Posts Tagged ‘best’

Selecting Suitable Plants

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Ficus benghatensis proved to be the most rampant grower of all, developing into a considerable tree with many strong branches at all levels in less than three years. Fortunately it does not take unkindly to annual, almost savage pruning. If you have the space and a really dominant plant is required, then this could well be the one.

It is pointless to have adequate heating for 364 days of the year if on the 365th it should prove to he insufficient – one really cold night can put paid to an entire collection of plants. Advice on fitting out the interior can only he general as everyone’s taste will differ and arranging plants and interior decor is very much a personal matter. Whether plants are made permanent features by planting them in beds of compost on the floor, or portable by growing them in pots on raised staging, are also matters for individual taste.

Both these methods have their merits. Planted directly into beds of prepared compost, or with plant pots plunged to their rims in moist peat, plants will usually grow very: much more vigorously. However, left in their pots and placed on staging at waist level one can have the pleasure of rearranging plants, or using them for decoration in other parts of the house whenever required.

Houseplants Seed

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Cuttings inserted into such a peat bed (4 to 6 in. in depth) will quickly show their appreciation and produce roots in the minimum length of time. The nurseryman is further aided in his efforts by a little light shade on the greenhouse and mist spray lines suspended over the cutting beds. The spray lines are all important, as they can he regulated to come into operation at set times, frequency depending on the prevailing weather conditions. When very hot it would he essential that the mist unit is activated at frequent intervals during the course of the day.

Shallow containers, seed boxes or seed pans should be used for sowing, and John limes No. compost will he ideal for the purpose. Sow in moist compost and keep in a lightly shaded place to begin with ; covering the container with a sheet of glass when the seeds are sown will encourage germination. When the seedlings are large enough to handle they should he transferred to J.I.P.2 compost, or similar, and at this time can either he spaced out in the seed boxes again for a spell or put individually into small pots.

Rhododendron Growing Tips

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

A cause of infinite regret is that no member of this beautiful genus will tolerate the slightest trace of lime, no matter how disguised with peat. There are no better evergreen shrubs than the Tree Roses whose members range in height from the 30-ft. splendour of Rhododendron sinogrande to the prostrate posturing of R. repens. The evergreen species can be used as a background contrast to later flowering shrubs.

Deciduous azaleas are available by the hundred. Ignes Nova, carmine red blotched yellow, is good in autumn when the leaves turn purple. Unique is late flowering and rather tall with apricot blooms. Comte de Gomer is compact and dainty with pink blossoms. Hugo Hardyzer is 4 ft. high and a very impressive scarlet. R. luteum has all the qualities of a good shrub with sweetly scented magnificent autumn colour.

The Alpine Rose, R. .ferrugineum, makes a rounded bush with the young foliage copper tinted. In the best forms the flowers are a startling brick red. The grey-leaved R. hippophaeoides grows pleasantly out in the open in company with heathers. It grows to around 3 ft. high and its lilac flowers brighten the April days.

Garden Rooms

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

In the garden room a wide assortment of house plants can also be grown in pots suspended in wall brackets. In the living-room wall brackets are only suitable for the hardier types of plant, but the moister conditions in the garden room will allow for the use of many more delicate plants. Columneas are excellent for both hanging baskets and wall brackets, and the delightful Campanula isophylla, the star of Bethlehem, is an essential plant where cooler conditions prevail.

For continuity of colour throughout late spring, summer and early autumn there surely cannot be any plant that compares with the fuchsia. Indoors the indifferent amount of light inevitably results in premature loss of flowers and buds, but it is quite the most prolific flowering plant in the greenhouse or garden room.

Attractive, unfussy plant containers can make all the difference to the elegant appearance of the room. It is preferable to have a few expensive containers filled with well-chosen plants rather than a motley collection of cheaper plant’ containers of all shapes and sizes.

Hardening of Houseplant Foliage

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

General hardening of the foliage colour is also an indication that the plant requires additional fertiliser or potting on. It is, however, very unwise to pot on plants that are unhealthy and producing little or no new growth.

Leaves turning yellow and falling off are an indication, not of need for potting, but that the plant is suffering as a result of root damage. Consequently, any attempt to pot on such a plant will only further aggravate its unhealthy condition by unnecessary root disturbance.

On the other hand, with. many sick plants it will often be found that the compost is at fault and rather than pot the plant into a larger container, it is better to tease away as much of the faulty compost as possible and to repot in the same or smaller container using fresh compost.

There is at least one of these leaf-cleaning products Which is perfectly satisfactory when the temperature is reasonably high, but disastrous when the temperature drops. So it is well to be warned rather than sorry ; it is sensible to test any new product on part of the plant only, allowing ten to fourteen days to elapse before deciding that no harm has been done. It is also of special importance to leaves such as the saintpaulia and platycerium do not have their leaves cleaned by rubbing; a soft brush lightly used is the best way of removing dust.

Landscaping Indoor Plants

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

When drawing up contracts for office landscaping schemes of this kind the office chief should come to a clear understanding concerning plants that are likely to fail, so that they can be replaced without difficulty. No matter how wonderful the environment, maintenance and general conditions may be, it is almost inevitable that some plants will succumb.

No longer is it necessary to have a multitude of small offices segregated from one have become the fashion with filing cabinets, screens and foliage plants used to form divisions between departments, or individual areas.

Visiting the centre many years later it was particularly pleasing to see that my tongue-in- cheek suggestions for planting had been carried out and that the plants were doing particularly well this in spite of a continual flow of shoppers.

Beds were raised about 5 ft. from the floor with bench seating for shoppers at the base of each container. Being at higher level seemed to protect the plants from the inquisitive fingers of passers-by, which is a considerable advantage in itself.


Friday, March 6th, 2009

Weigelas grow best in a well-prepared soil with sufficient organic matter to provide a moist, yet well-drained root run. They are decorative when in flower, and the rather untidy character of the bush can be improved by pruning the old wood during the late winter.

The species of real quality, Weigela florida, like so many other worthy plants, comes from China. The flowers are rose pink outside and like pale apple blossom within and they resemble a well-proportioned digitalis. I do not approve of the variety variegata, as I feel it reduces the dignity of the species, but I am very much in the minority in this respect. At 4 ft. it is 18 in. shorter than the type with pale pink flowers and leaves margined cream.

Public Authority Greenhouses

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

What the visitor to public authority greenhouses fails to understand is that houses open to the public are really display greenhouses. In order to support the display there are usually many greenhouses behind the scenes in which plants are grown in individual environments from where they are chosen to fill spaces in the display greenhouse as and when required. The display greenhouse will have many permanent plants, but the majority will be fly-by-nights that may be in position for only a few days before being replaced.

On cooler days it is an advantage if the door is on the more sheltered side of the room. Opening the door on the northerly, or exposed, side can create havoc in cold and windy weather.

Here again, when stocking a new plant room it would he wise to seek the advice of the plant supplier who will be able to recommend the subjects likely to do best in the prevailing conditions. If the supplier is wise he will not take advantage of the purchaser’s ignorance; it will be to his advantage if plants succeed – any that fail he may well have to replace.


Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Potentillas are absolutely indispensable shrubs. Amongst their virtues is the ability to grow practically anywhere in any soil except dense shade or a weeping bog. I cherish the dozen or so specimens and varieties which grow here, and enjoy the flowers which open in succession from May until September. They look a little untidy after leaf fall, but this can be forgiven in a shrub so thoroughly worthwhile.

Katherine Dykes, tall at 5 ft., opens primrose-yellow flowers throughout the summer. Klondyke, a dwarf at 18 in., has sparkling golden-yellow flowers. My own favourite, Longacre, makes a neat bush 18 in. high, and has cascades of good quality yellow blossoms. Primrose Beauty has more shape than most, with grey leaves and cream flowers. Tangerine has flowers of a delicate copper orange when grown on a lime soil in light shade and is well worth a corner.

I restrict pruning to a general thinning of overcrowded branches in March. Cuttings semi-hardwood in July are child’s play to root, and I also gather up a rich harvest of self-sown seedlings.


Friday, February 27th, 2009

The variety I grow as aurea-variegata has, like so many favourites, suffered a name change and must now be known as maculata.

Fortunately, despite this, the grey-green leaves splashed with gold still add a touch of warm bright colour to the borders. The form known as variegata has foliage with a broad margin of yellow which gives the shrub an air of Victorian formality.

The Chilean Fire Bush, Embothrium coccineum, was a lunatic piece of extravagance which succeeded beyond my expectations. The first bush planted 17 years ago on what was then an exposed hillside is now a small tree 15 ft. high. The label reads Embothrium coccineum Norquinco Valley. Each year in June the profusion of scarlet flowers against the perfectly contrasting deep green of the leaves make me eternally grateful that, ignoring all the advice offered, we insisted on trying the impossible.

Both coccineum, which is identical in most respects, except hardiness, with its variety above, and lanceolatum are well worth a place even in the most select garden. The latter, unlike Norquinco Valley, does have its young growth cut by late – frost but grows away strongly in spite of this. A well-drained soil amongst heathers will suit the species and varieties admirably. Propagation is by cuttings of firm young shoots from June to August.