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Posted by Nick Maule on Saturday 4th April 2020

Here are two photos of camellia Apollo a year apart. As you will no doubt notice this year we have aerial flowering with little lower down. The lower branches are badly affected by sooty black mold caused in turn by heavy infestation of scale insect. I have pruned off any badly affected branches and when it does finish flowering I will cut it right down bellow cill height. I have yet to find any cure for scale have you.

Apollo came originally as a cutting from Dickand Kay Grubbs garden on the circular road in Belfast, they were heavily involved with the gardening scene in NI in the 70s and 80s. Their lovely garden was on very sandy soil quite close to Belfast lough and they grew loads of camellias. l used to take cuttings from their plants once a year and was quite successful as I had a heated mist bench in my greenhouse but the important thing was the water supply was very soft we never used salt in our dishwasher for example. I still have the same gear sort of but am much less successful as l can't afford to heat the bench and our water is so hard so anything that takes a while to root gets covered in lime scale and fails.

Kathleen and I hope you are all well and your gardens are immaculate because you have little else to do !! Stay safe best regards to you all Nick Maule

Posted by Peter Lyle on Monday 6th April 2020

Euryops pectinatus, Narcissus WP Milner and Orchard.

Posted by Margaret Tyler - Thursday 9th April 2020

Posted by Janet Stevens - Thursday 9th April 2020

Finally got round to planting Camassia "Sacajawea" - the one with striped leaves and white flowers. Bought at our last meeting from the jolly lady from Harespring Cottage Plants. My blue camassia is seeding down the garden into a shady area so this is where they want to be and where the new ones have been planted - already flower buds appearing. My fruit trees: Damson, Marjorie seedling plum and Bramley are all in flower or nearly so. My ancient Lord Suffield apple is now more mistletoe than apple but I expect it will produce its usual crop. The camellia (not my favourite plant but given to me by a friend) is flowering well. On the allotment which is very dry at present, I've got garlic, charlotte potatoes and shallots. If those in power stop us going there I'm taking up part of the lawn at home to grow my runners etc. 

Posted by John Simmons - Thursday 9th April 2020

1) Betula utilis jacquemontii. Most of the plants in cultivation are clones but this slow growing plant was raised from seed collected in the high  Korakoram range  (NE Pakistan) in 2000 by Maurice Foster. Beneath is Narcissus ’Thalia’ my favourite triandrus daffodil.

2) Ipheions. Brenda Reid introduced me to ipheions some years ago so, knowing my soil was too wet, I decided to grow them in pans & ever since have a fine display of them on the south side of our house from January on with ‘Alberto Castillo’ coming later in March whilst the pink ‘Charlotte Bishop’ is just going over. Over recent years these onion flavoured bulbs have attracted wood mice but raising the pans by sitting them on higher pots has solved this problem.

3) Orchard daffodils. A 14 year old seedling from Magnolia campbellii ‘Lamellan Pink’ is flowering at the back of the photo with a corylopsis behind that.The early magnolias were finished by hard frosts (we are in a frost hollow) but many more are now coming into flower, and daffodils such as ‘Ice Follies’ are fading fast but in their place the jonquils and poeticus are now starting.

4) Magnolia. A closer view of the Magnolia c. ‘Lamellan Pink' seedling taken last year. It flowered from 11 years old so this and its colour suggest it has subsp. mollicomata genes.

5)Rhododendron irroratum from western China. In my earlier days this had to be grown in a cool conservatory.

Whilst more closely observing my plants (and germinating weeds) than usual I was very excited on Sunday to see a Duke of Burgundy butterfly settled in my bog garden. It is the size of a blue but coloured like a fritillary butterfly. It lays eggs on for the caterpillars feed on the leaves of primroses, cowslips and their hybrid (false oxlip), of which I have a great many, and like Snow White’s porridge they are picky and do not like to open a grassland or too closed over a site. From the web it says still extinct in East Anglia in 2007, but from that time habitat restoration has increased numbers on its few remaining sites in the south of England & Yorkshire. 

Posted by Janet Sleep - Thursday 9th April 2020

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Posted by Lesley Cunneen - Friday 10th of April 2020

Well before Christmas I noticed a hellebore seedling, possibly Hellebore lividus?, had insinuated itself into a crack in the garden path. As is the way with such unbidden plants, it thrived. Over the winter it bloomed and just after I cut back the leaves I discovered a purple-black honesty, Lunaria annua Chedglow’ had joined it its cool root run. As I write it is now flowering. A felicitous combination.

The Rosa Banksia lutea is also bursting into bloom. It is always the first of the roses to flower and is currently home to a very welcome small colony of sparrows.

Posted by Janet Stevens - Monday 13th of April 2020

Posted by Linda Hall - Monday 13th of April 2020

The pictures are left to right: Brunnera macrophylla 'Silver Heart', Hosta 'Empress Wu', Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel', Magnolia 'Susan', Primula 'Hall Barn Blue', Primula Harlow Carr Hybrid, Viburnum juddii and Phyllostachys aurea 'Koi'.

Posted by Anne Gilbert - Tuesday 14th of April 2020

This is my birch tree B. utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’- it was first seen at West Acre gardens at this time of year, when the catkins just glistened in the sunshine. It has been a jewel, and this year, having had all that lovely rain it has surpassed itself. Prunus tenella is from a cutting given to me by a work colleague, which has spread, but every so often I have to take a spade to it to control it. Just wish i could get some cuttings from it, so if you have any ideas, please let me know.

Posted by Janet Sleep - Sunday 19th of April 2020

From left to right: Prunus avium 'Flore Pleno', Skimmia 'Kew Green and Acer 'Orange Dream', Nandina Firepower and x Libertia ixioides, Carex 'Everest' and Erythronium 'Californian Star', Lunaria 'Chedglow' and Prunus amanogawa, 5 obelisks and an apple arch, Seedling Peony and Phlox subbulata 'Marjorie and Bergenia 'Pink Dragonfly'.

Posted by John Wilson - Sunday 19th of April 2020

What is it? If you know the answer send an email here

Posted by Kathy Gray - Sunday 19th of April 2020

Since I sent the first lot of photos the frogs have mainly left the pond, although a few remain and the frog spawn has all hatched out. Hopefully some of the tadpoles will make it to adulthood! Photos this time of a few garden plants and three of wild flowers taken on our daily exercise. From left to right Epimedium 'Spine Tingler' - a good form with an AGM, then two Erythroniums, namely 'Pink Beauty' and 'Pagoda'. I love this honesty - Lunaria annua 'Chedglow' and the variegated one Lunaria annua alba variegata.  The Pleione is P.'Tongario' which is reasonably hardy, although I still give it some protection. And then the  paeony. I grew this from seed and believed it would be the yellow form of P. Molly the Witch. However, as you can see it turned out to have pink hues. Apparently, this is not unusual but, having waited some years for flowers, I was disappointed! The last three photos are of - Bugle (we think), Greater Stitchwort and Bluebells - they are English.  Happy gardening.