Saturday, September 8, 2007

Gardening at 58.5˚N

Gardening at 58.5˚N

Always interesting to see what grows at the extremities or in places not normally associated with gardening, like Wick, where the RHS has just sent me off to lecture. It not particularly cold, in fact appearing to have a very long, maritime-influenced growing season. Wind is the overwhelming influence on gardening. Repeat – overwhelming.
Experience from other parts of Scotland and Sweden suggests that the high light values of April to August makes for very good perennial growth. In addition high rainfull and cool weather promotes vigorous growth – but with wind this may actually be bad news - more top-heavy soft growth to be battered to a brown mush. With shelter it is clearly possible to grow a huge range of plants – the little garden of the Castle of Mey shows what is possible, although they could achieve a lot more.
Much Mediterranean flora is surprisingly well adapted to north European coastal areas, the stiff twiggy growth and compact habit reduces wind damage, while the hairy or waxy leaves protect against salt spray and dessication. A small but perfect Cistus purpureus in the garden of my hostess in Wick suggests that this supposedly ‘tender’ genus could be made much more of. Montane South African flora should be worth trying too – montbretia appears to naturalise here with the gusto is does in Cornwall or Ireland, and it is well established that dierama does well by the coast. Agapanthus and schizostylis flourish too.
The principle that the further north you garden the more that ‘shade’ plants can or should be grown in full sun seems to hold true. Pulmonarias here make fantastic open border foliage plants, whereas they would be a mildewed clump of wilted leaves back home by late summer unless in reasonably moist shade. Cimicifuga looks lush in the open too, and aconitums don’t develop the stressed-looking leaves they often do back home.
Here are two plant lists, one was of species included at the Wick lecture, the second a list of plants used by Piet Oudolf in a very successful planting in a park in Sweden (at 59.5˚N).

Perennials that stand up for themselves
Wick and District Garden Club, 6.September.2007

plants featured:

Acanthus spinosus
aconitum species
Aquilegia vulgaris
Artemisia lactiflora ‘Guizhou’
Aruncus dioicus
Aster azureus
Aster cordifolius ‘Little Carlow’
Astrantia maxima varieties eg. ‘Claret’, ‘Hadspen Blood’
Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’
Cimicifuga ramosa ‘Brunette’
Cynara cardunculus
Deschampsia cespitosa
Echinacea purpurea
Echinops ritro
Eryngium yuccifolium
Eupatorium fistulosum
Eupatorium purpureum ‘Atropurpureum’
Euphorbia cyparissias
Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’
Geranium sylvaticum ‘Birch Lilac’
Helenium varieties
Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’
Iris sibirica
Knautia macedonica
Lysimachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’
Lythrum salicaria
Molinia caerulea
monarda varieties
Persicaria polymorpha
Phlomis russeliana
Physostegia virginiana
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’
Salvia nemorosa/ x superba vars.
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Tanna’
Sedum spectabile
Stachys officianalis
thalictrum species
verbascum species
Verbena bonariensis
Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’

Piet Oudolf’s planting list for Dreampark, Enköping, Sweden

Acanthus hungaricus
Achillea 'Credo'
Achnatherum brachytricha
Achnatherum cal.'Lemperg'
Amsonia hubrichtii
Amsonia tab.var.salicifolia
Anemone levellei
Anemone 'Pamina'
Asarum europaeum
Aster 'Blue Star'
Aster divaricatus
Aster 'Little Carlow'
Astilbe 'Pupurlanze'
Astilbe 'Purpurlanze'
Baptisia leucantha
Briza media 'Limouzi'
Carex muskingumensis
Chaerophyllum hirs.'Roseum'
Cimicifuga simplex 'James Compton'
Crambe cordifolia
Datisca cannabina
Descampsia 'Goldtau'
Dianthus carthusianorum
Diarrhena japonica
Echinacea 'Green Edge'
Echinacea 'Rubinglow'
Elsholtzia stauntonii
Epimedium grandiflorum
Epimedium 'Lilac Seedling'
Epimedium 'Rose Queen'
Epimedium sulphureum
Eryngium bourgatii
Euphorbia griff.'Dixter'
Festuca mairei
Filipendula venusta 'Magnifica'
Galega orientalis
Geranium phaeum
Geranium phaeum 'Album'
Geranium phaeum 'Springtime'
Geranium 'Sirak'
Geranium soboliferum
Geranium soboliferum
Geranium 'Summer Fair'
Geranium wlassovianum
Gillenia trifoliata
Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis
Hakonechloa macra
Helleborus orientalis hybrids
Hemerocalis citrina x ochroleuca
Hemerocallis 'Little Grapette'
Hemerocallis 'Pardon Me'
Hemerocallis 'Princess Blue Eyes'
Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
Hosta 'Blue Angel'
Hosta 'Moody Blues'
Hosta 'White Triumphator'
Kirengeshoma palmata
Knautia macedonica
Liatris spicata 'Alba'
Limonium latifolium
Lunaria rediviva
Lythrum 'Blush'
Lythrum virgatum
Lythrum 'Zigeunerblut'
Molinia caerulea 'Moorhexe'
Molinia 'Edith Dudzus'
Molinia 'Heidebraut'
Molinia lit.'Transparent'
Monarda 'Ou Charm'
Monarda 'Ou Charm'
Nepeta latifolia
Nepeta latifolia
Nepeta subsessilis
Origanum 'Rosenkuppel'
Papaver or. Beauty of 'Livermere'
Persicaria bist.'Hohe Tatra'
Persicaria polymorpha
Phlomis samia
Phlomis taurica
Phlomis tub.'Amazone'
Phlox mac.'Delta'
Potentilla nepalensis
Potentilla x hopwoodiana
Pulmonaria 'Dora Bielefeld'
Rhazia orientalis
Rodgersia aesculifolia
Rodgersia 'Die Anmutige'
Rodgersia 'Die Stolze'
Rodgersia pinnata 'Superba'
Rodgersia 'Rothaut'
Rodgersia 'Rotlaub'
Rudbeckia occidentalis
Saguisorba tenuifolium red
Salvia 'Amethyst'
Salvia 'Blauhugel'
Salvia glutinosa
Salvia 'Smouldering Torches'
Sanguisorba C.D.C.
Sanguisorba canadensis
Sanguisorba menziesii
Sanguisorba 'Tanna'
Saponaria 'Max Frei'
Scabiosa lucida
Scabiosa ochroleuca pink form.
Scutellaria incana
Sedum 'Iceberg'
Sedum 'Matrona'
Sedum 'Munstead Red'
Sedum 'Purple Emperor'
Sedum telephium ssp.maximum
Selinum wallichianum
Serratula seoanei
Sesleria autumnalis
Sesleria nitida
Sidalcea 'My Love'
Smilacina racemosa
Stachys monieri 'Hummelo'
Stachys monieri 'Rosea'
Stachys nivea
Stachys 'Spitzweg'
Strobilanthus atropurpureus
Thalictrum 'Elin'
Thalictrum polygamum
Thalictrum punctatum
Tricyrtis formosana
Trifolium rubens
Trycyrtis formosana
Uvularia grandiflora
Veratrum nigrum
Verbesina alternifolia
Vernonia crin.'Mammuth'
Veronica 'Anna'
Veronica gent.'Pallida'