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Old News

The Corkscrew Hazel

Corylus avellana

I saw this in a friend's garden a few days back and was taken by the wonderful leaf tones as well as the quirky corkscrew form.  I assume it is one of the coloured forms of Corylus avellana contorta - possibly 'Red Majestic'.

Given that the leaves will also produce autumn colour - the young leaves actually turn from red to green - before producing autumnal colours as they prepare to fall.

Plus you get good winter structure and catkins in the spring.  Definitely a good value shrub / small tree.


Rosa glauca - another good late summer display of hips.

Hips on Rosa glauca

While the hips on Rosa rugosa are spectacular in size, I personally prefer Rosa glauca (R. rubrifolia) - it is a far more elegant plant - with fine blue green foliage, delicate flowers and less overblown hips.

Rosa glauca makes a very fine specimen plant which can reach over 2 metres high and can provide a very elegant presence at the back of a border, or as a stand alone feature.  A rose well worth growing!


Another sign of autumn's approach

Rosa rugosa hips

Another sure signal that autumn is not far off is the fattening hips on Rosa rugosa, a rose often grown as a hedging plant - and valued as much for its spectacular hips as for its showy large single flowers.


Late Summer Blues - Ceratostigma

Ceratostigma willmottianum in flower

Summer is definitely starting to subtly wane into the start of autumn - and August is always a transitional month in the garden.  The grand display of high summer is mostly over and everything can seem a little bit flat.

As a summer through to autumn performer, the false plumbagos, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides and willmottianum are a good transitional plant with their displays of intense blue 'plumbago like' flowers.  Their foliage is a pleasant lime green and often turns a very effective autumnal reddish tinge.  They just like sun, good drainage and are otherwise pretty easy going.


Talking of generosity of flower and foliage scent

Perovskia atriplicifolia in flower

Another dry loving plant that is looking magnificent at this time of year is the Russian Sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia.

Great drifts of lavender blue flowers on powdery white stems over grey green finely cut foliage - which is intensely scented as a bonus.  It really is a very handsome plant for a sunny well drained position.

As a bonus it can provide good winter structure if you leave cutting it back until the spring, which is always a good idea with these dry loving aromatics.


The Salvias just keep on flowering!

Salvia microphylla var microphylla in flower

Back in May I wrote a piece promoting the wonders of Salvia microphylla cultivars and their most generous flowering runs.

Well the salvias are still going, although by this point in the summer, they can start to slow down a bit. However if you cut out the old flowering stems and give the plant a bit of a trim it will rejuvinate it and encourage a whole new run of flower going well into the autumn. This particular Salvia is S. microphylla var microphylla which is upright in habit and has intense cerise / red flowers.



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