What's looking good this month?
The earliest flowering Camellias in the garden are in bloom; Camellia sasanqua ‘Crimson King’, found at the beginning of Radiata Path, is a fully mature specimen at over 90 yrs old which heralds in the Camellia season with its bright crimson flowers.
On Petry’s Path, look out for Camellia sasanqua 'Dazzler’, Camellia sasanqua ‘Hugh Evans’ and Camellia sasanqua 'Paradise Hilda’. These were planted seven years ago and although slower growing than many of the main season Camellias, have small leaves and daintier flowers with a strong fragrance.
Alice's Seat and the Chris Cross
Once the leaves have fallen the decorative bark on many trees can be appreciated. Look for Acer griseum on the Chris Cross; the Chinese Paperbark Maple has beautiful peeling bark the colour of well-polished antique furniture, which glows in the winter sun.
On Fox Path, Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ has highly fragrant, deep yellow flowers borne in long spreading racemes. A robust plant that tolerates both cold and shade and is an excellent food provider for pollinators.
A relatively new introduction to the garden is the Blue Umbrella Bamboo, Fargesia papyrifera with striking ice-blue erect culms or canes and an arching habit.
Close by is another coloured stemmed bamboo. Himalayacalamus falconeri ‘Damarapa’ (or the Candy Stripe Bamboo is a tropical bamboo that has attractive pink, yellow and green striped canes.
Around the Amphitheatre
On the path leading down from the Amphitheatre stand two Wollemia nobilis.
The discovery of this ancient genus (dating back over 65 million years) in 1994 caused great excitement in the botanical world. Our pair were planted in the garden eleven years ago and are now forming into sizeable specimens. Their unique bark is chocolate brown and bubbly.
Throughout the garden
One of the most asked about plants in the garden is the Chilean Myrtle Luma apiculata which grows (and self-seeds freely) around the garden. Its attractive cinnamon bark peels away to show cream patches underneath.