Green Flowers: Sanicula epipactis

Sanicula epipactis - a woodland plant with yellow flowers and a collar of green bracts

The word ‘verdant’ seems designed for this herbaceous perennial woodlander. Not quite all green, it has yellow flowers that emerge in winter and persist for some time amongst a mound of leaves. Beth Chatto’s website calls Sanicula epipactis ‘an endearing little plant’; I’ll add that the flowers form a cheerful congregation.

They are tiny, clustered ankle high in button-sized domes, surrounded by a collar of lime green bracts. Later, leaves push up between them, gradually unfurling as their stems lengthen. Continue reading “Green Flowers: Sanicula epipactis”

The Giant Houseplant Takeover: A Review With Pictures

Bath and shower in a tall room hung with plants
An outdoor bathroom, but indoors

The current Giant Houseplant Takeover exhibition at RHS Garden Wisley is kooky and wry: an elaborate conceit. A Victorian house has been abandoned to the houseplants which, in the absence of humans, have made themselves at home.

Four-poster bed with colourful flowering bromeliads
Bromeliads fill the bed, trunk and leafy plants tumble down the walls

An abundance of greenery may convey a derelict feel as visitors enter, but it soon becomes clear that everything is carefully arranged and tended. We’re visiting the best-behaved invasive houseplants in the history of mankind. My own ‘triffid’ is much less mannerly. Continue reading “The Giant Houseplant Takeover: A Review With Pictures”

Green Flowers: Hellebores

Helleborus argutifolius has pale green flowers
Helleborus argutifolius

Green flowers are not always as subtle as they might appear – some of them are very striking. Today I’m sharing pictures of some of my favourite green hellebores.

Helleborus argutifolius produces one sturdy stem thickly clustered with flowers and buds a few shades lighter than the darker green leaves, and with golden stamens. The flowers persist for weeks or even months as with all hellebores, eventually forming equally striking seed heads, pollinators permitting. Like Helleborus foetidus (below) this is widely grown in the UK and can be found in many winter gardens.

Helleborus foetidus with dark foliage
Helleborus foetidus

This particular Helleborus foetidus has dark, purple tinged foliage and pretty purple lines around the edges of the petals (or sepals). At a guess, it is part of the Wester Flisk group. H. foetidus is an architectural plant, not because of its height, but because of the stems of elegant, tiered buds that hang like bells above deep, palmate foliage. Continue reading “Green Flowers: Hellebores”

Sheffield PlantSwap: Putting People And Plants Together

Garden Plants - Suggested donation £3

My sweetheart has a thing about plant swaps. There are few things more likely to get him all misty eyed, other than a sweet puppy (his term for any dog of any age not in full-on attack mode) or a cowboy film where the guy gets the gal.

The first time I went to a plant swap, I was randomly allocated the plant I had taken. That swap had been a lengthy affair and while there were plenty of great plants on offer, the likelihood of anyone getting the one they secretly hoped for seemed slim.

The Sheffield PlantSwap last Sunday was quite a different beast. Best friends Fay Kenworthy and Sarah Rousseau established it to help local people grow more plants without breaking the bank. They explained they didn’t know that much about plants when they started off and would have been intimidated by a garden club, but could see there was a need to get plants and people together. Continue reading “Sheffield PlantSwap: Putting People And Plants Together”

2020 is The Year Of The Hydrangea – Hurray!

Hillside of hydrangeas at Holehird Gardens
Part of the National Collection of Hydrangeas at Holehird Gardens

When I posted yesterday’s picture, I hadn’t realised how on-trend I was. In celebration of this being the Year of the Hydrangea, I want to show the difference between mophead and lacecap hydrangeas.

While mopheads and lacecaps are much the same in growth, habit and overall impression, their flowers have different forms. For most of us, this is a matter of style rather than of botany, as we’re not likely to try to grow hydrangeas from seed.   Continue reading “2020 is The Year Of The Hydrangea – Hurray!”