Thursday, 22 May 2014

Garden Tour : it's Candelabra time!

This my favourite month, the narcissus and tulips are finished, the early woodlanders are dying back  and it is time for the candelabra primulas to come into their own.

Looking out of the back door we have Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' - One of my favourite shrubs, the only things against it is that it is not evergreen or scented. The tiered branches of deeply veined leaves are covered in white flowers which slowly turn pink. A few weeks later you start to notice the bright red berries which last until the winter. Next to it Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea' - one of the most common purple varieties. Will attain 4/5 metres if allowed to and is very quick growing. The yellow flowers look good against the purple but the scent is not good, it is a strange smell. Small red berries follow in late summer. In the foreground candelabra primulas, Meconopsis and Chaerophyllum hirsutum 'Roseum'.

Another view of the corner of the garden with Spirea japonica 'Golden Princess' in the foreground.

Looking across the other side of the central bed and into the raised area and "woodland".
Plenty of Aquilegias and the big Meconopsis paniculata on the center of the raised area. The Azalea is a Knap Hill/Exbury hybrid which is from seed and has shown a few flowers for the first time this year.
Foot of raised area.
At the foot of the raised area are a rather nice clump of Primula japonica 'Apple Blossom' and between them and the Meconopsis there are several Primula ellisiae.
Primula japonica 'Apple Blossom'
Meconopsis paniculata Ghunsa group
This is to the best of my knowledge the real thing but it has been grown from seed and not only that it is going to flower!

Looking to the right a bed full of Primulas, Lilies, Hostas, Azaleas, Meconopsis and Ligularia. 

Azalea (Rhododendron 'Persil')

Azalea (Rhododendron 'Golden Eagle')
Two more Knap Hill/Exbury hybrids both striking and pleasantly scented.

Another view of the same bed.

Meconopsis coming into flower in the same bed.
Meconopsis ' Kingsbarns' already in flower.
Walking on into the "woodland"
Middle of the area.

Geranium macrorrhizum 'Bevan's Variety'

Geranium phaeum 'Sambor'

Looking back.

This is the main drift of Candelabra Primulas.

This is, at least to my eyes, a poor colour form Primula Japonica which is at the front of the group shown above. The Society seed was meant to be of Primula poissonii which it obviously isn't. The flowers look good in bud and as they open but then the petals have patchy pigment which makes the overall appearance a little washed out.

Primula pulverulenta
Towards the back of the drift is Primula pulverulenta which although similar to Primula japonica has stems which are coated in farina.

Primula japonica 'Miller's Crimson'
Primula japonica seedling

Primula japonica seedling
A quick nip round to the front where the Camellia is just finishing alongside Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange Blossom)

Rhododendron hybrid roseum elegans

 Clematis montana 'Giant Star' has the rampaging tendencies of montana but has flowers which are 4" across and have a wonderfully powerful vanilla scent. 
More candelabra primulas to come in a couple of weeks time.


  1. Rick, the Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' is also one of my favourite shrubs. In our Aberdeen garden we didn't give it the chance to perform to its best, squeezing it into a space, that did not allow the tiered branches to develop. Berries never formed in the cooler climate of North east Scotland. Your garden is looking so very good at the moment, Primulas outstanding as usual. I am not half surprised at how well the plants grow here in Cheshire, so many perennials weeks ahead of what I am used to, and not leggy either. Strangely, the show of Rhododendrons and Azaleas seem to match the flowering time of those up north.

    1. I have been up to Scotland in early May and have noticed the same thing about the Rhododendrons and Azaleas, the only one than flowers earlier with me is Rhododendron (Azalea) luteum which comes out about two weeks ahead of the hybrids although I am pretty sure it is in the mix that makes them up as it donates the scent gene.

  2. HI Rick, everything is looking so healthy and growing so vigorously. Gorgeous garden - that first photo is divine. Of the individual plants, probably the clematis is my favourite. I have one that I bought unflowering and it was obviously grown from seed because it has tiny insignificant flowers. But I'm still fond of it and it covers a trellis well. Enjoy the last bit of spring ...

    1. Thanks Sue, things are going well at the moment with the damp and warmer weather, the only draw back being that Black Spot are already rampant on the few roses that I grow. I have several clematis but I must admit that the montana group are my favourites closely followed by C. tangutica. It would be interesting to find out just where your plant originated from.

  3. Rick, your garden is my idea of heaven. I can't wait til I have as many candelabra has you have.
    Your mecs are all gorgeous too - goes without saying really. I've a friend who has an unnamed Mec growing from seed she was given, I will have to pass on M. paniculata as a possibility, those leaves look almost identical.
    Thoroughly enjoy this post Rick - the pleasure was all mine!

    1. Hi Angie, glad you like the garden although it can be my idea of hell sometimes! The Meconopsis your friend has is more likely to be M.regia if it has yellow flowers or M.nepaulensis if it is pink/red as they are more commonly available than M.paniculata but either way they are all beautiful plants although monocarpic. You asked the me earlier on this year to identify a Meconopsis which I did as M.regia, on the basis that I had some M.napaulensis flower last year and this was a different form, guess what, it is now coming into flower and it is M.napaulensis after all, they are so difficult to tell apart!

  4. Well, your garden is my idea of heaven too! I have a tiny ‘woodland area’ in my garden, but with a total of 62 m2 garden, it goes without saying, each section has to be small and I can’t have a ‘drift’ of anything. I loved all your candelabra primulas, I have Primula beesiana which I assume is a candelabra, and I have thought of getting a few more, to put between the hellebores, they are just a mass of green leaves for 8 months a year so it would be great to have something sticking up between them that was small enough to not be invasive to the hellebores – although some of the candelabras look very big on your photos….. I also loved your 'Golden Eagle' – what a colour!

    1. Thanks Helene, you are quite right Primula beesiana is a Candelabra Section Primula, or was, the botanists have been at it again and it is now Primula bulleyana ssp. beesiana of the Proliferae Section which replaces the Candelabra Section, as if life wasn't hard enough! The leaves of the Candelabras are very big in the damp conditions they thrive in, in fact after flowering they can look a bit like a field of cabbage although the Hellebores are probably strong enough not to get swamped, one of the things I use to break up the sort of situation that you describe are the upright type of Ligularia, not too invasive, add height and flower later.

  5. You have such a beautiful garden Rick :) I love the flowers and how you arranged them.

    I'll be visiting your blog :)

    1. Thank you very much, I look forward to your visits.