HOW TO GROW PHORMIUM TENAX

How to grow Phormium tenax

Commonly known as the New Zealand Fax (or just 'Flax' in New Zealand), Phormium tenax is an evergreen perennial plant native to both New Zealand and Norfolk Island. Is an important commercial fibre plant originally used in Māori traditional textiles, then later for rope and sail making after the arrival of Europeans. It was introduced to English gardeners in 1789.

How to grow Phormium tenax
It is a striking species with a number of popular ornamental cultivars. As a garden plant ot provides bold foliage effect, forming shallow rooted clumps of rigid, leathery, somewhat glaucous sword-like leaves. Each leaf and reach an approximately height of between 1-3 metres in length. The blooms are bronzy-red in colour and are produced in panicles (flowering shoot) up to 4.5 metres high over the summer. Each flower can be between 3-6 cm long, with the six dull-red in a tube-like arrangement.

Surprisingly robust, Phormium tenax may be grown is all types of fertile soil and in all aspects although it will perform best in a sunny, sheltered position on a light, but moist soil. April or May is usually considered to optimum time to plant, but as it considered to be half-hardy it is only suitable for planting outside in the milder regions of the west and south-west of England. Further north it will need the covering of a dry mulch or horticultural fleece for winter protection.

Due to its native coastal habitat, Phormium tenax is tolerant of both sea winds and industrial pollution. Remove the dead flower stems in August or September.

Phormium tenax received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1984. The cultivars 'Purpureum', 'Sundowner', 'Variegatum' and 'Yellow Wave' have also all received the Award of Garden Merit'.


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HOW TO GROW PHORMIUM TENAX

HOW TO GROW RHODODENDRONS IN ALKALINE SOIL


Rhododendrons are arguably one of the most ornamental of all flowering shrubs, however they have a reputation for being a little difficult due to their soil requirements. The genus Rhododendron contains 1,024 species of woody plants, all of which display a requirement for growing in acidic soils with a pH of roughly 4.5-5.5. This is a strong characteristic of many members within Ericaceae family.


How to grow Rhododendrons in alkaline soils
When Rhododendrons are planted into unmanaged alkaline soils the roots of the acid-loving specimens become unable to absorb certain minerals, most notably iron and magnesium. Unable to take up these minerals results in a condition known as chlorosis. This is expressed in Rhododendrons as a uniformly yellowing of the leaves but with the leaf veins remaining green.

So if you have a passion for Rhododendrons, and are determined to grow ten in alkaline soils, what can you do to make this a success?

You have two options available, either create an isolated bed to plant your Rhododendrons into or adjust the soil conditions of the existing beds.

Isolated or raised beds

How to grow Rhododendrons in alkaline soils
Isolated or raised beds are relatively simple to create and easily fix the problem of planting into alkaline soils. Position the bed on top of a few inches of lime free gravel, then line the base of the bed with heavy duty plastic making sure that it has plenty of drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Fill the bed with a soil-based ericaceous compost, alternatively create a 50:50 mix of finely-graded moss peat (a naturally acidic substrate) and sterilized top soil with John Innes base added to provide a suitable range of nutrients. Check the pH of the soil and if necessary soil can be made more acidic by the addition of sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or iron sulfate. Off the shelf products such as Murphy's Sequestrene (chelated iron) can help with this.

Adjusting soil conditions

Digging in plenty of finely-graded moss peat will help to improve the existing soil but by itself can only be considered a temporary measure. Dig in small but regular amounts of sulfur, aluminum sulfate, or iron sulfate to acidify the soil further, checking the pH levels a couple of weeks after each application.

Moving forward....

To maintain optimum conditions, add sulphur regularly, only water with rainwater and feed every few weeks over the growing season with Murphys sequestrene

Using science!

Rhododendron Inkarho - http://www.heinje.de/
There is a general rule that states that it is always easier, and usually better, to have plants that fit the environment rather than to make the environment fit the plants. However there has been a significant development in the cultivation of Rhododendrons with the development of the Inkarho rootstock.

The Inkarho rootstock story began when a self-seeded rhododendron was spotted growing in a quarry well-known for its limey soil and bedrock. This was then bred with Rhododendron 'Cunningham’s White’ producing approximately 20,000 seedlings. These were grown to maturity and tested for lime tolerance. Eventually the best performing specimen was selected and given the Inkarho name.

The Inkarho specimen was not a particularly ornamental plant, however it has served to be suitable rootstock for existing cultivars. Grafting compatible Rhododendron cultivars onto the Inkaro rootstock enables the plants to thrive in alkaline soils with a pH of up to 7.5 There is also evidence to suggest that they will also improve the cold tolerance of these grafted plants to as low as - 20 degrees Celsius).
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HOW TO GROW RHODODENDRONS IN ALKALINE SOIL

HOW TO GROW EUCRYPHIA X NYMANSENSIS 'Nymansay'

How to grow Eucryphia x Nymansensis 'Nymansay'



Eucryphia x Nymansensis 'Nymansay' is a spectacular small to medium sized evergreen tree noted for its abundance of fragrant blooms. The original hybrid is a cross between Eucryphia cordifolia and Eucryphia glutinosa. The selected cultivar 'Nymansay' was raised in 1914 at the Nymans estate, Sussex, England by James Comber, Head Gardener to Colonel L.C.R Messel (best known in horticultural circles for the Magnolia × loebneri 'Leonard Messel' - also developed at Nymans).

How to grow Eucryphia x Nymansensis 'Nymansay'
It is a vigorous, broadly columnar evergreen tree which under favourable conditions can reach an expected height of at least 12 metres and spread of between 2.5-4 metres. The glossy, dark green, leathery leaves are both simple and trifoliate.

The white four-petaled cup-shaped blooms are approximately 6 cm across and appear wreathing the branches from August to September. The stamens are both pronounced and numerous with yellow anthers

To achieve the best flowering, plant Eucryphia x Nymansensis 'Nymansay' in a sheltered position in full sun, although it will tolerate semi-shade.

Grow in a moist but well-drained acidic-to-neutral soil with the roots well shaded from direct sun. That being said it has proven to be tolerant of alkaline soils.

Eucryphia x Nymansensis 'Nymansay' is cold hardy throughout most of England. While it can withstand temperatures down to -10°C it may suffer foliage damage and stem dieback in harsh winters

Eucryphia x Nymansensis 'Nymansay' has received the following awards from the Royal Horticultural Society:

Award of Merit - 1924
First Class certificate - 1926
Award of Garden Merit - 1984

Main image credit - http://www.greenleafnurseries.co.nz/
Eucryphia cordifolia illustration - Matilda Smith public domain


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HOW TO GROW EUCRYPHIA X NYMANSENSIS 'Nymansay'

HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS GUNNII

How to grow Eucalyptus gunnii



Commonly known as the 'Cider Gum', Eucalyptus gunnii is arguably the best known, most widely cultivated and hardiest of all species within the genus Eucalyptus. At least it is in the United Kingdom where was first entered cultivation in 1853. Like the Canadian maple it produces a sweet sap, which when fermented resembles apple cider, hence the common name 'Cider gum'.

How to grow Eucalyptus gunnii
Native to both the plains and slopes of Tasmania's central plateau, it is a medium to large sized, evergreen tree which under favourable conditions can easily reach up to at least 12 metres in height with an approximate width of over 8 metres.

The juvenile foliage is rounded and coloured a striking silver-blue. As the plant matures the leaves change to a sage-green, sickle-shape. Although Eucalyptus gunnii makes for a handsome specimen tree, for suburban gardens is is best maintained as an annually stooled shrub to make the most of its outstanding, ornamental juvenile foliage. The smooth bark is pale-green or cream in colour, turning grey to grey-brown with age. Like most other eucalyptus, the bark on mature species will peel in attractive ribbons. White blooms appear in clusters of three in July and August.

Young specimens of Eucalyptus gunnii will require a sheltered position in full sun. It will perform best on loamy, slightly acidic soils, but has proven to be tolerant of both sandy and chalky soils. In poor soils dig in plenty of rich organic compost. Be aware that it does not tolerate very wet sites or waterlogged sites. During periods of drought additional watering will be required to prevent damage from environmental stress.

Eucalyptus gunnii received the Award of Merit in 1953 from the Royal Horticultural Society and then Award of Garden Merit in 1984.


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HOW TO GROW ABUTILON MEGAPOTAMICUM 'Variegatum'

How to grow Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum'

Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' is arguably one of the most attractive of all species and cultivars within the genus. Commonly known as the 'Weeping Chinese Lantern', or 'Flowering Maple', the true species is a native to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and makes for a popular ornamental plant in subtropical gardens.

How to grow Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum'
Depending on winter temperatures it is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub which under favourable conditions can achieve an approximately height and spread of 1.5-2.5 metres. It has an untidy sprawling habit and so is often grown as a wall shrub in order to better display its its eye-catching mottled,variegation and ornamental blooms.

The tapering, dark-green leaves are narrowly ovate with irregular sized and become covered with irregular shaped golden blotches as they mature. Be aware that the variegation is less pronounced when grown in shade. The chinese lantern-like blooms are orange-yellow with a red base. Each flower has with five petals and is approximately 4 centimetres long.

Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' will perform best in full sun and planted in a moist, well-drained soil with a pH between neutral and slightly acidic. Feed with a liquid soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks during the growing season.

Despite its suntropical origins, Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' has proven hardy enough to overwinter outside in the milder regions of southern England and Ireland. However it will benefit from a sheltered position and some winter protection such as a covering of horticultural fleece or bracken. In colder, more northerly climates it will be best grown as an indoor or conservatory plant or kept outside only as summer bedding.

Abutilon megapotanicum 'Variegatum' received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1988.


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HOW TO GROW EXOCHORDA x MACRANTHA 'The Bride'

How to grow Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'



Commonly known as the 'Pearl Bush', Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride' is a medium-sized, deciduous shrub noted for its exceptional blooms. However. outside of its flowering period it is (in my opinion at least) a rather dull, and uninteresting specimen. The 'macrantha' form is the result of a man-made hybrid produced by Austrian botanist Camillo Karl Schneider (1876 – 1951) in 1908. Schneider successfully crossed Exochorda korolkowii (native to Turkestan) and Exochorda racemosa (formerly E.albertii and native to China). The selected cultivar 'The Bride' entered cultivation in 1938.

How to grow Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride'
It is a small to medium sized shrug with a dense, weeping habit. Under favorable conditions you can expect Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride' to achieve a mounded form with a height and width of between 1.5-2.5 metres. It produces long arching branches bearing oblong, pale green leaves. Everything changes in lated spring when abundant racemes of large white blooms emerge along the new seasons wood. When in bud the blooms appear like large pearls, hence the common name. Each flower is approximately 2-3cm in width. As Schneider himself stated of his creation...

"As an isolated specimen the effect is magnificent."

It is a robust specimen tolerant of most aspects and ordinary garden soils. It will perform best in full sun in a slightly acidic, reliably moist but well-drained soil. You will need to provide some shelter against late spring frosts, as these can scorch the emerging foliage.

Prune the flowering stems to half their length after flowering has ended as this will increase the number of flowers produced in the following year. Remove any older, damaged shoots as required

Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride' has received a number of awards from the Royal Horticultural Society. The Award of Merit in 1973, the Award of Garden Merit in 1984, and the First Class Certificate in 1985.

Main image credit - Nadia Talent, Public Domain

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HOW TO GROW FRANGIPANI TREE FROM SEED

How to grow the Frangipani tree from seed





The Frangipani tree - Plumeria species and cultivars, are a genus of mostly deciduous shrubs or small trees from Central and South America including the Caribbean Islands. Plumeria species are easily propagated from cuttings but they have a milky latex containing poisonous compounds that irritate the eyes and skin. This often makes the favourite method of propagation for many seed germination.

Frangipani seeds - http://www.plumeria.care/
Frangipani seeds are of a winged design and are best sown fresh from the pod, Before sowing place the seeds between moistened tissue papers and seal inside a resealable pot or bag. Leave for 24 hours in a suitable warm environment to allow the seeds to swell.

In the meantime fill 9 cm pots with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Potting'. When the seeds are ready, push the swollen end of seed approximately 5 mm into the compost allowing part of this wing exposed.

Gently water in and then place inside a heated propagator at a temperature of between 20-24 degrees Celsius. Alternatively place inside a resealable clear pot or polythene bag and move to a warm bright position such as a windowsill, but one which not receive direct sunlight during the warmest part of the day.

Frangipani seedlings
Keep the compost moist at all times but not waterlogged and you can expect germination to occur from approximately 7-40 days depending on the seeds freshness.

Once they have emerged they can be removed from their propagator, pot etc.but kept in a warm, bright position, the embryonic seed leaves (dicotyledons) will emerge with the remains of the seed coat (with wing) still attached. This usually drops off by its own accord however as the leaves grow bigger and the seed coat (testa) is still in place spray it with a fine mist and gently remove.

When the first set of true leaves have emerges and the plant is approximately 10 cm tall it will be ready for potting on into a well-drained compost. Disturb the rootball as little as possible during this process. and moving forward, water regularly but do not allow the compost to become waterlogged. They can either be cultivated as pot grown specimens under protection, but if temperatures do not drop below 10 degrees they can be hardened off over a period of ten days to two weeks before growing outside in their permanent position.

How to grow the Frangipani tree from seed
Note. If the compost is kept too wet then fungal infections can take hold eventually killing off the seedlings. Always treat with a suitable fungicide the moment an infection is realised.


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HOW TO GROW FRANGIPANI TREE FROM SEED

HOW TO GROW CLEMATIS TANGUTICA

How to grow Clematis tangutica



Commonly known as the 'Orange Peel Clematis' and for good reason too, Clematis tangutica is a gorgeous ornamental flowering climbing plant native to Mongolia and travelling west to northwest China. It was first introduced to English scientists when it arrived at Royal Kew gardens, London from St Petersburg in 1898. However it wasn't until 1919 that it first entered general cultivation.

How to grow Clematis tangutica
Clematis tangutica is a dense-growing, deciduous climbing plant noted for its rich-yellow, lantern-like blooms. It is an easy to grow species which under favourable conditions can achieve an approximate height of 4-8 metres and a width of 2.5-4 metres. This species has a somewhat straggly habit with grey-green foliage. The leaves are downy when young, and each leaflet is raggedly toothed, and either two or three-lobed. The thick-petaled blooms are produced on downy stalks appearing, nodding at first, in the early summer and autumn. The later flowers will appear at the same time as the first silky seedheads form.

Plant Clematis tangutica with the crown 5-8 cm deep (to help encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level) into a moisture-retentive, well-drained, alkaline to neutral soil. Like many other clematis the roots and base of the plant will need to be kept cool and shaded. This can be achieved by planting other plants closeby or apply a layer of pebbles at the base. It will perform best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

To help reduce the characteristically tangled habit of Clematis tangutica, cut back the stems each year to a pair of strong buds 15-20 cm above ground level. This can be done over the winter or before the new growth appears begins in the early spring at the latest.

Clematis tangutica received the award of Garden merit in 1984 from the Royal Horticultural Society.

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FROM WHAT PLANT DID THE LOTUS EATERS EAT THE FRUIT AND FLOWERS?

From what plant did the Lotus-eaters eat the fruit and flowers?

In Greek mythology the lotus-eaters were a race of people living on an island dominated by lotus plants. The exact location of the island is in dispute. Polybius (c. 200 – c. 118 BC), a Greek historian. identifies the island of Meninx (modern day Djerba) as the land of the Lotus eaters. However Greek historian and a contemporary of Socrates, Herodotus (c. 484–c. 425 BC), believes that the lotus-eaters resided in coastal Libya, and were in fact were still there during his lifetime!

From what plant did the Lotus-eaters eat the fruit and flowers?
The lotus plant fruits and flowers were said to be the primary food of the island, both of which were/are a narcotic causing those who took it to sleep in peaceful apathy. According to Homer's epic poem 'The Odyssey':

'....the lotus was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their return...'

From what plant did the Lotus-eaters eat the fruit and flowers?
There are several botanical candidates for the lotus plant, the most commonly accepted is the Jujube tree - Ziziphus lotus. While it may have an appropriate species name, and have many uses in traditional medicines, the fruits and flowers of the Jujube tree are not narcotic. Neither are the other contenders, the date-plum - Diospyros lotus, the nettle tree - Celtis australis, or the water lily - Nymphaea lotus.

However there is one species of water lily - Nymphaea caerulea, a native to the Nile delta, which was both known to the ancient Greeks and has some of the all-important soporific and psychotropic properties. Commonly known as the blue water lily, it contains the psychoactive alkaloid 'apomorphine' which although produces mildly sedating effects, does not match the more extreme side effects as witnessed in Homer's Odyssey. Neither are the harsh, dry landscapes of modern day Djerba and coastal Libya suitable for a natural expanse of freshwater aquatic plants.

So what was the plant from which the lotus eaters ate? Well, until more suitable candidate is put forward this is still open for debate.

But for what it is worth, and this is just my opinion, surely the best and most obvious choice is the opium poppy - Papaver somniferum. Let's take a look at the facts:

From what plant did the Lotus-eaters eat the fruit and flowers?
1. Opium has been actively collected since prehistoric times, and the Mediterranean region holds the earliest archeological evidence of human use. In fact the oldest known seeds date back to more than 5000 BC.

2. The seeds are edible and the young leaves are edible, although as they mature will develop increased levels of morphine. Of course the main source of the narcotic is derived from scoring the immature fruits to harvest the latex extract. The latex is then dried for processing, but weaker preparations can also be made from other parts of the opium poppy. Again, according to Homer:

'...on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower...'

Beginning to sound familiar? Does the description of '...a food that comes from a kind of flower...' fit the ingested dehydrated latex? Yes, of course it does.

From what plant did the Lotus-eaters eat the fruit and flowers?
3. The short term side effects of opium include feelings of euphoria, being relaxed, as well as sleepiness, or drowsiness. All classic lotus plant effects. Even the species name for the opium poppy is derived from the word 'somnifera' - Latin for 'hypnotic'. Furthermore, there is plenty of documented evidence regarding its use in ancient Greek, and further back during the Minoan civilisation on the island of Crete - 3650 to 1400 BC.

4. Although introduced and extensively cultivated throughout Europe since ancient times including southern England, its native range is believe to be the eastern Mediterranean. Where did Herodotus contemporary lotus-eaters reside? Coastal Libya, the eastern Mediterranean. And unlike the blue water lily, the opium poppy is perfectly evolved to thrive in the hot, dry habitats of both libya and the island of Meninx. A relatively easy environment for the opium poppy to dominate.

There you have it. What was the plant from which the lotus eaters ate? In my opinion the metaphorical finger seems to point directly at the opium poppy. So, if the boot fits.........!
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FROM WHAT PLANT DID THE LOTUS EATERS EAT THE FRUIT AND FLOWERS?

HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS PAUCIFLORA subsp. NIPHOPHILA

How to grow Eucalyptus niphophila - http://plantlust.com/plants/

Commonly known as the 'Alpine Snow Gum', Eucalyptus niphophila is a small evergreen tree noted for its attractive foliage and ornamental bark.

How to grow Eucalyptus niphophila
It is one of the most cold hardy of all species within the genus Eucalyptus, found in the highest elevations of the Australian Alps on the New South Wales border.

Under favourable conditions, Eucalyptus niphophila can be expected to reach an approximately height of between 4-8 metres, and a width between 2.5-4 metres. It is noticeably slow growing for the first few years, but then increases its rate to approximately 1 metre in height per year thereafter.

It has an upright, spreading habit with large, leathery grey-green leaves. The growing points and young leaves are an orange to light-mahogany colour. When young the bark is blue-white in colour, but as it matures the truck becomes a patchwork of grey, green and cream. Clusters of white flowers appear in June.

Plant in full sun in a sheltered position. Eucalyptus niphophila is surprisingly tolerant of all garden soil types, but will perform best in a well-drained soils. Avoid soils prone to waterlogging, but it will need additional watering during periods of drought.

Eucalyptus niphophila received the Award of Merit in 1977 from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Award of Garden Merit in 1984.
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HOW TO GROW SPIRAEA JAPONICA 'GOLDFLAME'

How to grow Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame' - image credit http://www.gardeningimpulse.ie/
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Formerly known as Spiraea x bumalda ‘Goldflame’, Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame' is a popular ornamental flowering and foliage plant of compact form with a mounded or spreading habit. The true species is a native to Japan, Southwest China, and Korea, and first named and described by Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus the Younger (1741 – 1783). He is known botanically as Linnaeus filius (L.f.) to distinguish him from his famous father, the systematist Carl Linnaeus.

How to grow Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame'
Spiraea japonica was introduced to western science in 1870, and entered cultivation in both Europe and North America the same year.

Under favourable condition you can expect Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame' to reach a height of between 80-100 cm. The new foliage in the spring emerges with a burnished bronze-red flush, but turn a bright yellow, moving to a luminous green as they mature through the year. Clusters of dark pink flowers are formed in flattened corymbs 10-15 cm across, appearing from mid to late summer.

Plant Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame' in a sunny position to achieve the best foliage colouration, although it will tolerate light shade. It will perform well in a wide range of soils, but is best planted in moist, well-drained conditions.

Pruning isn't really necessary but over time it can produce an irregular habit. If needed, prune in late winter to early spring.

Spiraea japonica 'Goldflame' received the Award of Garden Merit in 1984 from the Royal Horticultural Society, London.
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HOW TO GROW RHODODENDRON IMPEDITUM

How to grow Rhododendron impeditum - University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden





Introduced to western science in 1911 by Scottish botanist and well-known plant explorer George Forrest (1873 – 1932), Rhododendron impeditum is an attractive dwarf, flowering shrub often planted in rock gardens. It is a native to the Yunnan province in southwest China and was named and described for western science in by Scottish botanists Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour (1853 - 1922) and Sir William Wright Smith (1875 – 1956). The species name is from the latin word 'impediō' meaning supine (prostrate, stretched out).

Rhododendron impeditum - Stan Shebs
Commonly known as the dwarf purple rhododendron, you can expect Rhododendron impeditum to reach a height of up to 60 cm when grown under favourable conditions, It has small, aromatic leaves and widely funnel-shaped bluish-purple flowers which appear from April to May. The blooms will need to be protect from damaging late frosts.

Rhododendron impeditum will be happy in a sheltered position in full sun to semi-shade. The soil should be acidic humus rich, reliably moist but well-drained moist. Avoid planting too deeply, and if necessary dig plenty of ericaceous compost into the soil before planting.

Apply a generous mulch of leaf mould around the base of the plant each spring maintain soil moisture and stable soil temperatures over the summer.

Rhododendron impeditum received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1944 and the Award of Garden Merit in 1984.

Stan Shebs image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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RHODODENDRON SINOGRANDE

HOW TO GROW THE RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS - Eucalyptus deglupta

How to grow the Rainbow eucalyptus - Eucalyptus deglupta - Paxson Woelber CC BY-SA 4.0

The Rainbow eucalyptus - Eucalyptus deglupta is a fast-growing, broadleaved, evergreen tree native to a number of islands in the tropical South-West Pacific Ocean, including the largest - New Guinea. Surprisingly for a genus with more than 700 known species, it is the only Eucalyptus species with a natural range that extends into the northern hemisphere! It was brought to the attention of western science, named and described by German-Dutch botanist Karl Ludwig von Blume (1796-1862) in 1850.

How to grow the Rainbow eucalyptus - Eucalyptus deglupta
Its natural habitat are forests which experience high rain falls, yet despite this it has proven capable of surviving quite happily in subtropical climates so long as soils remain consistently moist and where there is no risk from frosts.

Under favourable cultivation you can expect the Rainbow eucalyptus tree to grows up to 30 to 35 meters with a width of 15-18 metres, although heights of up to 70 metres have been recorded in its native range. It has a distinctly branching habit with a truck diameter usually of no more than 1.5-2 metres.

It is noted for having a colourful, peeling bark, however not only does it have the most striking and ornamental bark of all species within the genus Eucalyptus, it produces arguably the most ornamental bark within the entire plant kingdom! Be aware that when grown away from its native range the bark colour will not be as pronounced.

How to grow the Rainbow eucalyptus - Eucalyptus deglupta
The smooth trunk barks starts off orange-tinted, then over the summer peels away in ribbons. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones.The peeling process results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue, and gray, nense the common name of

Unfortunately it is not possible to grow the Rainbow eucalyptus in northern European gardens due to the cold winters unless grown under protection, however it is suitable for cooler subtropical and even frost-free Mediterranean climates. It will perform best in a rich, medium to wet soils in full sun. During periods of low rainfall you will need to provide regular watering.

Due to its large size the Rainbow eucalyptus is better suited to open areas, rather than suburban gardens as its raised roots can break up pavements and damage foundations.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS GUNNII
HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS PAUCIFLORA subsp. NIPHOPHILA
HOW TO GROW THE RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS- Eucalyptus deglupta
HOW TO GROW THE TASMANIAN SNOW GUM - Eucalyptus coccifera

HOW TO GROW CROCOSMIA FROM SEED

How to grow Crocosmia from seed

Commonly and incorrectly known as Montbretia, Crocosmia species and cultivars are predominantly native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa. They are a genus containing a number of ornamental flowering plants which despite their exotic origins have proven to perform well in northern European climates.

Crocosmia seed pods - http://gardentherapy.ca/
The seeds are rarely seen for sale due to a combination of some low viability and a preference by retailers to sell the bulbs, however you can collect your own seeds in the autumn. Be aware that seeds collected from garden specimens may not grow true to the parents.

They should be collected ripe when the pods were dry and cracking and sown as soon as they are harvested. Remove the seeds from the seed pods and wash off any debri using tepid water.

Sow the seeds onto the surface of the compost in 9 cm pots or a modular seed tray filled with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Press the seeds into the compost but do not bury them, then cover with a thin layer of horticultural grit. Gently water in so as not to disturb the seeds, and place the tray in a heated propagator at a temperature of 18-20 deg Celsius. Alternatively seal the pots or tray inside a clear polythene bag and position on a warm, bright windowsill away from direct, midday sunlight. Keep the compost damp but not waterlogged and you can expect the seedlings to emerge within 2-4 weeks. Once germinated they can be removed from the propagator or polythene bag. Any ungerminated pots or left over modules can be placed outside in a coldframe to germinate in their own time - if at all.

They will be ready for potting on once the roots have become established, and once the threat of late frosts have passed they can be hardened off for planting outside into their final position.

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HOW TO GROW CROCOSMIA FROM SEED


HOW TO GROW ASPARAGUS PEAS FROM SEED


The Asparagus pea - Lotus tetragonolobus, also known as the 'Winged pea' is an edible herbaceous perennial from the Fabaceae (bean) family. Native to the warm temperate regions of the Old World it is becoming an increasingly popular summer crop in the milder regions of Ireland and England.

How to grow asparagus peas from seed
It is a nutrient rich species, and all parts of the plant are edible. Typical to many members of this genus, the Asparagus pea grows as a low bush. Under favourable conditions you can expect it to grow to approximately 50 cm in height.

Despite its tropical origins the Asparagus pea is an easy to grow, vegetable with a unique gourmet flavour, although asparagus flavour is a bit of a stretch.

To make the most of the comparatively short English growing season, sow Asparagus peas under protection either indoors or a heated greenhouse in the early spring. Soak the seeds in tepid water for a few hours before sowing the seeds individually in 7.5cm pots. Use a good quality seed compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting'. Gently water in, then place the pots inside a heated propagator at a temperature of 19-21 degrees Celsius. Close the vents to maintain humidity. You can expect germination to occur in approximately 7-14 days. Alternatively place the pots inside a sealed clear polythene bag and position on a warm windowsill, bu one which does not receive direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.

How to grow asparagus peas from seed
Once all risk of late frosts have passed, and the roots have established in their pots, they can be hardened off to outside conditions over a period of 10 days to 2 weeks.

Asparagus peas prefer a light, well-drained soil in a sunny position. Rake the soil to fine tilth before planting. Plant outside into their final position 30 cm apart. On heavy soil plant the seedlings into a ridge to improve drainage.

Harvest the pea pods regularly, while they are still young and tender. Don't allow them to get more than 3cm long as this will affect the flavour.

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HOW TO GROW ASPARAGUS PEAS FROM SEED

HOW TO GROW THE TASMANIAN SNOW GUM - Eucalyptus coccifera

How to grow the Tasmanian Snow Gum - Eucalyptus coccifera

The Tasmanian Snow Gum - Eucalyptus coccifera, is a large, handsome, evergreen tree native to the subalpine regions of southern Tasmania. Also commonly known as the 'Mount Wellington Peppermint' it was introduced to western science in 1840, and named and described by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817 – 1911). Known for being Charles Darwin's closest friend, Hooker was considered to be one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century.

How to grow the Tasmanian Snow Gum - Eucalyptus coccifera
Eucalyptus coccifera is a tall branching shrub or small tree, which under favorable conditions can be expected to grow up to 15 metres in height and with a width of up to 8 metres. It is noted for its ornamental leaves and stems, however this ornamentation is not apparent on juvenile plants. The petiolate and lanceolate leaves are usually a glaucous-green, with a crimson hook at its tip. The mottled light grey to white bark is smooth to the touch with with ribbons of tan bark running through it. Creamy white flowers appear in summer.

In its natural habitat, the Tasmanian Snow Gum experiences a temperature range of between -2°C to 13 °C, so it is more than capable of surviving in the milder regions of the Ireland and England so long as it not subjected to extreme frosts. Provide full sun, but be aware that young specimens will require a sheltered position.

For best results plant in a slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soil, although the Tasmanian Snow Gum has proven to tolerate clay, heavy soils.

The Tasmanian Snow Gum received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1953

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS FROM SEED
HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS GUNNII
HOW TO GROW EUCALYPTUS PAUCIFLORA subsp. NIPHOPHILA
HOW TO GROW THE RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS - Eucalyptus deglupta
HOW TO GROW THE TASMANIAN SNOW GUM - Eucalyptus coccifera