Tag Archives: Cornus

Whistlestop Wisley


Running early this morning (for once!) on our way to a birthday lunch in Edgware, I had the spontaneous idea of stopping at Wisley for a quick circuit.  As an RHS member I’m allowed to take one adult guest, so it didn’t even cost anything.

It certainly wasn’t a comprehensive visit, but it was a beautiful morning and just lovely to see an old friend.004

Our circuit took us past the Conifer Lawn and then up through the Rock Garden, where I spied this stunning cyclamen, glowing in the low winter sunshine.008

On to the Alpine House, packed full of stunning specimens in pots, set on gravel beds.


From here we walked up to the viewing mound to look towards the glasshouse (which I still think of as new, despite being built in 2007).017

The borders on either side of the path, the Glasshouse Borders, were designed originally by Piet Oudolf around 2005, and mum and I went to an excellent talk by him at Wisley shortly after they’d been planted.  The design features ‘ribbons’ of planting which are easy to see from this elevated position.  There was warmth to the grasses, but proper heat from the Salix ‘Yelverton’.


We didn’t have time for the glasshouse this visit, which was a shame because it’s hosting a display of butterflies until 6th March.026


Turning back towards the entrance we walked through Seven Acres with lake and striking cornus.031



There was more colour from a couple of interesting trees I’d not come across before – Corylus maxima ‘Red Filbert’


and Tilia cordata ‘Winter Orange.’


Thanks Wisley, it was lovely to see you again.

Sir Harold Hillier gardens – winter wonderland


It was reading an article about the transformation of the Sir Harold Hillier gardens‘ Centenary Borders (in The Garden magazine in September 2014) which alerted me to the fact there might be rather more to see there than the impressive and unusual trees.  And a subsequent look online informed me that the gardens have, at 4 acres, one of the largest Winter Gardens in Europe.

A half term related visit to the mainland on Friday seemed an ideal opportunity to visit the Winter Gardens, right up until we saw the weather forecast.  However, we packed our stiff upper lips, together with our wellies, and set forth.  And actually, had we not lingered rather too long on our delicious fish and chips in the cafe(!) the weather wouldn’t have been too bad at all. As it was, is was soon grey and deteriorating, and sadly the photos weren’t helped by me forgetting the camera (again!)  However, I did my best with my phone, and hope, despite the gloom, some of the magic of this garden will be conveyed.IMG_0413

Although the Winter Gardens are long established here, they have recently been extended, with many new plants added, including 500 new cyclamen tubers.  There is, understandably, a relatively limited planting palette, but the size of the garden allows for some magnificent drifts of planting, giving wonderful effects.

See below, Cornus – I think this one is Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ – echoed by the planting on the other side of the pathIMG_0411

Another Cornus, C. alba ‘Sibirica‘, glowing in front of a dark Pittosporum

IMG_0418Large planting of Rubus cockburnianus together with Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’IMG_0423

and many hellebores including drifts of the yellow ‘Ashwood Garden Hybrids’,IMG_0409

with brighter yellow provided by the Eranthis hyemalis


There were also interesting foliage plants including the Anchor Plant, or Jet Plane plant,  Colletia paradoxa,


and Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Warnham Gold’


The garden also holds the National Collection for Hamamelis, and has all known species and around 90 varieties.  Many were clearly very long established and significantly taller than me.  Just stunning.

Hamamelis mollis ‘Brevipetala’IMG_0425


This one’s Jelena, the same one I showed in a 9cm pot in last week’s Wordless Wednesday.  I think I’ll have to be patient to see  mine reach this size!


So, not only one of the largest Winter Gardens in Europe and a National Collection of one of my favourite plants, but what else was going on?  Oh yes, an exhibition of snowdrops!

The snowdrops were all in pots and displayed inside, in Jermyns House, the previous family home of Sir Harold Hillier.  Apparently they have a series of these ‘floral displays’ with Hellebores in March and Camellia and Magnolia in March, a lovely idea.

By coincidence they had one of my favourites (which I’d admired on the Frustrated Gardener’s blog last week), Galanthus Diggory.  Not a great photo, but the petals have an extraordinary seersucker texture.

And I’ve included a couple more for the galanthophiles amongst you…IMG_0435



And finally, what of the Centenary Borders I mentioned at the start?  Well, as you can imagine, they’re not looking much at the moment, and my soggy Valentine (on the left) wanted to go home.  But I’m pretty sure we’ll be back!IMG_0446


Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day – January 2015


Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time will know how much I love my Melianthus Major (above).  And seeing it in the sunlight today prompted me to join Christine at My Hesperides Garden with her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, even though I’m a day late!

I’ve used my Macro lens, so these photos are close ups, deliberately concentrating on individual leaves, rather than the whole plant.

It’s been interesting to look at foliage rather than flowers today (and just as well at this time of year!) and I’ve been interested to see how much blue/silver toned foliage I have,  including this tiny Pachyveria succulent,IMG_5825

Phlomis italicaIMG_5844


young Digitalis foliage, IMG_5846

Euphorbia mysinitesIMG_5871

Lavender IMG_5853

and Olive.  IMG_5841

The only red at this time of year is the Cornus and the inherited Phormium below.  I’m not really a fan of phormium and I’ve inherited four.  One I think I should really have out, but the rest provide good structure, so I’ll probably leave them alone this year.IMG_5832

My lovely Stipa tenuissima grasses are looking quite dead, but they will return!   Meanwhile they’re still providing lovely movement along the back of the grass bed.  I’ve combed them through but don’t usually cut them back.  They should start regrowing fairly soon.IMG_5849

One plant I don’t think I’ve ever featured before is another inheritance, a bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus.  This has got quite large now but I’ve read you can’t prune too severely as it won’t regenerate from low down (a bit like lavender) so I think I should give it just a light trim this year, immediately after flowering, to try to keep it in check.IMG_5864

And to finish, I guess these catkins are strictly flowers, but somehow they sit better here than on GBBD!  These are the lovely catkins of Garrya Eliptica, also known as the Silk Tassel Bush.


With thanks again to Christina for hosting this lovely meme.