Thursday, 26 August 2010


It is not surprising that most visitors to the Picton Garden come to see the Michaelmas Daisies around the end of September. But, those who come earlier in the season are not disappointed when they enjoy a garden which has evolved over many years to grow a large collection of interesting plants.

Ralph has worked wonders with some major structural alterations which include two new beds for asters in the nursery yard. One of these is being used to display a selection of Aster novi-belgii cultivars grown from single shoots. Near the entrance to the garden, two fairly large conifers have been removed. Our large pot grown plant of Hydrangea 'Merveille Sanguine' is giving a warm welcome.

Among the asters enjoying the good drainage at this top end of the garden, Aster umbellatus makes a bold statement in August and September. The plants look just as good when the silvery seed heads take over for the rest of the autumn. No need for staking and no danger of mildew round off the desirable qualities of an aster well suited to prairie style planting.

Echinaceas are still very much "in" plants. On the whole they do not enjoy most of the planting sites we have to offer. However, one or two seem happy enough in a small prairie bed where the drainage is good and we remember to prevent other plants from swamping them.

Our main area of prairie style planting makes extensive use of many cultivars of Aster novae-angliae. In most years some of these can be very tall, up to 200 cm in a few examples. The majority are around 120 cm in height. the next two pictures show this part of the garden before the asters come into their own.

The picture above shows the prairie willow, Salix exigua, Solidago and " Joe Pie Weed",  Eupatorium purpureum. On the left mixed planting looks back to the latter group.

The woodland glade is always a restful place and the japanese maples look attractive from the moment they come into leaf.   Ferns add to the interest and the ever spreading clump of the Shuttlecock Fern dominates the summer scene.

Woodland gradually gives way to the Centenary Garden where purple and gold foliage plays an important role.

Koelreuteria paniculata refuses to flower for us; but, makes up for
the deficiency with some early autumn colour.

The picture below shows Helenium 'Goldrausch'

The next area of garden contrasts white against very dark colours and contains Acer palmatum 'Fior d'Arancio' with Aster schreberi. This aster grows well in shaded sites and is a more robust plant than the more familiar Aster divaricatus.  Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' fills the circle.

The Silver Garden brings a patch of illumination even on dull days.

Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn)
additionally colourful with orange fruits.

Rhododendron pachysanthum is a small growing species, bearing silver young growth late into the summer.

Eucryphia x intermedia 'Rostrevor' is an easy to grow, late flowering variety of these superb small trees.

These have been just a few of the interesting plants
to be seen in the garden during August and the early days of September.

There is nothing very unusual about most varieties of Hydrangea. But, it does seem surprising that so many have flowered so well after  the severity of last winter.

No comments: