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Friday, 23 September 2016

Fancy Foliage

I don't know if it is just me, but recently I have gained a very strange obsession with foliage. I never thought my preferences would detract from beautifully abundant bloom heads, but it looks as though it has! Remarkable!

My new found love for plants with coloured and variegated foliage has been eye opening, and has inspired me to purchase some of these wonderful shrubs and plants for my brand new garden. I have recently moved house and my first thought was "What on earth shall I do in the garden?". The garden does not have a lawn at present but there is plenty of scope to experiment and think about new ideas to work around this factor. It also means I can buy an endless amount of pots for my endless amount of foliage based plants!

I'll share some of my favourites with you:


Heucherella Sweet Tea

Heuchera:

If you have read some previous blogs you would already know that I bang on about these all the time. Yes, I do love these a lot a lot a lot.

I love the shape of the leaves - the perfectly sculpted outline and the patterned face of elaborate dark veins and changeable shades of colour.






Hosta:

I have been exposed to Hosta on a regular basis at a number of shows I have been to just recently.

They are highly impressive perennials with large shiny leaves and beautiful yet subtle variegation. When seen in context, they are a magnificent plant and a must have when looking to create a foliage based bed or border.




Berberis thunbergii Coronita


Berberis:

This particular variety of Berberis is quite incredible, fashioning an exquisite shade of intense purple and a perfect bright lime-green outline, pronouncing the vibrancy of these plants.

If you need to add some variety to your flower beds and borders, this is the plant for you and would look fantastic with both low and tall growing companion plants.





Cornus alba sibirica Variegated


Cornus:

I love the subtlety of Cornus' foliage and the gentle way in which it sways in the wind with elegance and class.

When planted amongst companion trees and shrubs, these will make a pleasing addition to your gardens by enhancing both architecture and interest.

Yet again, this is another variegated shrub that oozes charm, changing colour during the autumn, with the inclusion of cream flower heads and bluish white berries.

Slender red stems turn bright crimson during the winter, providing exotic warmth when the weather is cold and the ground is frosty.







Begonia Garden Angel Plum

Begonia: 

This stunning Begonia Garden Angel Plum displays the most incredible clumps of shimmering metallic foliage.

Sensational rich plum overtones and intricate black veins showcase a divine display within flower beds and borders.

Red blooms poke their little heads above these large leaves sparking further interest during August and September.

 I really love how unique these plants are, and it is a certainty that they will be making an appearance in my little garden in the near future.







Have you been impressed by this fancy selection of foliage? Do you have a bed or border dedicated to foliage based plants and shrubs? Alternatively are you not a fan of our foliage friends?
If you have something that is rather unusual in your garden, please feel free to send me your photographs!
becky@hayloftplants.co.uk



Friday, 16 September 2016

The Great British Love Affair

There is something I would like to say first and foremost:

What on earth is going on this season with our weather?!!??

I am no scientist - far from it. In fact, it was a minor miracle that I was able to pass the subject whilst at school, but I fear this week is a prime example of global warming. It must be, surely?

Even in my relatively short 25 years on this earth, I remember a time when summer meant summer and winter meant winter. It does indeed appear as though our traditional seasons have diminished somewhat, and it is now even more difficult to gauge whether its a boots or sandals kind of day.

Last Saturday I attended a Food Festival where it was too cold and wet for sandals and dresses, so I opted for boots for the first time since April! My poor toes felt very restricted and I had to re-introduce myself to socks.
Whilst writing this I am back to a dress and sandals! The recent 'heatwave' has left me very confused.

Anyway, the purpose of this weeks blog is to celebrate the Great British Love Affair with our wonderful yet, unpredictable weather and to pick out some marvellous plants for the conditions that are thrown upon us!

Moisture Loving:


We can never be certain that the dry season is in fact the dry season, as rain is pretty much a certainty whatever time of year. Even a period of drought will incur storms and significant amounts of rainfall.

Here are some moisture loving plants that will thrive off wet conditions:


Cornus alba sibirica Variegated:


Cornus alba sibirica Variegated 
I know that variegated forms are a little like Marmite for some, but unique and striking foliage plants and shrubs are definitely on trend this year. Variegated varieties create extra interest, whilst looking magnificent against companion plants.

Cornus alba are incredibly tolerant to moist soils, so long as your soil type is free draining and not waterlogged. This shrub is best positioned in full sun but will equally tolerate full shade.

Fashioning a wonderful green and white display during the summer, the foliage will soon change in the autumn to match wonderful autumnal tones, changing colour to red with cream flower heads and blue berries.

Hydrangea macrophylla:

Hydrangea Macrophylla Deep Purple
























Hydrangea Macrophylla varieties will tolerate moist soil types and wet conditions. This particular variety is stunning with resplendent dark purple blooms that open to form clusters of dome shaped flower heads, impressing us all throughout summer. Rain is the most beneficial form of watering for this plant as anything else can change the colour of these beautiful blooms.

Weigela:

Weigela Florida Pink Poppet
Weigela are tolerant to most soil conditions and will thrive when it has been wet and miserable. They are best positioned in full sun but will equally tolerate part shade. This variety is particularly pretty with a profusion of pale pink blooms and gorgeous lush green foliage, gracing our gardens throughout spring and summer.

Actaea:

Actaea simplex Black Negligee
Actaea are highly unusual plants and create huge interest within your garden. Dark foliage and stems are in contrast to the bright white star shaped flower heads. This variety is incredible fragrant, and in the right garden will look magnificent with lower growing shrubs and perennials.
These blooms specifically need moist soil in order to thrive and will also flourish if in full or part shade, keeping the root systems cool. Flowering from summer through to the end of Autumn, these striking and unique blooms will spark great conversation and interest.

Iris:

Iris Hubbard 
Iris are incredibly exotic looking flowers and are the beauty queens within our gardens. They are also the key inspiration to many botanical artists and their creative masterpieces. These luxurious and ruffled blooms are keen moisture lovers, preferring wetter positions, whilst basking in the full sunlight, flowering throughout the summer months. If in free draining or drier soils, dig in well rotten organic matter before planting and apply a mulch during the spring time.


Drought Resistant:


Whether we like it or not, we have to come to terms with the fact that climate change is effecting the world we live in every year, and we as gardeners need to consider how this will affect the plants that we grow. Many drought resistant plants have come from similar Mediterranean habits and therefore will work alongside each other to thrive and survive:

Ceanothus:

Ceanothus Marie Rose
Ceanothus are low maintenance hardy evergreen plants which showcase a flurry of spectacular and compact bloom heads flowering throughout spring into early summer. Ceanothus will struggle to survive in wet soil types and will need well-drained soil in full sun or part shade in order to thrive. This full and well branched bushy shrub will make the ideal addition to any flower bed or border.

Sedum: 

Sedum Thunderhead
Enormous rich and vibrant flower heads look enchanting against the uniquely coloured stout grey green foliage. Sedum will thrive in well-drained soil, so you may need to amend certain soil types with sand to create a drainage system if your soil is particularly moist. Place in a position of full sun or part shade and you will see these blooms flourish throughout August and September. Seed heads can be left over the winter period to create further interest.

Perovskia Blue Spire:

Perovskia Blue Spire
This stunning plant has an incredible resilience to anything that natures throws at it. Perovskia is incredibly drought tolerant and requires little water throughout the growing season. A profusion of delicate lavender blue flowers appear throughout the summer months, leaving steely white stems to provide wonderful winter colour and interest. Remember to give this plant a sniff, as it has the most magnificent aroma of sage.


Eryngium:


Eryngium Big Blue
Eryngium have exceptionally large flower heads consisting of prickly textured flowers sat upon strong stems which contrast perfectly against silvery foliage. These plants are incredibly drought tolerant and will thrive in poor dry and well-drained soil, if positioned in full sun. These blooms will appear from June to August and are a unique addition to flower beds and borders,

Verbena: 

Verbena bonariensis Lollipop
Verbena are fabulous compact flowers with rich colours and delicate petals the cluster together upon stately looking stems and stunning foliage.Verbena dislike winter wet and will require protection as excessive moisture can cause significant detriment to this plant. Position in full sun where you should see this bloom flourish from June to September.

***

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks blog and have been able to make a list of extra additions to your flower beds for this year and next. The love affair we have with our weather will remain an ongoing one for years to come I am sure. I think the UK will always be famous for it. Long may it continue!

becky@hayloftplants.co.uk