The Secret Life of Figs

 Ficus carica 'Brown Turkey'

I’m rather passionate about figs and their history. I cannot just pull a fig part, their opulence seems to demand far more respect and to be sliced in half or quarters with a fruit knife, just like opening a beautifully wrapped gift to reveal the surprise inside. They are also wonderful when delicately baked until they gently ooze a sticky syrup, to be eaten on a cold day as a warm treat with cheese.

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Late Colour

 

 

 

“Why should our gardens peter out on a whimpering note at the end of the season? I want mine to go on full throttle till unkind weather definitively intervenes”

The late, great, Christopher Lloyd, Plantsman at Great Dixter and Horticultural Author/Writer

 

Autumn doesn’t mean that the garden is finished until next spring, some plants are still flowering their socks off well into November, so borders don’t have to be a bare patch of earth. It is not necessarily a time of winding down but can be a time when some plants and shrubs thrive, giving a riot of colour

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Cordylines

Buckingham Garden Centre and Nurseries publicity manager Chris Day reported to the Horticultural Week magazine last week that he thought “there was a movement to shrubs and more structural plants this year because of more house-building and confidence among shoppers to make bigger purchases”.

Cordyline australis 'Torbay Dazzler'

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The Choice Heuchera Selection

Heucheras are great all round plants as they are evergreen, come in an array of unusual leaf patterns and colours, and they look particularly stunning in the spring as the colder weather increases their vivid colours. We pride ourselves in providing a choice selection of Heuchera, and in our search for the best varieties, we have discovered some interesting facts about this versatile plant.

Heuchera-Selection

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Scaevola

Scaevola ‘White Wonder’

Scaevola-aemula-Saphira
Scaevola aemula ‘Saphira’ (P) basket habit

Scaevola (meaning left handed)  is also known as the ‘fan flower’, they seem to appear almost like their flowers have been halved.

They literally ‘fan out’ like miniature fans, on trailing foliage that acts as beautiful basket filler.

Scaevola acts as a good foil for other summer flowering varieties and foliage.

The Scaevola has built up an interesting array of legends surrounding its origins.

In Hawaii, their common name is Naupaka, named after a beautiful Hawaiian princess, fell in love with a commoner who she was not allowed to marry.

In her distress, she tore a flower in half, as she was separated from him, he was banished to the beach, and her to the mountains.

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Dark Leaved Foliage

Sultry Foliage – the dark horse of the garden.

Ophiopogon-planiscapus-Nigrescens
Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

Dark foliage has increased in popularity as a design element over the past 10 years.

It all started with varieties like very dark leaved Heucheras, and popularity has continued to increase. Most recently the most publicised dark leaved varieties to re-enter the market were the new Kennedy Irish Primroses that have been re-cultivated from old Irish Primrose varieties.

Dark foliage works so well in the garden as a design element, especially up close in direct sun, where the light intensifies the dark leaves, or planted in mass in the border to create a whole area of interest.

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Dierama – Angel’s Fishing Rods.

Dierama

A low maintenance hardy shrub that will make a big impact in the border.

Bell shaped flowers, arching stems that bounce and sway in the breeze, deep purples and pretty pinks, if you have a large area in a border to fill with a low maintenance hardy perennial shrub, Dierama is our first choice.

Dierama-pulcherrimum
Dierama pulcherrimum

These bobbing flower heads dangle over pathways and low growing plants, and are perfect for a sunny spot in the border.

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Graceful Ornamental Grasses

Let’s get down to some Caricology…

Carex is such an interesting Genus, that the actual study of it has its own name, ‘Caricology’ – the study of Sedges. Varieties of Sedge grass can be found originating from all across the world, from wetlands, ditches and marshes, to alpine and arctic situations.

Carex-testacea
Carex testacea

The versatility of grasses allows them to be placed in nearly any situation, from being in a container, basket, or raised bed, to being in the border or rockery. They are hardy and should survive winter well, especially if protected from the harshest of frosts. Mostly Sedges prefer the sun, but they can tolerate light shade too and work well in an evergreen border.

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