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Life as a nurseryman & landscaper is always busy…

Bold winter variegation in the garden - Arum italicum 'Marmoratum'

Arum italicum subsp italicum 'Marmoratum' in leaf

Out in a garden late this afternoon I suddenly caught sight of this handsome stand of that winter garden favourite, Arum italicum subsp italicum 'Marmoratum' (to give the plant its full Latin name).

Given the mild and wet weather we have had recently it is now growing rapidly after its summer dormancy and will produce a great stand of finely marbled leaves prior to its spathe and berries which will come next year.  While it is a lovely garden plant it can spread - nearly as vigorously as its native cousin, Arum maculatum (Lords and Ladies / Cuckoo pint). However when it is in its fully glory in the middle of the winter months this excessive enthusiasm is easy to forgive!



Coniogramme japonica 'Flavo-maculata' - an exciting new fern

Coniogramme japonica 'Flavomaculatum' - variegated Bamboo fern

A little while back we sourced some plugs of this rather decorative new fern - Coniogramme japonica 'Flavo-maculata' - a variegated form of the Japanese 'Bamboo Fern'. I suspect the reference to bamboo comes from the similarity of the leaves to Sasa palmata - a low growing Japanese bamboo well know for its vigour!

These plants have a fair way to go before they can compete with Sasa in either size or growth rate however with their showy leaf markings I think they are well worth giving a try.  While the literature suggests they should be 'London' hardy - I have found that slugs like chewing on them so a little bit of over-winter care and protection would seem to be a good idea.



The autumn leaf fall - quite late but now fully underway.

fallen autumn leaves in a London garden

The leaves this year have been quite slow to fall as the weather has remained mild until the later half of November.

However now the fall is fully underway and I suspect the prospect of some genuinely cold nights will speed things along.  Over the last couple of days we have been working in a garden in central London where a major task at this time of year is dealing with the leaf fall from the London Planes (Platanus × acerifolia) which are such a feature of the London landscape. 

The leaves have to be bagged up and will be composted as they are a valuable source of organic matter.  Too many London gardens have soil which is thin and deprived of nutrient because no organic matter is ever returned to the soil.


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