Archive for category Plant of the Month

January 2021

Sarcocca hookeriana

Corylus Avellana contorta

Pittosporum tenuifolium

Viburnum Davidii

Mahonia Winter sun

Eleagnus ebengii Gilt Edge

Mahonia aquilifolium

Viburnum Tinus Eve Price

Euonymus fortunei Silver Queen

Sarcocca confusa

Corokia virgata

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December 2020


Irish Holly

The evergreen holly is a native species which you will find in a lot of Irish native forests and woods. Holly dates back to the druid era and it’s name as gaeilge is ‘Cuileann’.

It’s evergreen leaves represent immortality; the spines recall Christ’s crown of thorns and the red berries drops of his blood. Holly is always used as a decoration in Irish houses.

Some people used bless the holly with holy water before putting it up.

Planting and Care of Holly

Holly likes a very well drained soil and a relatively sunny position. It is very hardy and can put up with pretty cold conditions. Holly likes good nutrition in the soil, so use slow release fertilizer when planting and every 6 months from there on.

Male or Female Holly

Most people get very confused with varieties of holly – it is very hard to tell the sex of a holly from the leaf, you would have to wait until it flowers! Generally, if you have a male and female holly in the same garden, you will get a good crop of berries.

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November 2020

Mahonica Japonica – ‘Charity’

Clusters of yellow flowers and glossy evergreen foliage to brighten the winter garden.

Likes well drained soil.

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Oct. 2013


Growing String of Hearts or Ceropegia woodii

The String of Hearts or Ceropegia woodii is very unusual looking plants with mottled grey, green and purple heart shaped leaves.  It is sometimes know as the Rosary Vine. It produces small tubers which look like little potatoes. These store food and water. The flower is very strange in appearance. It is a tube with the end looking like a blender. Like many interesting and strange plants is native to Africa. I will post pictures in a few days.


This plant is usual grown as a hanging basket. The vine form long string with the heart shaped leaves and occasional flowers or tuber. It is so strange looking that it does not look real.


Water. It like to be water regularly. The leaves should be thick and full. If they are paper thick the plant is low on water.


Humidity. This plants will adjust to humidity level. If you are in a high humidity area will not need to water the plants as often.


Soil. This plant will grow in any type of soils. Add more Perlite to the mix so the roots do not get too wet. I have grown this plant in regular soil from my garden. In wetter soil mix the plant must be allowed to dry between watering.


Light. This plant does well in bright light. It does not need full sun. If the light is too low the stem will stretch and the leaves will be far apart. It will look better if grow in enough light. Also the purple coloring will fade


Propagation. It is usually from cuttings. If they is a tuber forming on one of the stems. They can be place against soil in a pot. When they have rooted down you can cut the stem and have a separate plant. You can also cut off a tuber and part of the stem and coil it around the small pot. It will have the chance to root. Most succulent plants will root from small pieces. It is nature way to maximize the chances for the plants survival if not the mother plant then pieces of it.


Fertilizer. Always with fertilizer less is more. A little fertilizer is helpful. Using too much will possibly burn the roots.

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Feb. 2013


Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflouris,Asparagus plumosusAsparagus sprengeri) is a traditional hanging basket plant. It is called a fern but it’s not actually related to ferns; rather, it’s a perennial herb and a member of the lily family. It has fine needle-like leaves and arching stems but the sizes vary depending on the type.

  • Asparagus ferns are great in hanging containers.
  • Use the leaves for floral arrangements.
  • Plumosa varieties can grow over six feet long, with long, wry stems that twine. Sprengeri varieties can reach two feet in length, with thorny, arching branches. All asparagus ferns should have feathery leaves, usually of a soft green in color. Sprengeri will produce small white flowers in the spring.
  1. Propagate the plant. You can grow it from seed or by root division. If growing from seed, plant it into a container in spring and leave this on the window sill for warmth to aid germination. If propagating by division, do this in early spring.
  2. Maintain a suitable temperature. This plant needs daytime temperatures around 60 to 75ºF (around 30ºC-35ºC). Night temperatures are best around 50 to 65ºF (25-30ºC).

  3. Plant the asparagus fern in a container or the garden. Wherever you choose, it must be a cool and shaded position.
    • If growing indoors, keep the container out of direct sunlight or there is a risk that the leaves will discolor.
  4. Water regularly. Keep the soil moist. However, give it moderate watering in summer and be very sparing with watering during the winter. Some asparagus ferns, such as sprengeri, have an in-built system which helps prevent drying out.
  5. Fertilize only moderately. Every three months should be adequate. Sprengeri ferns require fertilization once a month during the growing season (March to August).

  6. Repot. If you want the fern to grow larger, it will do so with repotting to larger containers; not repotting will cause problems because it quickly becomes root bound. The more frequently the repotting into larger containers, the more it will grow bigger. To contain the size of the ferns, keep the containers small but replace the soil.
    • When repotting, cut up and divide the root ball for propagation of more asparagus ferns.

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Viburnum Burkwoodii


Plant type







The fruit can cause a mild stomach upset if ingested



H4 (hardy)



Pink and White in Spring


Dark Green in Autumn, Spring, Summer and Winter


Ultimate height

1.5-2.5 metres

Ultimate spread

1.5-2.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

10-20 years

How to grow


  • Full sun
  • Part shade
  • Full shade


  • South-facing, West-facing or East-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed


Grows well in most moderately fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soils


  • Well-drained or Moist but well-drained
  • Acid or Neutral
  • Sand, Clay, Chalk or Loam


Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings in summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types

City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds or Wall-side Borders

How to care


Pruning group 1


Aphidsglasshouse whiteflyand viburnum beetle may be a problem


May be subject to a leaf spot.

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Prunus Autumnalis Rosea




Common Name: Autumn cherry tree

Latin Name: Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’

Soil: Tolerates most soil types

Position: Full sun

Flowering period/colour: From late autumn, through winter until spring /Bell-shaped, semi-double pale pink flowers.

Hardiness: Fully hardy

Height/ spread in 20 years:4m/4m

Special features: Flowers from late autumn, through winter until spring. (Deciduous)

Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ is a small tree that begins to flower in November, producing a scattering of pink, bell-shaped, semi-double flowers that last through until March. Out of flower the tree is quite a robust dark shape, and often has good autumn colour. This makes a good specimen tree for smaller gardens.

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Astrantia major 'Roma'











Common Name: Masterwort
Genus: Astrantia
Species: major
Cultivar: ‘Roma’
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Clay/heavyMoist
Height: 45cm
Spread: 90cm

A surprisingly hardy plant, with a delicate appearance, Astrantia produces branched heads of neat pincushion flowers surrounded by a ruff of greenish wine red bracts. It likes a moisture retentive soil and can make good ground cover planted in a group. It self seeds well. Seedlings often appear around the parent plant which can be transplanted to another part of the garden or given to friends. Cut back the flower stems as soon as they start to turn brown to encourage a second flush of blooms later in the season.

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Lavandula stoechas

Common Name: French lavender
Genus: Lavandula
Species: stoechas
Skill Level: Experienced
Exposure: Full sun
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Well-drained/lightChalky/alkaline,DrySandy
Height: 60cm
Spread: 60cm
Time to plant seeds: March to May 
Time to take cuttings: April to August 

An attractive and unusual lavender from hot, dry Mediterranean regions, and best grown in a warm position, sheltered from cold winds and frost. It is not fully hardy, but survives well in a sunny corner or against a warm wall, and makes an excellent container plant that can be brought under cover in winter. It has been cultivated for more than 400 years, and a favourite both for its intense fragrance and also the short dense flower spikes topped with a flourish of conspicuous rich violet bracts, rather like a set of extravagant ears. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

LAVANDULA stoechasFrench Lavander, Spanish Lavender


Height: 2-3′ (60-90cm)
Flowering Time: Summer
Flower Colour: Mauve, purple, pink, cream

Botanical Classification:


Angiospermae (Angiosperms)
Subclass: Dicotyledonae (Dicotyledons)
Superorder: Asteridae (Daisy Superorder)
Order: Lamiales (Nettle Order)
Family: Lamiaceae (Nettle Family)
Genus: Lavandula (Lavender)
Species: stoechas (from the Stoechades, French islands)
Lavandula stoechas

Lavandula stoechas is a small leafy shrub with aromatic leaves, but a little different from our more common lavender. The leaves are more needle-like and the shrub is tighter, and the flowers are very different, forming a short rounded barrel of bracts with tiny purple flowers in, with a large frill on top. The petals are usually purple, but there is a variety with green (or perhaps cream) petals which is very unusual.

Being from the Mediterranean region, these plants prefer a sunny position, which also brings out the fragrance, which is stronger than English Lavender.

____________________________________Harvesting and Growing from Seed:

Germination:Any time
(24-44 days)
Seed Pod There is no seed pod. Each individual flower produces seeds which are inside the calyx.Seed The seeds are small flattish dark brown nuts. There are four seeds from each individual
flower on the flower spike.Seedling The seedling has narrow greyish leaves.

(You can check the meaning of any technical terms new to you in the Botany section of the site)




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Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist loams, but tolerates a wide range of soils. Do not allow soils to dry out in the heat of the summer. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. Propagate vegetatively.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

‘Mariesii’ is a doublefile viburnum noted for its distinctively layered horizontal branching. It is a broad, dense, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically matures to 10-12’ tall and spreads to 15’ wide. Non-fragrant flowers in flat-topped, lacecap-like clusters bloom in profusion along the branches in April or May. Flower clusters appear in two rows or files, hence the common name. Each flower cluster (4-6” wide) has small non-showy inner fertile flowers with a showy outer ring of pure white sterile flowers. Pollinated fertile flowers give way in summer to red berry-like drupes which eventually mature to black. Fruits are ornamentally attractive and a food source for birds. Ovate, serrate, dark green leaves (to 5” long) turn reddish purple in fall. ‘Mariesii’ honors Chelsea gardener Charles Maries (1851-1902).


No serious insect or disease problems.


Specimen or groups. Shrub borders, foundations or hedges.

Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii'

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