Lunaria (Honesty)

A clump of white Honesty with lavender buds
I believe this is Lunaria rediviva – perennial honesty.

I’m not 100% sure if this is perennial honesty or the transitory kind, but I’d guess the former. Giveaways would include the seed heads which are pointed ovals rather than the classic coin shape, and the lower leaves which are heart shaped. Continue reading “Lunaria (Honesty)”

Variations on a Theme: Forget-me-not, Heartleaf or Green Alkanet?

Why is it that we like to identify plants? To check whether it is safe or to eat or not, perhaps, or as a first step in working out how to buy one. To check if it is generally regarded by tastemakers as a weed or as a fit plant for a garden. But there’s also a great satisfaction in being able to name a plant just because we can. We feel closer to things we can name.

In April and early May, walking through fields and woods and peeking into gardens, we’ll often see plants with tiny, blue flowers that lift our spirits. They can be solitary, but more often, they are spreading.

Their pure blue flowers are classic forget-me-not style, the simplest of flower shapes with a starry look. Tiny, open flowers about as big as our smallest fingernail contain five rounded petals around a yellow, orange or white centre. But is it a forget-me-not? Perhaps it is, perhaps not.

Myosotis (forget-me-not) with a few pink flowers
Myosotis (true forget-me-not) with a few pink flowers

Continue reading “Variations on a Theme: Forget-me-not, Heartleaf or Green Alkanet?”

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

RHS Garden Wisley’s¬†houseplant exhibition 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”