Six on a Saturday 8.9.18

After a head frying bit of overstimulation at The Beth Chatto Symposium last week, I am back to normal this week. It was a fantastic event with top speakers, designers and plantsmen and women in attendance. Needless to say, it features here.


  1. The Beth Chatto Symposium. What a gathering! Two days of lectures, talks and panels from some of the best on the planet. Highlights for me: the Scandinavian alpine sand gardening of Peter Korn, the Mediterranean planting of Olivier Filippi, Dan Pearson and Midori Shintani and the hilarious James Hitchmough. Stimulating.

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2. Plants were purchased at the nursery. Here are Inula magnifica in rough grass at St Mary’s. I got three. They get up to 2m and should be tough enough to fight off the grass next May. Also, Pennisitum Black Beauty, a metre high grass which loves sun, good drainage and shelter, all of which I can give her.


3. There is a purple thing going on in this corner, Aster (as I still stubbornly insist on calling it) “Farncombe Lilac” has just joined in. Not really lilac, but quite pleasing. It does take up a lot of room, so some will have to find a new home next year. Got a smidgeon of mildew too, but nothing to worry about too much.


4. Seed stolen from various places this Summer is in and germinating. Always nice to have pots and trays on the go. I was annoyed to find that some Lychnis coronary Alba I ordered for clients last year came out as the screaming pink type. So I tracked some down in someone else’s garden and am trying again.


5. Useful little job at this time of year is to prune off the Summer growth of berrying shrubs. It allows the berries to shine out and probably lets Blackbirds have better access to a snack over Autumn and Winter.

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6. I have been feeling a bit seedy recently so I collected a load together to send off to The Hardy Plant Society. Here is Dianthus carthusianorum looking like an explosion in a  charcoal factory, with eight other packets ready to be sent off. I was so delighted to get my seed last year that it only seems right to contribute this year. Already sweaty palmed with anticipation of the new seed list!

17 thoughts on “Six on a Saturday 8.9.18

  1. I like “Aster” as a name. Particularly as what were asters may now be one of several names and spelling just Symphiotricum without dropping the second “H” is more than enough to cope with. I’ve not heard of P. Black Beauty before but see it’s fully hardy so, having given up on the redder varieties, I’ll give it a go. Thanks for the unwitting tip. As to autumn berries, too late. I think Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are on their way out here as I never get to see more than a fleeting glimpse of orange or red!

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  2. Black Beauty sure is a beauty. I had the red leafed one in my garden but it was absolutely flattened by frost and took so long to recover that I finally dug it out. It must have been inspiring to hear the speakers at the symposium.

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  3. I’m glad you had such a good time at the Beth Chatto symposium. So much of horticulture trundles along at a fairly low level that it’s really exciting to get involved in something intellectually stimulating and to be reminded that there are some fine minds in the industry. So many gardeners work alone too, so it’s great to socialise with like minded folk now and again.


      1. Common!? How odd. I do like the red, particularly since hollies do not get many berries here. Yet, the orange would be a nice alternative, or companion to the red. When I was a kid, my mother cut the berries as if they were holly berries at Christmas time. Near an old abandoned farmhouse in the neighborhood, there was an old plant with orange berries. Although I was none to interested in floral design when I was a tyke, I thought that the two colors together were prettier than just red.

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  4. I saw an Inula at Haddon Hall a few years ago and loved it but couldn’t find it to buy anywhere. I don’t know if it wasMagnifica or not – might have been a shorter variety. It’s a shame I didn’t spot Magnifica on my recent visit to BC’s garden I could have been tempted, but there is always mail order. Pennisitum Black Beauty is an absolute winner – more temptation to get me going down the grasses route.

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    1. The Inula was lurking at the back of the nursery. I have hopes for next year, but it needs a fairly moist spot so we will see if the long grass suits it. Talking of long grass, I really love Pennisetum so will be very upset if that does not make it through Winter.


  5. This mislabelling of plants/seeds by nurseries, the first time it happened to me, I was indignant that the nursery said something to the effect of them not being able to stop cross pollination, etc., etc. Years later, I see it seems to be something that happens all the time to all of us. Bad enough in our own gardens but how annoying when it messes up a colour scheme for a client! Hopefully they understood. And sometimes, the mistakes give us delightful surprises, so there is that. Glad you had a nice time at Beth Chatto & came away w/more plants.

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