Monthly Archives: June 2016

Clematis viticella

i think Clematis viticella  must be the most useful and versatile climber there can be.  At present I have only two trees as such in the garden, the fairly mature Betula jacquemontii (or more properly B. utilis var. jacquemontii) and the disappointing Acer palmatum ‘Red Flamingo’.  As it happens I don’t want to grow clematis up either of them, but for the three trees I plan on planting this Autumn, I want to grow  C . viticella up each one of them.  imageI already have one growing on Ceonothus concha which flowers beautifully but spends the rest of the year looking rather dull, and this is C.v. ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’, which is about to flower any day now.

The three trees are Malus sargentii, Prunus avium ‘Sunburst’ and Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’.

C.v. 'Emilia Plater'

C.v. ‘Emilia Plater’

My favourite is C.v. ‘Emilia Plater’ which is a delicate grey blue, which I think should pair up well with the crab apple.




C.v. 'Victor Hugo'

C.v. ‘Victor Hugo’

C.v. ‘Victor Hugo’ is a strong deep violet, and should look stunning scrambling over the silver pear tree,




and C.v. ‘Caerulea Luxurians’ with its palest blue/white flowers should suit the cherry very well.



As an afterthought, I might well see if I can persuade Tropaeolum speciosum to grow into the Ceonothus: that would brighten it up after it’s over, and no mistake, though it is galling to think that I would have to pay £5 for a plant here, when I could have got 100 plants from my previous garden at no expense at all.

Rosa complicata

One way to help make sure I am not overwhelmed by roses, is to exclude all hybrid tea roses, which I don’t like much because they don’t seem to like going with anything, and which involve too much care.  I would rather have climbers and shrub roses, preferably ones I can smell.

imageI have dug out a number of very old gnarled hybrid teas from what seems to have been a rose bed once, leaving the lovely R. ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ which I was able to identify because I had one in Scotland.  It is now recovering from several years of neglect, and seems very healthy and well set up for next season.

I planted one more shrub rose earlier this year, which is now more or less over, R. ‘Complicata’.   It has gallica in its parentage, but has large single flowers and quite a lax habit, so that I can treat it as a shrub rose, and also as a climbing one at the same time.  imageAlthough it just has a six-week flowering period, it does produce big hips later on. There seems to be quite a lot of variation in the colour,  with the centres of the flowers which tend to be a paler pink, and with the intensity of the pink colour overall.

But as roses go it seems very versatile, and should combine well with almost anything.

Geranium to identify

imageThis geranium is recovering from being thoroughly battered by a huge thunderstorm and deluge.  I’m about to cut it back so that it can flower some more in the autumn.

imageMeanwhile, I wonder if anyone can have a go at identifying it.  I know it is not G. x oxonianum, though its flower looks similar.  Perhaps it could be G. endressii, which is a parent of G. x oxonianum but has no brown blotches on its leaves.


Geranium with blue flowers


This is the only geranium in the garden with a blue flower, and I’ve found it difficult to identify, as there are so many varieties. I’ve ruled out the ones that I know best, that is, ‘Buxton’s Variety’, ‘Johnson’s Blue’ and ‘Rozanne’

I think it must be Geranium ‘Skinners’. It is not a very prolific flowerer, but perhaps that’s because it has grown up without help of any kind.

imageShoemakers Garden has plenty of pink-flowered Geraniums, which should be identifiable when I can get around to doing that.  One of them I know well as G. macrorrhizum ‘Album’, but the others are harderto nail down.

imageI am going to try and sort out which the other geraniums are; in the autumn there will be a great many ready for division and disposal, but too many people are in the same boat, so i may have to end up throwing the divisions away, which I hate doing.


Tanacetum vulgare var. crispum (Fernleaf Tansy)

I posted this photograph a couple of weeks ago, when we were puzzled as to what it was. It’s growing in a bed at Gorsemoor, on Dartmoor, having been acquired unnamed from the excellent little nursery at Illand near Launceston (no website, no catalogue, just an eclectic collection of plants).


We thought it must be either Tansy or Feverfew, and by now the answer has been found. It is a tansy in fact, but not the usual wild plant. It is Tanacetum vulgare var. crispum.

It has several English names, one of which is Parsley Fern, which is thoroughly misleading for Parsley Fern is actually that tiny Cryptogramma crispa, which is a true fern. Fern leaf Tansy or Curled Tansy seem the most reasonable. Crispum just means ‘curled’

I’ve always thought of tansy as a herb, though never found out what for, let alone experimented with it. Just as well perhaps, because its Latin name translates as Death Plant! Gerard described it as “pleasant in taste” though, and effective against gout. It is disliked by most insects, but favoured by bees and butterflies. Moreover it is so aromatic, that deer don’t eat it, which makes it a highly desirable plant in a Dartmoor garden.

Sweet Peas in Devon

imageMy sweet peas seem to have weathered this afternoon’s thunderstorm and deluge, but this rather dismal photograph shows that they are not even close to producing a flower.

By contrast, these gorgeous sweet peas have found their way onto Facebook, in Devon, and I am envious.


Jane Schofield:  They grew on the landing windowsill to about 18″ tall and were pinched out twice. If I don’t put out big plants, the slugs have them the first night…… I also always buy the cheapest seeds now as they are always better for some reason. This is one pack of ordinary and one pack of old fashioned, each 69p per pack!!

This is a lesson for me too:  I’ve come to the conclusion that it is no good sowing anything in the open ground, ever, because everything will be eaten, and I need to curb my habit of planting out too early for the same reason.

An interesting gardening blog

While searching for information the other day about the two related geraniums, G. palmatum and G. maderense, I stumbled upon a blog called The Frustrated Gardener.   It gave me all the information I was looking for and is obviously the work of a really experienced plantsman (the ‘frustrated’ soubriquet refers to the fact that the blogger is merely poor in time, not in knowledge!).

It’s a very interesting blog, which I am now following, quite different  and more entertaining than mine I think, based in Kent.


First new blog post

Because my  Wordpress blog collapsed under a welter of “compatibility issues”, I have had to start it all over again from scratch.  What I shall be doing is adding new posts from today onwards, and backfilling the blog with the previous posts up until the present, which is rather time-consuming.  Hopefully the backlog will catch up in due course.



R. ‘Goldfinch’ and R. ‘Veilchenblau’

imageThis is the stunning combination (R. ‘Goldfinch’ and R. ‘Veilchenblau’) that I now intend to grow up and over my new arch. A nice question arises though, because I like the arch so much that I am going to have another, exactly the same, for where my back gate is, which is about 7 metres away. Would it be too much to have exactly the same combination at both arches, or would the second arch be better using something completely different, maybe not even roses?

A round top arch

imageI decided to make a division between the garden and it’s working area, and put up this arch, which I’m pleased with. It’s substantial and solid, and because I got it with tesco vouchers, cost me nothing. It’s made by Rowlinson. It’s going to have a clematis, a honeysuckle and a rose (Albertine) growing up it, but a hop for now.