THIS is the first part of a short series highlighting a few unusual and exciting plants that are worth growing in our gardens. All are easy to grow and all a little bit different.
A really great plant to grow which has unusual shaped leaves and butter yellow pea-like flowers in the autumn. Originating from Mexico and the Andes, it thrives on riverbanks and in woodlands. It will cope with temperatures as low as -10 c and although the top growth may die back it will regenerate from ground level much like hardy fuchsias. Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun and if happy it can reach 2.2 metres in height. It looks great in late summer borders grown alongside heleniums, sunflowers and salvias.
Cover the base of the plant in the winter with a thick layer of course bark mulch to protect the roots from frost and use the new shoots that arise from the base of the plant in spring for basal root cuttings.
2. Gingko biloba (Maidenhair tree)
This is a truly fabulous tree which is both elegant and incredibly robust. It’s relatives date back to prehistoric times, 200 million years ago and it is widely used in Chinese medicine and in the treatment of Alzheimers. It will survive almost anywhere. Because it grows relatively slowly it does equally well in pots or planted directly in the soil.
The leaves are an unusual shape and turn an amazing butter-yellow colour in the autumn, a welcome addition to anyone’s garden.
3. Carpenteria californica ‘Ladhams variety’ (Tree Anenome)
Originating from dry scrub, in California, Carpenterias are handsome , hardy shrubs with delightful glossy, evergreen willow shaped leaves and glorious white flowers. Grow in a sunny, sheltered position in soil that doesn’t completely dry out and this particular variety will grow into a shrub 2 metres tall with the same spread. In summer you’ll be rewarded with masses of white cup shaped flowers 8cm across with a mass of yellow stamens in the middle. As the shrub ages it develops attractive peeling bark much like a eucalyptus or paper bark maple. Another great one to try.
4. Rehmannia angulata (Chinese foxglove)
The Chinese foxglove is a delightful perennial with pink foxglove like flowers and toothed, hairy leaves. It’s easy to grow preferring a sunny border and well-drained soil, although I grew one this year in an old hopper attached to a north facing fence and it flowered its socks off all summer. Rehmannia angulata is very hardy providing it’s grown on moist but well drained soil.
These are all really great plants to try and quite widely available from larger garden centres, online suppliers or specialist nurseries so there’s no excuse to ‘grow something different’.
For November gardening jobs check out our website.