greentapestry : Déjà vu

Monday, 30 May 2011

Déjà vu

Earlier this month I set off for the Malvern Spring Gardening Show with a relatively modest shopping list of five plants. Now why did I come back with only one plant on the list but more than I intended? I realised by mid morning that the contents of my horticultural shopping basket looked rather familiar. I was buying plants that have been in the garden before. Firstly there was the delicate foliage and white buttoned flowers of ranunculus aconitfolius 'Flore Peno'. I much prefer its common name of 'Fair Maids of France'. I had this beauty some time ago but then it fizzled out. The fact that the foliage disappears reasonably quickly after planting did probably not help. I am sure that it has already had a second coming so hopefully this reincarnation might be a case of third time lucky. How many times do you persevere with a must have plant? Maybe it could be a category in 'The Guiness Book of Records'. Then there was Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus with its striking magenta spikes. Again I have grown it before only for it to disappear to that giant plant catalogue in the sky. I have also attempted to grow it from bulbs only to be cruelly thwarted by squirrels who stumbled on a gourmet lunch. This time round I received what might be some potentially crucial advice from Avon Bulbs, that they would only sell it to me if I promised to plant it it deeper than it was in the pot. They must have taken one look at me and sensed my track record.

On the herb front a 'Morrocan mint' - yes I know that mints are hard to see the back of and a small angelica archangelica. I have not actually been responsible for the demise of the later (yet). It is growing in statuesque splendour at the allotment just now. It's huge flower heads are covered by bees who seem to settle and doze upon it. However from what I understand that the plant will disappear after it flowers and sets seeds. It may self seed but I thought that I would have a stand by at hand. It can be difficult to transplant as it has a tap root so I ignored the larger specimens for sale in favour of a diddy one. 

Finally on the have been there before scenario another attempt with Brunnera macrophylla 'Looking Glass' as my previous attempt turned out to be an impostor. My fault for not being more observant and for always believing what I read on a plant label. 

Ticked off my shopping list though was tiarella 'Appalachian Trails' which you can see in the above photo. I am still trying to find a nook or cranny for it to fit into. Not only do I like the foliage but it really does have a trailing habit so would look great in a container. In a talk to our garden club  in 2009 Vicky Fox from Plantagogo, indicated that there was some exciting breeding work taking place with tiarellas. I wonder if this is one of the results.

I did buy a couple more new to me plants which I am really pleased about but more of them another day.


  1. Ah well, at least you got one thing off your list!! I hope third time is the charm with the 'Flore Pleno', which I nearly walked away with too, but had already spent my dosh. The idea of Avon Bulbs refusing to sell you the Gladiolus without a promise made me smile! I failed to lift mine last Autumn, but hey presto, they are (mostly) popping up again for another go this year. I think they may be tougher than I thought, so good luck with yours.

  2. Fair Maids of France is a really pretty name, I much prefer common names than those Latin names which I can never pronounce. Sounds like you had some good retail therapy at Malvern, and at least there's still some plants left to get on your shopping list so nurseries and garden centres aren't off the agenda.

  3. Appalachian trails found its way into my car too - mine's going in the hanging basket by the front door whilst I wait for the ground to be less like concrete and I find it a new, more permanent home :)

  4. A lovely Tiarella. I hope, this time round, your purchases flourish.

  5. The problem is you set off with a list (carefully researched) only to find most of the plants are not available. A sensible gardener would go home empty handed but that never works does it :-)

  6. hi Anna, it was fun hearing about your purchases and your determination to have certain plants. when I lived in the UK I had a wonderful specimen of Crambe cordifolia I'd bought from Beth Chatto, it was very squashed in my very small garden. I have tried on countless occasions to get one to grow for me here, from seed and bought plants all with no success; will I try again? yes, probably - it should do well in thhis climate! Christina

  7. I love your giant plant catalogue in the sky! One plant we've tried I don't know how many times and I (and especially my husband) really want to have are Japanese maples (Acer palmatum). We've tried several kinds, several places in the garden, several degrees of watering and care, all to no avail. Maybe we just have too much sun everywhere? Speaking of sun, you might consider santolina.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.