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Late Spring flowering shrubs.

Prunus lusitanica in flower

Sometimes even the most ordinary and humble of shrubs can put on a really fine display.

This Portugese Laurel - Prunus lusitanica - isn't exotic - in fact it is a very useful hardy evergreen - however it can put up a really good display of flower in late Spring / early Summer.  Plus unlike many of the more lauded flowering shrubs of late spring, it looks pleasing throughout the rest of the year!



Having seen this in flower in Greece this spring, it is now flowering  much closer to home!

Phlomis fruticosa in flower

Back in mid April when I was walking on the Greek island of Hydra it was great to see banks of the Jeruselum sage - Phlomis fruticosa - in flower in the warm Mediterranean sun.

While we haven't as yet had anything in the way of hot Greek sunshine this summer, this hasn't stopped this Phlomis flowering beautifully in a very English garden. 


Salvia Officinalis 'Berggarten' - a really superior Sage.

Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten' in flower

Sometimes you find really good forms of a traditional old garden favourite - which are genuinely an improvement on the original.

Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten' is one of these strains.  While I'm fond of the straight culinary sage, this larger leaved form is a magnificent plant which is well worth choosing.  Plus it is just as useful in the kitchen!


The joy of fresh new growth

Dryopteris erythrosora - young fronds

There is something special about young fresh growth at this time of year.  I saw this patch of woodland planting with its startling orange-pink Dryopteris erythrosora fronds and the lime green of Tellima grandiflora which together produced an effect as dramatic as many a traditional flower display.


The charms of Asarabacca!

Asarum europaeum leaves

On the theme of plants for shade, I'm very fond of the wonderfully named 'Asarabacca' or European wild ginger - otherwise known as Asarum europaeum. 

This charming low growing plant is a very decorative ground cover with fine glossy leaves.  Once established it can form a very satisfactory way of covering difficult areas.  The flower is a fascinating little purple brown tubes which are held close to the ground under the leaves.  Pollination is done by flies and the seed distributed by ants.


Rodgersia - Another shade lover which has enjoyed the moisture this year!

Rodgersia podophylla

Another one of the moist shade growers that has done particularly well this year is Rodgersia.  Again I suspect it was helped by the mild wet winter.  With its giant 'Horse Chestnut' like leaves it is a real presence in the damp border.

This specimen is Rodgersia podophylla I think - enjoying moisture and dappled shade.  The leaves are easily sun scorched so keep in away from too much direct sunlight!


Great plants for a moist shady site - Astrantias

Astrantia major 'Shaggy' in flower

Our astrantias have done particularly well this year. I suspect that this is due to the mild wet winter.  While they will take a bit of sun with enough moisture, they seem to fit in best in the shadier parts of the garden.  The 'Masterwort' is a member of the umbellifer clan - which makes sense once you look at the flower head.  This one is Astrantia major 'Shaggy'.


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