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Recent Postings

Yoke's Salvia blog  The final chapter

I’ve now got lots of salvias, with most of them given to me by great salvia lovers and collectors themselves.. I will try and do my best to look after most of them just to see whether I can make them flourish once again as they used to at former Rodbaston College.

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Shade Monthly April 2019

Erythronium dens-canis is a typical spring ephemeral. The flowers don’t last long and even the attractive, marbled leaves are gone by the end of spring. In spite of this it is a lovely plant and a welcome addition to early spring ...

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On a Chalk Hillside July 2019

The new garden area needed to provide some interest all year, but be a follow on from the Rose garden nearer the house which peaked in June, so that sitting on the courtyard in high summer you had a beautiful view up the garden.

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My Wildlife Allotment July 2019

The recent rain and warmer temperatures have really boosted growth on the allotment. There are so many flowers opening everywhere, nearly on a daily basis, just being away for a few days and coming back brings new surprises around every corner. ...

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Latest News July 2019

A real red-letter day - my HPS July Newsletter delivered in a fully compostable wrapper! Thank you to Lynne Hackett, Newsletter editor, and the print management team at HMCA.

July Conservation Feature

HPS members have a wealth of experience of growing hardy perennial plants and are asked to propose plants they think are worthy of conservation, particularly some of the older cultivars that are hard to find in nurseries or garden centres. 

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Yoke's Salvia blog  Chapter 6

Robin gave it the name 'Penny's Smile' which  I suggested to him in honour of my dear friend Penny, who was a beautiful girl and left this world far too young. She really loved the salvias of which I planted several in her late gardens. And she particularly loved this colour; so a more apt tribute couldn’t be found! To my surprise it has survived many cold winters here in the Midlands.

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On the Menu for ... June 2019

The weather has been challenging in many ways, and all of these photos have been taken between heavy showers.Thank goodness for the whorls! The flowers not only provide valuable nectar for our pollinators, they also offer shelter by acting like mini-umbrellas for bees.

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Shade Monthly March 2019

The first six photos of hellebores are of Ashwood hybrids that we bought in 2008 and planted together in a small raised bed under a large cherry tree in our front garden. The other 12 are some of their children. The original plants seeded themselves freely ...

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On a Chalk Hillside June 2019

Most holidays to various Greek Islands in the 90s in particular were during September and October, and we always encountered Fig trees clinging to cliff tops or beside the roads smothered in ripe and juicy figs which were a delight to pick and eat sun-warmed from the tree.  We determined we were going to have one ourselves.

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My Wildlife Allotment June 2019

With the increasingly dry weather we seem to be getting here now it becomes apparent which plants cope well with dry soil and which plants are suffering. Most Rudbeckia species for example don`t seem to be well adapted to drought. The only Rudbeckia which actually looks alright on my allotment at the moment is Rudbeckia triloba. ...

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June Conservation Feature

Chrysanthemum 'Romantica' was suggested for inclusion by HPS Hampshire Group in 2018 whose members have grown it since 2012. The name spelt with a 'c' as here is the RHS accepted name although a plant listed by Plant Heritage is C. 'Romantika', with a 'k', and may well be the same plant. 

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Yoke's Salvia blog  Chapter 5

In the first chapter about  the salvias  I told the story how I became hooked to them and this time I would like to introduce you to all of ‘my’ Rodbaston ones, of which I am extremely proud! There are 6 'survivors' of the original 7 which is much better than I had hoped a few months ago.

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News from the RHS  May 2019

A couple of years ago, I was invited to join the HPC as a Corresponding Member.  This was readily accepted as a way of strengthening links between the HPS and the RHS.  I have now been appointed a full member of the Committee which gives me a vote on the awarding of AGMs.

Shade Monthly February 2019

Epimedium (a love affair!)

The attractions for me are many. There is a delicacy and daintiness to their flowers held pendulous on their incredibly thin stems, hence their common names of ‘Fairy Wings’ and ‘Bishop’s Hat’ (their other common name of ‘Barrenwort’ and ‘Horny Goat Weed’ alludes to their centuries long use in Chinese medicine ...

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On a Chalk Hillside May 2019

What does the term Mediterranean Courtyard evoke in your minds’ eye?  Is it something like one from Portmerion Village in Wales?
Or perhaps one or two ideas from within the Temperate Biome at the Eden Project?

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My Wildlife Allotment May 2019

The warm weather we had over Easter has brought out the flowers, but we need rain desperately now. The soil is like concrete in many places already and cracks are appearing. I only water newly planted perennials, shrubs and trees and also the vegetables, everything else has to fight for itself. Despite the dry conditions all the plants are still growing well ...

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May Conservation Feature

Phlox paniculata 'Lady Clare' is the fourth of the plants introduced to the Conservation Scheme last year. The Hampshire Group thought it worthy of inclusion because the large pale pink flowers with a deeper soft pink eye have a wonderful fragrance. 

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Yoke's Salvia blog Chapter 4

The most easy, versatile ones for use in sunny borders or pots are which I call the ‘Shrubby, small leaved Salvias’. These are hardy to at least – 10 degr. C.  and much more than this in my experience.

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Shade Monthly January 2019

I think I have mentioned before that I have been slowly trying to acquire a collection of hybrids and varieties of Arum italicum. This has not been aided by the fact that some mammals, probably squirrels, have taken to digging up newly planted forms and devouring the bulbs ...

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On the Menu for ...April 2019

Far be it from me to flaunt my fritillaries, but this year they have been surprising on two counts

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On a Chalk Hillside April 2019

Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are members of the sunflower family, and in this garden behave like any hardy perennial, dying back in the winter from their statuesque stems up to 3 meters tall with their tubers sprouting again in March/April.  They have lovely flowers like sunflowers too.  You can grow them as a wind break in the garden to protect more delicate plants.

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My Wildlife Allotment April 2019
Spring has arrived on the allotment. After coming back from a week's holiday to Gran Canaria in the second half of March I was surprised to find the allotment so much greener and with flowers opening everywhere. Many of the perennials are coming back to life now and often the first thing I do when v..
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Pulmonarias Booklet Launched

Pulmonarias have a long history in European gardens and are easily recognised in spring by their spotted leaves and pink and blue flowers on the same plant. There are pulmonarias in most gardens, and now is when they are at their best - the perfect foil for sp..

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On the Menu for ...March 2019

I am very fond of early flowering shrubs, not simply for their form and colour, but for all they have to offer to wildlife. Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Falconnet Charlet’ and Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Nivalis’ have been flowering and attracting pollinators for weeks - in the case of ‘Falconnet Charlet’ since 2018!

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On a Chalk Hillside March 2019

 Like most gardeners I almost never sit in my garden relaxing - we rest on various benches during our labours for a cup of tea or coffee for a short time, seeing all that needs doing.   Consequently I wanted something to look at all through the year as well as scent and colour.

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My Wildlife Allotment March 2019

The earliest crocuses to come out are normally yellow Crocus crysanthus and pale purple C. tommasinianus, followed by later-flowering dark purple Crocus vernus. Crocuses are very useful food plants for early pollinators such as bumblebee queens, solitary bees and hoverflies ...

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Yoke's Salvia blog Chapter 3

Here in Britain we had Pat Vlasto, Beth Chatto, Beryl Davies (from former Probus Demonstration Garden in Cornwall) and later Christine Yeo to thank for the wonderful pioneering work the'd done with salvias. We now have two lovely salvias to at least honour Pat in Salvia x jamensis 'Pat Vlasto' and Salvia 'Christine Yeo', which is, what I always believed,  a tough cross of S. microphylla and S. chamaedryoides.

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Shade Monthly December 2018: Heucheroids

Bergenia emeiensis is a relatively recent introduction from Sichuan where it grows in shady places. The narrow, obovate leaves are relatively small (to about 12 cm). In the form we grow it has charming, light pink flowers in the spring ...

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March Conservation Feature

Penstemon 'Margery Fish' AGM is a hardy, semi-evergreen perennial with narrow, slightly glossy leaves and slender dense panicles of purple-tinged pale blue flowers up to 3cm in length.

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