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Plants of the week - April 2020

08th April 2020

Plants of the week - April 2020

Our team are always on the look out for new developments in the gardens. Each week, our Living Collections Manager, Graham, will be sharing some points of interest with us.

8. April

Corylopsis pauciflora

Prized for its delicate fragrant blooms this week’s choice is Corylopsis pauciflora, or buttercup winter hazel, a slow growing deciduous shrub which provides interest all year. Preferring partial shade and moist but well drained soil this bushy, spreading plant is currently producing bobbing racemes of small, bell-shaped pale yellow flowers.

15. April

Berberis valdiviani

Our choice of plant this week is a flowering evergreen shrub, the Berberis valdiviani, from the Valdivia province of Chile. It’s quite different from other Berberidaceae family members and more refined in appearance with its handsome upright habit and glossy dark green pointed leaves without prickles. At this time of year it makes a stunning addition to the garden with large, drooping clusters of saffron yellow flowers which will be followed by small dark purple fruits. Although hardy it prefers a sheltered position, ours is tucked inside the Wee Garden.

23. April

Magnolia campbellii

Berberis valdivianiIn the Wee Garden we have a lovely example of Magnolia campbellii, a species of Magonlia found in sheltered valleys of the Himalayas. This deciduous tree blooms in early springtime before its leaves appear producing beautiful flowers up to 30cm in diameter, initially goblet in shape but once spread more like water lilies, pale pink on the outside with a deep rose inner.

It was named by Sir Joseph Hooker, a 19th century botanist and explorer, for Dr Archibald Campbell of the Bengal Medical Service with whom he travelled on an expedition to Sikkim where both were held prisoner by a local ruler. Campbell is credited with the introduction of tea cultivation in Darjeeling whilst Hooker was a friend of Charles Darwin and for twenty years served as director of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew.

Campbell’s magnolias need deep, moist soil and a mild, sheltered site but can take many years before maturing into flowering trees.

Image credit : John Fergusson Cathcart, (1802 - 1851), Illustrations of Himalayan plants.

30. April

Cyrtomium falcatum

Our plant choice for this week is provided by Gardens Manager Beki Marriott who favours plants with shape, form and lush green foliage, particularly ferns.

Cyrtomium falcatum is a species of fern from the Dryopteridaceae family native to eastern Asia, hence its common name of Japanese holly fern, where it grows from crevices in coastal cliffs, river banks, rocky slopes, and other moist areas.

Its high-gloss, deep-green leathery leaves can exceed half a metre in length and are pinnate in shape with broad angular leaflets each of which has a slightly toothed margin with a netlike pattern of veining. Its attractive appearance has led to its becoming a popular ornamental plant and it’s hardier than most ferns, thriving in shady positions – this specimen occupies a lovely spot in our Pavilion.