis Montana Mayleen (4)

Position and soil type

Mayleen grows best of all in full sun or partial shade, however if you only have a north facing position available, plant it! you will not be disappointed.

Grows well in all soil types which are free draining. Add plenty good quality compost when planting and remember the golden rule with Clematis, plant deep, at least three inches lower than the level the plant was in whilst in its pot. This helps to prevent Clematis wilt and also helps keep the roots cool which they also like, in fact it is often advised as good practise, to place a layer of pebbles around your Clematis as an aid to keeping the roots cool.

Pruning

Well, I think I have already made it clear that Montana requires no pruning. However a bit of tidying up after flowering may well be necessary, and will cause no harm.   If after a number of years you feel it has got out of control there is no reason why the plant can not be rejuvenated by cutting it back hard.

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Another Montana in our garden is the white form, Montana Grandiflorum. I am also rather fond of this one, growing up a rickety old metal arch which leads to the back garden.

I have actually cut this one back and removed the old arch. The arch will be replaced with a new one and the Clematis will be left to regrow.

The habit of Grandiflorum is the same as Mayleen.  The white blooms of this one are not fragrant, however I expect many will favour it over the pink form.

Clematis Montana Grandiflora Alba

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The garden was starting to take shape, however I knew it would get messed up with all the work which the coming extension entailed.

Well in actual fact, its not going to happen. The strain and stress of moving house has left Myra totally drained and we have just decided to upgrade the house without any serious building work involved.

Although, having said that there is a bit of an upheaval at the front of the house.  The garage as it is, is gone and we are having a shower room and cloakroom added. (Cloakroom is posh for bog)

our house

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Daphne Eternal Fragrance

Written by  on April 27, 2014

Oh no! not another white flowering shrub. Sorry, cant help it, this Daphne Eternal Fragrance is a total beauty. 

Daphne  (6)

 Performance in our garden

Well, we had this shrub for a few years, planted in a pot in our Aberdeen garden. I would move it to the shelter of the covered patio for the Winter. Whether it really needed this bit of cosseting, I am not sure.  It always looked healthy and showed no ill effects of harsh Winters.

In  Cheshire  we have planted it in our front garden, placed in a curved bed with other white flowering shrubs.  We have two of the white flower carpet rose, a Spiraea Arguta and the Osmanthus that I was banging on about in my last post.

This Daphne was removed from the pot and planted in the border whilst the flowers were starting to open in late March.

It has performed way beyond my expectations, simply smothered in white blooms which happen to be at least twice the size I have seen them in previous years, and the fragrance on a relatively warm day is delicious.

Plant information  

To give it its full title Daphne x Transatlantica Eternal Fragrance is often described as being semi evergreen. However, the fact that it truly did not lose its leaves in our Aberdeen garden makes me wonder if its hardier than suggested.

This Daphne is one of those neat shrubs which is not likely to outgrow its situation.

It grows to a height of 70cm/28inches. The small evergreen leaves are smothered in smallish but not inconspicuous white scented blooms which are pink before opening up.

The majority of flowering shrubs, either give a Spring or Summer display for two or three weeks at most, Daphne x Transatlantica Eternal Fragrance usually starts to bloom in early April and after a rest in late Spring will re-bloom in July often continuing into early Autumn.

Daphne x Atlantica Eternal Fragrance (2)

Position and soil type  

Plant in full sun or partial shade, not too fussy about soil type as long as it is reasonably fertile and free draining.

Pruning 

Simply take out any dead or wayward stems as necessary. I haven’t found the need to touch it in the past three years.

Daphne  (7)

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Lets finish off with a picture of the Apple tree in our back garden. Not more white!.  Ah well I think the fruits in late Summer will be red

Apple tree (16)

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