February 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm


Long House Plants Newsletter 2010
Welcome to the fifth year at Longhouse Plants. If we thought last winter was challenging, this winter was even more difficult. The snow and prolonged frost stopped all work outside as everything was frozen solid. Luckily we managed to get all our vulnerable plants under cover before the unusually early cold spell started. So there was nothing to do but retreat indoors, light the fire, pick up a good book and look forward to the start of the new season.
We now have a website,, where you can look at pictures and descriptions of the plants currently available. The site will be regularly updated as soon as new crops become saleable, so if you do not see what you are looking for, either online or at the nursery, please ask as it may be in production. We have added over three hundred new additions to our range this year, some of which are highlighted below. Please check on availability as some plants are produced in small numbers or will be ready later in the season.
Just a reminder of our opening hours; We are open from the beginning of March until the end of September, Fridays, Saturdays & Bank holidays 10am-5pm and Sundays 10am-4pm, or by appointment telephone 01708 371719
We have added Azara microphylla to our range of trees, a hardy upright small evergreen tree from South America with small leaves and tiny greenish yellow flowers that are borne in late winter-early spring, scenting the air with delicious vanilla perfume, available as young plants. Ideal for creating drama in a mixed border or as a courtyard tree, Catalpa x erubescens ‘Purpurea’ can make a medium sized deciduous tree in time (15m x 15m), too big for most people, however it can be hard pruned annually making the large spade shaped leaves, that emerge dark purple and mature green, even larger,. Cercidiphyllum japonicum or “Katsura Tree” is a medium sized deciduous tree that starts life pyramidal in shape becoming more rounded with age. Grown for its autumn colour of soft yellows and smoky pinks, it is best on fertile neutral to acid soils, the falling leaves scenting the air with the smell of candyfloss. We have been meaning to grow Cotoneaster ‘Hybridus Pendulus’ and C. x watereri for a while and will be able to offer a few to sell by June. These small evergreen or semi-evergreen trees are covered in small white flowers in early summer that are loved by bees, followed by red berries in autumn. The former makes a small weeping tree; the latter grows taller, more vigorously with arching branches.
Luma apiculata is not new to our range, but is worthy of a mention as we now have a few older plants approximately 1.5m tall. This upright evergreen large shrub or small to medium sized tree has small aromatic dark green leaves bearing lots of small white flowers in late summer to autumn. As the trunk develops the beauty of the peeling cinnamon brown and creamy white bark is revealed. Magnolias can be classed as either large shrubs or small to medium sized trees. Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ can grow up to 5m and bears large goblet shaped pale yellow flowers before the leaves in mid spring. M. ‘Galaxy’ is a fast growing variety with large perfumed deep reddish purple goblet flowers white inside.  M.‘Heaven Scent’ has large scented white flowers streaked deep to pale pink on the outside. Both eventually make broadly conical shaped deciduous trees up to 10m tall, flowering before the leaves emerge in mid spring. We have a good crop of young plants of Pseudopanax crassifolius, available this year. Dramatic, unusual, architectural, or as Jean has it, ugly this toothed lancewood from New Zealand has very long slender dark brown green leaves that hang down from the trunk. This evergreen plant develops a lollipop shaped head with different shaped adult leaves on top of a tall slender trunk. If you like your trees unusual then we should have a crop of Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’ ready by summer. The rice paper plant forms a suckering shrub or small tree for a sunny site protected from strong winds. The evergreen leaves are huge, 60cm or more across. This hardier form was collected from a higher altitude by Crug farm plants and named by Mulu Nurseries.
We have added over 60 different shrubs to the range this year and they will become available as the season progresses. Some are brand new varieties, others old favourites that have been requested. Below are some to wet your appetite.
Abelia floribunda is an evergreen dwarf shrub with very showy long tubular fragrant magenta pink flowers during the summer. Good on clay soils and best in a sunny sheltered position or against a wall, these should be ready by mid-late summer.
We continue to expand the range of Camellias that we grow as they are such rewarding plants. Evergreen, fast growing but easily pruned, good on our clay soils (as long as not in a bog or a desert) with a long flowering season, these plants earn their keep by adding glamour from the autumn through winter to spring. They can be autumn-winter or winter-spring flowering with single or double flowers, in shades of white to pink and red or even combined in variegated blooms, some even are fragrant. Of the 20 new varieties this year look out for the sought after old variety C. japonica ‘Adelina Patti’ with beautiful rose pink single cup shaped blooms that are edged with white. C. japonica ‘Dona Herzilia de Freitas Magalhaes’ an uncommon old variety with dull red anemone centred flowers that can be deep purple red on clay soils or if treated with hydrangea colourant. C. japonica ‘Tricolor’ is a very old Japanese variety introduced to Europe in 1829 but still deservedly popular with an abundance of semi-double white or pink flowers striped or flecked pink or red. We added some more autumn flowering C. sasanqua varieties to our range including ‘Baronesa de Soutelinho’, ‘Fragrans’, ‘Kenkeyo’, ‘Narumi gata’, ‘Rosea’ and ‘Rubra’. We also hope to have a few C. ‘Sasanqua Variegata’ ready by the autumn. C. x williamsii ‘Elegant Beauty’ has large anemone form rich pink flowers and can be fast growing with attractive bronze red new growth.
There are a couple of different Ceanothus available this spring including C. ‘Blue Sapphire’ a new PVR variety with small very dark foliage and deep blue flowers and C. ‘Madagascar’ with golden variegated leaves and powder blue flowers. Cordyline australis ‘Pink Champagne’ has very narrow silvery white variegated leaves that turn pink towards the base, available summer onwards. The different coloured stems of dogwoods are the backbone of winter gardens and we have added a few to the range including Cornus sericea ‘White Gold’ with yellow green stems and good creamy white variegated leaves. We have been asked to grow Cotoneaster horizontalis as a nectar plant for bees and we will be pleased to offer C. hor. ‘Variegata’ later in the year.  Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii ‘Emmer Green’ forms an upright evergreen shrub with striking creamy white variegated leaves with lime yellow flowers in the spring.
We have a few Fabiana imbricata available, an unusual heather like potato relative from South America, this medium to large evergreen shrub can be smothered with small white to pale mauve tubular flowers in May-June. By request, we are growing X Fatshedera lizei, an architectural evergreen with glossy palmate leaves, a bigeneric cross between Fatsia and ivy. While we are on Fatsia, we are really excited about a new variety from the U.S., Fatsia japonica ‘Spiders Web’ with wonderful creamy white variegated leaves which should get as big as the ordinary form, but it will take a lot longer.
Hardy Fuchsia’s are very rewarding plants that certainly performed very well late summer to early winter last year, and we are growing about 35 different varieties, many of which will be available this spring. I fell in love with ‘Greyrigg’ a small flowered single pale pink with slight grey-blue tones of upright growth.
For those of you who know our signature plant Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ we can now offer you G. juniperiana f. sulphurea a hardy evergreen yellow flowered variety.   My love affair with Hydrangeas continues to grow and we have added H. Macrophylla ‘Mariesii Perfecta’, ‘Masja’, ‘Nigra’ and the PVR variety ‘Pirates Gold’ to our range. Jasminum parkeri will be ready later in the year, a diminutive summer flowering shrub with small scented yellow flowers. Loropetalum chinense f. rubrum ‘Fire Dance’ is a frost hardy evergreen shrub with wine red leaves and clusters of small strap like bright pink flowers in late winter to spring. Philadelphus ‘Natchez’ is a medium sized deciduous shrub bearing a profusion of perfumed single white flowers in early summer. Photinia are always popular and we have been asked for P. ‘Little Red Robin’ a more compact and freer branching form which we hope to have ready by the summer.
Phygelius are easily overlooked and in the wrong situation can overwhelm smaller plants, but they do pay the rent. Easy to grow evergreen dwarf shrubs for sun or semi-shade, good in a border or in pots, their suckering habit helps them recover quickly from hard pruning or stray footballs. They bear a succession of tubular flowers from spring to late autumn usually in tones of orange red to primrose yellow although we have been offering the magenta purple flowered form Phygelius ‘Sani Pass’ (Sensation) for a number of years. This year we will be offering P. ‘Midas Touch’ a yellow leaved variety with salmon orange flowers and the new PBR variety ‘Ivory Twist’ with ivory white flowers.
We do not grow a huge range of Rhododendron or evergreen Azalea as they can suffer in our dry summers, but we can offer some young plants of the taller hybrids such as ‘Blue Peter’, ‘Colonel Coen’, ‘Goldkrone’, ‘Lem’s Monarch’, ‘Taurus’ and the desirable ‘Ebony Pearl’ with bronze red new growth. We have also grown some compact “yak” hybrids such as ‘Birthday Girl’, ‘Dopey’, ‘Fantastica’, ‘Golden Wedding’ and ‘Pink Cherub’ but they are not large enough to produce flowers this spring.
Most people think of willows as large trees but there are many dwarf shrubs and this year we have grown Salix lanata, the woolly willow a slow growing compact dwarf shrub with silvery grey downy leaves. Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’ a recently introduced PVR variety is a superb dwarf shrub grown for its yellowish-bronze new growth. Viburnum x juddii is always in demand as the perfume is outstanding. Plants are usually grafted and need to be watched for suckers that can take over, however we have a nice batch of young plants propagated from cuttings eliminating this problem.
The early and prolonged cold spell has delayed potting the roses but they should be ready by May. We select our roses for perfume and this year for bush hybrid tea we have; ‘Alpine Sunset’, ‘Deep Secret’, ‘Elina’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Indian Summer’, ‘Nostalgia’ and ‘Simply the Best’ and floribundas we have ‘Arthur Bell’, ‘Hot Chocolate’ and ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. For David Austin roses ‘Falstaff’, ‘Gertrude Jekyl’, ‘Graham Thomas’, ‘Pat Austin’ and ‘Teasing Georgia’. We have added ‘Ginger Syllabub’ and ‘Penny Lane’ to our selection of climbing roses. There are also a limited number of standard roses available.
Hardy ferns remain popular and this spring we have Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Angustifolium’, A. trichomanes, Athyrium otophorum var. okanum, Blechnum spicant, Osmunda regalis ‘Purpurescens’, Polystichum setiferum Divisilobum Group ‘Dahlem’, P. set. ‘Pulcherrimum Bevis’ and Woodwardia fimbriata.
There are a few new grasses for this year including Briza media ‘Golden Bee’ with larger golden yellow locket shaped flowers. Miscanthus sinensis var. condensatus ‘Cosmopolitan’ a large growing deciduous grass tolerant of a wide range of soils that has broad leaves showing clear cream variegations to the margins. Molinia caerulea ssp caerulea ‘Edith Dudszus’ has airy dark purple flowers on stems to 1m in late summer. Hopefully we should have some Pennisetum massaicum ‘Red Bunny Tails’ and P. thunbergii ‘Red Buttons’ to sell later in the year both outstanding grasses. Phalaris arundinacea var. picta ‘Artic Sun’ is a new PVR variety of that cottage garden favourite gardeners garters, with golden variegated leaves and supposedly not as vigorous. Stipa pseudoichu RCB/Arg-y-1 has very fine green leaves topped by feathery silver flowers on stems 1m tall. It is supposed to be hardy and we will know for sure by the spring.
Agapanthus remain hugely popular highly desirable summer flowering garden plants. Most will be available later in the season as they can be vulnerable to cold when grown in pots. We will have over 30 varieties to offer this year including ‘Artic Star’, ‘Little Black Number’, ‘Midnight Blue’, ‘Tinkerbell’, ‘White Heaven’ and three from Dick Fulcher of Pine Cottage Plants; ‘Megan’s Mauve’, ‘Tarka’ and the outstanding dark blue ‘Taw Valley’ a seedling from ‘Nikki’.
X Alcalthaea suffrutescens ‘Parkalee’ a sterile rust free hybrid hollyhock proved very popular last year, so we have added the pale pink ‘Parkfrieden’ and deeper pink ‘Parkrondell’. Last year’s unexpected cold snap damaged unprotected plants of alstroemeria, so we are hoping the precautions we took this year should enable us to offer some later in the year. Fingers crossed. For those of you who asked for yellow granny bonnets we have Aquilegia ‘Goldfinch’ ready, with long spurred upward facing flowers. Arisaema ciliatum var. liubaense is a fascinating woodland tuberous perennial with striped dark purple brown hooded flowers. We tried a new “hardy” Begonia out last summer and several people admired it so this winter was a good test. Begonia ‘Benitochiba’ has dramatic metallic pink palmate leaves and pink flowers later in the year.
Available late spring will be bellflower Campanula ‘Samantha’ a low growing form for the front of the border or pots, with wide violet-blue fragrant flowers. C. ‘Kent Belle’ makes a welcome return with large tubular bell shaped violet blue flowers on stems 75cm tall. C. latifolia var. macrantha is a tough plant suitable for heavy soils in shade with mauve blue flowers on stems to 60cm tall. C. perscifolia ‘Kelly’s Gold’ has bright yellow leaves and spikes of white flowers. Corydalis ‘Berry Exciting’ will be ready mid spring with golden yellow ferny leaves topped by scented purple flowers from March to August.
Dianthus ‘Coconut Sundae’ is a PBR variety with semi-double white flowers and a dark red eye with a strong perfume. Diascia personata with dusky pink flowers on stems up to 1.5m tall from summer to autumn is a frost hardy perennial for a sheltered site. Dicentra cucularia, a small tuberous perennial with ivory white bleeding hearts above ferny leaves in early spring. Digitalis ‘Spice Island’ is a repeat flowering PVR protected sterile perennial variety of foxglove with 1m tall spikes of copper-yellow, each with a paler protruding tongue and cinnamon veining inside. Diplarrhena moraea, a frost hardy rhizomatous evergreen perennial with strap like leaves topped by 45cm tall stems of fragrant white iris like flowers in May-June. Erigeron ‘Sea Breeze’ is a new selection of this old garden favourite that is more compact at only 20cm tall covered in solitary lilac pink aster like flowers from spring to autumn. Perennial wallflowers are always useful plants, evergreen with a long flowering display that can start in late winter continuing to early summer with an additional autumn display. New for this spring are Erysimum ‘Plant World Lemon’, an upright plant with lilac pink flowers that change to light yellow, E. ‘Winter Joy’ is similar to ‘Bowles Mauve’ but is more compact with earlier and larger purple-mauve flowers. E. ‘Winter Sorbet’ is a PBR protected variety with multi coloured flowers of purple, yellow, pink and copper tones.
Gaillardia ‘Fanfare’ PBR makes a welcome return this year with fiery orange and golden yellow flowers made up of unusual tubular florets. G. ‘Oranges & Lemons’ is a new PBR protected variety with apricot-yellow flowers with tangerine centres. Both will be available in early summer. Many gardeners have told us we should grow Geranium ‘Jolly Bee’ as it freely produces large blue flowers over a long time on a compact plant, we hope to have a large crop ready by midsummer. G. ‘Joy’ is a new one to us with soft pink flowers from May-September on a plant 25cm tall. Another recommendation has been the new generation of hardy Gerbera and we are trying the Everlast range this season in 4 colours – carmine, pink, white and yellow. Two new Geum for us later in the year are Geum ‘Bell Bank’ a semi-double soft pink and ‘Flames of Passion’ a PBR variety with round up-facing soft red flowers. Helianthus ‘Happy Days’ is a non running perennial sunflower with anemone centred double yellow flowers on stems 60cm tall from July-September.
And so to Heuchera. This spring we have ‘Amethyst Myst’, ‘Beaujolais’, ‘Caramel’, Citronelle’, ‘Georgia Peach’, ‘Magic Wand’, ‘Obsidian’, ‘Peach Flambe’, ‘Pistache’, ‘Plum Royale’, ’Silver Scrolls’, ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Tiramasu’. Later on we will have ‘Berry Smoothie’, ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Blackberry Fancy’, ‘Can Can’, ‘Chocolate Ruffles’, ‘Electra’, ‘Fire Chief’, ‘Hollywood’, ‘Lime Rickey’, ‘Licorice’, ‘Midnight Rose’, ‘Rave On’ and x Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’ and ‘Sweet Tea’.
Iris sibirica are such forgiving plants, growing in sun or shade, damp or dry soil and we keep finding more varieties to try. I. sib. ‘Ego’ has ruffled mid-blue flowers, ‘Outset’ clear blue with a white center, ‘White Swirl’ has elegant white flowers with yellow basal markings. Kirengeshoma palmata an herbaceous relative of Hydrangea is suitable for ordinary to moist shade. They bear pale yellow bell shaped flowers on stems up to 1.2m tall in late summer. Knautia macedonica ‘Mars Midget’ is a good compact dwarf form of this long flowering wine red scabious, ready by early summer. Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Aglaia’ is a short Shasta daisy with fringed semi-double white flowers, ready later in the year.   Monarda are easy perennials to grow but prefer moist but well drained humus rich soil, avoiding excessive winter wet. M. ‘Blaustrumpf’ has deep violet purple flowers, ‘Croftway Pink’ pink flowers and the PBR variety ‘Fireball’ is shorter, mildew resistant and bright red.
As you may realise, we do like oriental poppies and grow many already. We have added a few new and some old varieties of Papaver orientale that will be available from mid spring onwards. ‘Allegro’ is a large single orange red with a black basal blotch. ‘Bonfire’ is a tall variety with sturdy stems and bright red flowers with a black blotch. ‘Carmen’ is a PBR variety we have not seen in flower yet, the flowers are supposed to be deeply fringed ruby red. ‘Cedar Hill’ is a small growing variety with pink flowers. ‘Clochard’ has ruffled apricot-pink flowers with a pale base. ‘Eyecatcher’ a semi double watermelon red with a black basal blotch. ‘Indian Chief’ is tall with dark red flowers. ‘Picotee’ grows to 60cm and has orange red frilled petals with a white base. ‘Ruffled Patty’ is a medium sized mauve red double with cut edged petals.
Persicaria amplexicaulis are very good on our heavy clays, flowering for a very long time from summer to autumn. P. amp. ‘Blackfield’ is short at 70cm with dark blood red flowers from darker buds. ‘Jo and Guido’s Form’ is taller at 1.2m with pink flower spikes all summer. ‘J S Caliente’ has slightly fatter more orange red flower spikes on a short plant. Phlox paniculata are cottage garden favourites with a long flowering season from summer to autumn. Phlox paniculata ‘Amethyst’ grows to about 1.2m tall with panicles of violet flowers. ‘David’ grows to 1m tall and has large heads of scented white flowers and is mildew resistant. ‘Jade’ is short at 65cm and an unusual creamy white with green tips to the petals. ‘Orange Perfection’ has deep orange-pink flowers to 1m tall, ‘Rembrandt large creamy white flowers on stems 75cm tall. ‘Tiara’ is another white but short with double flowers. Physostegia virginiana ‘Variegata’ is a spreading rhizomatous deciduous perennial for a sunny position and damp soil. With grey green leaves strikingly variegated with white margins and magenta pink flowers in the summer. We first came across Polemonium ‘Northern Lights’ at Bosvigo in Truro. This is a really good plant, sterile therefore repeat flowering, slowly spreading and bearing clusters of large clear sky blue scented flowers on stems up to 45cm tall from May-August. Primula ‘Belarina Cream’ is a PBR cream double flowered primrose. P. ‘Belarina Nectarine’ has double yellow that turn orange to pink.
Rodgersia ‘Chocolate Wing’ has been selected for the strong red-brown colour of the newly emerging leaves which green up as they age. Pyramidal heads of fluffy flowers pink appear above the large pinnate leaves in May-June. Rudbeckia grandiflora ‘Sundance’ is a selected form of “rough coneflower” bearing bright yellow daisy like flowers with a prominent central brown cone on stems 1.2m tall in late summer, it should make a useful cut flower. Salvia nemorosa and the closely related hybrid Salvia x sylvestris are outstanding for their growth habit, foliage and flowers, being easy to grow and reliable performers adored by bees, suitable for sun or light shade they flower from late spring through summer and into autumn if deadheaded. This year we have added S. n. ‘Pink Friesland’ a PBR rose-pink variety, S. n. ‘Schwellenberg’ with large loose heads of wine red flowers, S. n. ‘Sensation Deep Blue’, S. n. ‘Wesuwe’ a light blue and S. x sylvestris ‘Schneehugel’ a white.
Verbascum are not the longest living cottage garden perennials but are still worth growing, Verbascum ‘Caribbean Crush’ has long spikes of orange-peach flowers to 80cm tall, V. ‘Primrose Path’ is as the name suggests primrose yellow and short at about 40cm as is V. ‘Sugar Plum’ that is light plum purple. Some people suggested growing Verbena ‘Seabrook’s Lavender’ as they found it frost hardy in a sheltered site, so here it is a low growing clump forming perennial with trailing stems 35cm tall with masses of soft lavender flowers from spring to autumn available from late May. We should have a small crop of Veronica spicata ‘Rotfuchs’ ready about the same time. This low growing “speedwell” produces spikes of deep pink-red flowers from summer to autumn. The closely related Veronicastrum virginicum from North America are garden designer favourites. They produce strong vertical stems with whorls of leaves topped by spikes of flowers about 1.8m tall from July-September. They grow in sun or light shade and are useful for adding height to a border. They associate well with grasses and the seed head can be left for winter interest. We can offer a white, V. v. ‘Album’ and pink V. v. forma rosea ‘Pink Glow this spring with the lavender flowered varieties ‘Apollo’ and ‘Lavendelturm’ and the lilac rose ‘Fascination’ ready in the summer.
We wish you all a happy and prosperous season and look forward to seeing you at the nursery.
Tim & Jean