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Plant of the Week

Throughout the year I shall be adding plant photographs, flowering or looking good that week. If you have a flowering gap in your garden, you could do worst than consider planting one of these....Click on the photo for a larger version and do feel free to "like" your favourites.

Plant of the week 12. Magnolia Black Tulip is stunning today in our garden. This small tree grows well in most climates, tolerating all but the coldest temperatures. It performs best in the sun and enjoys protection from strong winds. In early Spring the reward is a mass of magnificent, 6 inch black-purple, goblet-shaped flowers. Suitable for smaller gardens. Bred in New Zealand by leading Magnolia breeders, Felix and Mark Jury.

Week 42-2013 and the Garden Design Academy plant of the week is Salvia leucantha. Very late into flower but well worth the wait, if given a protected spot will flower right through the winter. The foliage of this tender shrub remind me of Buddleja but the flowers, white petals and downey lavender-purple sepals, are a real show at this time of the year.

Salvia involucrata in flower at the Garden Design Academy. Plant of the week 42/2013 A late but glorious bloomer, Rosebud Sage starts producing hot pink blossoms in late summer and continues into early winter -- growing more spectacular every day -- unless cut down to the ground by hard frost. A native of Mexico.

Garden Design Academy plant of the week 40-2013 is Colchicum Waterlily. We grow this bulb amongst shade loving shrubs and herbaceous plants, where it adds colour and interest to the autumn scene. Colchicums are natives of Europe and grow in woodland ditches close to our home. This double flowered form is a real joy and worth planting in quantity if you can afford it!

Garden Design Academy plant of the week: 36 / 2013 Hibiscus come in many forms including tropical shrubs, hardy shrubs and the less commonly grown herbaceous hibiscus. These hardy plants enjoy warm summers but also appreciate plenty of moisture in the soil. They come in a wide range of colours from white through to pink, red and plum coloured. This plant has flowers the size of dinner plates and this is not unusual. Grow in a border amongst shrubs, perennials or bedding.

Garden Design Academy plant of the week 35 is Hebe 'Great Orme'. This compact evergreen shrub is one of my favourites and while it is looking great now, seems rarely out of flower. Its bright pink flower spikes, 5-10cm long, slowly fade to white giving a bicolor effect. Shiny light green leaves line the brown stems. Named after the famous limestone headland on the north coast of Wales, it actually comes from New Zealand.

Plant of the Week 31 from GardenDesignAcade... We do not often propose climbers as our plant of the week but this plant on a neighbours wall is looking splendid today. Campsis x. tagliabuana Mme Galen is one of the more hardy varieties and forms a big plant with attractive pinnate leaves and large heads of tubular orange-red flowers. Honey bees seem to adore it.

Garden Design Academy plant of the week 30 - Poppy 'Violetta Blush' Papaver somniferum, Opium Poppy. I like to scatter Poppy seed about the place and see what associations of colour and form are created by accident. These plants from T and M look great next to Santolina. Ideal annuals for a sunny spot which will reappear year after year.

Plant of the week 27 Hemerocallis ‘Strutter’s Ball’. Ideal in moist soils, Daylilies are often in shades of yellow and orange. We chose this variety to plant close to purple leaved Cotinus. This selection features large (6 inch) glowing, deep cranberry-purple flowers with a lemon throat. The plant itself is hardy and vigorous; best planted in groups of three or more.

Kniphofia Timothy - Plant of the Week 28. Red Hot Pokers are one of the plants that some garden snobs look down on, but the bees love them and they are easily grown perennials for a sunny position. Best in a well drained soil but with some moisture during the summer. They give spectacular spikes of colour from clumps of grass-like leaves. Removing flower spikes as they are spent ensures a much longer flowering period.

Week 24 - Pæony. In general, paeonies are long lived, hardy, relatively drought resistant, disease resistant and require low levels of maintenance. This one, name unknown, was bought cheaply from our local supermarket! Peonies can be grown in a border of their own, but most gardeners would prefer to include them among other plants. They look fabulous with perennials and consider planting spring bulbs such as crocuses around them. In August and September many have great autumn leaf colour.

Week 22. Iris pallida Argentea Variegata. So many wonderful Iris are in flower at the moment but for this weeks plant I have chosen one which is grown as much for the foliage as for the flowers. It forms a low clump of sword-like leaves, with silvery-white and grey-green stripes running lengthwise. In regions with mild winters it remains nearly evergreen. Fragrant lavender-blue flowers, excellent for cutting, appear in early summer. Photo taken at the chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley.

Week 21 - Lavandula stoechas. Delightful, dwarf, scented evergreen shrubs from the Mediterranean, they are highly attractive to butterflies and bees and excellent for cutting and drying. Ideal with other Mediterranean plants such as Cistus, Helianthemum, Rosemary, Salvia and Phlomis. All these plants like a sunny position with good drainage and will reward you with scent and colour all summer long. We have several varieties of this lavender species, this beauty being 'Victory'

Week 20 / 2013 Potentilla fruticosa Abbotswood. An easy to grow shrub of modest size which blooms from the spring right through to the autumn. Named after the garden in which it was discovered in the 1920's, it has been popular ever since and was given an award of garden merit by the RHS. We grow it in an area offering shade for part of the day and find the flowers last longer.

Week 17 and spring is being very generous this year. There are so many plants in flower at the moment but I chosen this from several dozen candidates. Pieris Flaming Silver is a small, evergreen shrub, with bright red young foliage bright red, becoming green, boldly margined with silvery-white. At the same time it carries creamy-white bell-shaped flowers in branching clusters. Ideal in dappled shade and in acid soil, we grow it with dwarf Rhododendrons in the Oriental Bed at the Academy.

Week 16 - from a garden bursting with spring flowers, I have chosen to highlight Magnolia x soulangeana, a hybrid of Magnolia denudata and M. liliiflora first bred in France in 1820. There are many varieties in clours ranging from pure white through to deep red, but Magnolia × soulangeana is notable for its ease of cultivation, and its relative tolerance to wind and alkaline soils. A wonderful tree or large shrub for its spring flowers. Photo taken on a Garden Design Academy trip to Apremont.

Forsythia Mikador, is a new variety of this ever popular plant spotted at the recent Salon Vegetal in Angers, France. It has compact, healthy growth and is smothered in flowers in the spring. Forsythia breeding has been undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic for decades but very few seem to find their way into garden centres and nurseries. My list of the 86 varieties held at the National Collection in Angers can be found here:(

Nothing says "Spring" quite like the Crocus so these cheerful little flowers are our Plant of the Week 10. There are many different species of Crocus but these, liighting up a patch of dormant Iris germanica, are from a bag of mixed "Dutch Crocuses" available at supermarkets and garden centres. These are easy to grow bulbs which increase every year and are ideal for naturalising, althouth they are attractive to hungry squirrels, mice and voles.

Plant of the Week 9 is Edgeworthia chrysantha, the soft, clove-like fragrance of which is a welcome lift early in the year. This plant was photographed indoors at the Salon Vegetal in Angers, France, but it is a hardy shrub, ideal at a woodland edge with spring bulbs, with other winter flowering shrubs or in a mixed shrub and herbaceous border. It needs a moist but well-drained humus-rich, loamy soil and a sheltered spot to do well. It is hardy only to about -5C to -7C. You know you want one!

I was delighted to find this shrub as plant of the week, Week 7. Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' brightened up an area of the gardens Les Metamorphozes when I visited earlier this week, before the rhododendrons and camellias burst into flower. Its curled petals in shades of dark orange-red, filled the cold air with beautiful scent. 'Diane' is a broad-crowned, large deciduous shrub of open habit, with broadly oval leaves turning red and yellow in autumn.

Elaeagnus x ebbingei Limelight is 2013 plant of the week 6. The golden variegated leaves of this evergreen shine out in even the most dull winters day. A tough shrub, which like its silver-leaved forms can be grown as a hedging plant, it is tolerent of a wide range of difficult conditions, fixing its own nitrogen from the atmosphere. They produce insignificant but exquisitely scented flowers in the autumn and the fruits are edible.

Week 5 2013. Hard to believe Viburnum x bodnantense has not yet featured on these pages. A wonderful and easy to grow deciduous shrub which produces delightful scented pink flowers over the winter and into early spring. Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' has dark pink flowers that age to white, strongly flushed pink. 'Charles Lamont' is similar, but the flowers are a purer, brighter pink, while the flowers of Deben are white with a pink flush. Bred at Bodnant Gardens in North Wales.

Week 4 - Helleborus foetidus. This native of Europe is currently in flower under our Sequoia tree, making it useful in the garden on two counts. The flowers are a fresh green (some with red edges) and are held nicely above the fine, dark foliage. The leaves are ornamental in themselves - similar to Choisya Aztec. American gardeners use many more native plants than we do in Europe - here is one I consider highly underrated and well worth a try. My plants were collected locally.

  • Colin Elliott

    I would hasten to add that my plants were collected off a railway line, just before they resurfaced it. As responsible gardeners one would not normally dig up plants from the wild. This plant seeds itself very freely however, so collecting a free seeds is an acceptable way of adding this fine plant to your garden if you cannot find plants at the nursery.

Week 2 - 2013 - Happy New Year and welcome to Plant of the Week 2013. Our subject this week relies for its beauty not on flowers but on its attractive peeling bark. This tree, spotted in a Cornish garden, is Betula ermanii, a species from Russia, China and Japan. There are numerous others to choose from, Asiatic, North American and European species, many offering attractive bark and providing light shade in the garden. Plant as isolated specimens or small groups in grass or low planting.