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On the Rockery above Lawn Path the Agave americana has sent up a 6m flower spike. Known as the Century Plant because it is extremely slow growing, this specimen has taken over 25 years to flower. The plant is monocarpic, meaning it blooms just once in its lifetime and it will die after flowering. This extraordinary flower spike grows way out of the reach of grazing animals and resembles a giant asparagus spear.
In the Water Garden (H05)* look out for the Candelabra Primulas which are looking pretty, the new leaves of Iris pseudoacorus ‘Variegatus’ are coloured cream, yellow and green and the distinctive Arum Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica) which came to Europe over 400 yrs ago from S.Africa. Another S.African in the water garden is Wachendorfia thyrsiflora a tall clump forming perennial with large ‘pleated’ leaves and panicles of star-shaped flowers.
Late flowering Rhododendrons – on Stuart’s Hill (H07)* there are beautifully scented, slightly tender Rhodos. They are predominantly white with frilly edges and R.fragrantissimum has flashes of rose pink. Along Badgers Walk (I09)* a massed planting of the common yellow Azalea (R.luteum) also has fantastic scent. Further down the garden on Beach Path (E15)* R.loderi ‘King George’ one of the finest Rhododendrons is in full flower.
In the Bamboozle giant new shoots of Phyllostachys edulis (Moso bamboo) (F12)* have emerged and can grow up to 30cm a day. These are the thickest canes grown outside in the UK. The new shoots require protection from squirrels which nibble the tops and thus deter any further growth.
Our wonderful old Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrata var. vilmoriniana) (H15)* from SW China, at the lower end of the Chilean Coomb, is festooned with fluttering pure-white bracts. Sadly, over the last few years we have watched it decline as it enters its period of senescence and crown disintegration has occurred, however on either side we have planted ‘next generation’ trees.
Throughout the garden the wild flowers are in
profusion, including Bluebells, Campions, Alkanet (a deep blue flowering member
of the Borage family), Primroses, Three-cornered Leek (Allium triquetum) Ramsons (Allium
ursinum) (both commonly referred to as wild garlic).
(* denotes grid ref. on garden map).