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July 2013

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Note book

Notebooks Midlands Mary Waldron

Catmint cuttings, treasured geraniums and scented phildelphus

What a great plant nepeta or catmint is? It was a froth of blue last year and to my great surprise, it is just as good this year. The surprise is because I have noticed over the years that catmint flowers much better if cuttings are taken in autumn and planted out in spring. I didn't do that this year, which is just as well, I think, as the cuttings, would certainly have perished in the greenhouse during the arctic weather. I will still get great flowers but they may not flower for as long as new ones would have.

The hardy geraniums are fast becoming treasured plants as I am concentrating on, good, beautiful, ground cover plants at the moment. Geranium macrorrhizum can hardly be surpassed for this purpose. I grow the following varieties 'White-Ness' with white flowers, ‘Ingwersen's Variety' with pale pink flowers and ‘Bevan's Variety' with deep pink flowers held well above the foliage. I love them all. The foliage of all this species is first class and, as an extra bonus, is beautifully scented. They do grow quickly and cover a lot of ground, but I have never had any problem controlling their spread and I always have plenty of plants for friends, as they root so easily at almost any time of the year.

I also grow Geranium ‘Ann Folkard', a sprawler that looks great growing up a holly here. 'Ballerina' has pale pink flowers and a long flowering period from spring into summer and it even has a few flowers in autumn. ‘Mavis Simpson', also pink, has a long flowering period and is easy to control. ‘Renardii' has beautiful foliage, a compact grower producing white flowers with deep purple veins, and it likes dryish conditions. ‘Rozanne' has stunning blue flowers with a white centre. It needs plenty of space, flowers for a long time and in the correct place makes a blue waterfall. All these geraniums root easily and are becoming really trouble-free features in this garden. I hear great reports of geraniums ‘Ann Thompson', 'Mount Venus' and ‘Crystal Lake'. I will add them to the garden this year and see how they perform.

We had a new shed installed - the old one was rotten. I had to prune the Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus' hard as it was in the way of the installation. What a difference the pruning made. The flowers are better and the foliage is pure sunshine. The combination of soft yellow leaves and creamy white flowers, on this easy-to-grow shrub, is sublime and when you factor in the delicious scent for yards around, this is a shrub with real impact. I also grow Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile' with its single white flowers with a pale purple stain at the base of the petals and‘Virginal' with double flowers. All are highly scented and fill the garden with scent in June. I'm thinking of adding ‘Beauclerk' to my collection. I saw it last year and was impressed with the very fragrant white flowers that have a cerise stain in the centre of each petal. I moved Cornus florida last year. It wasn't doing well where it was and now it looks worse. Philadelphus ‘Beauclerk' will fill the gap!




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