Thursday, March 29, 2012

Loropetalum chinense var. Rubrum......Fringe Flower

........Flowering now in the woody corner of the garden at Cortijo Azahar is this
Loropetalum chinense, sometimes called the fringe flower,  a beautiful and versatile shrub that is a member of the witch hazel family, Hamameliadaceae,  from China and the Himalayas. 

 Flowering is heaviest in the spring but sporadic flowers are likely to occur at anytime of the year.

The versatility of Loropetalum is that it can be grown in mild coastal climates in light shade to full sun, yet can tolerate the cooler winter temperatures and heat associated with other regions.                                                                                                                                                         A primary difference in the plants grown in these extremes is whether the plant remains evergreen or not.  Here on the south cost of Spain it is evergreen and given the right conditions will grow into a graceful small tree if allowed.

 Plant in neutral to slightly acidic soil and irrigate occasionally - plants prefer it moist but not wet.

 A flashy new variety named 'Sparkling Plum' that I found on the internet but would I like it in my garden?   

 Oh you just bet I would!       

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pericallis hybrida......Florist's Cineraria

One of the many vivid colourful hybrids on sale in the garden centres in March down here on the Costa Tropical of  Andalucia.

See how it grows..........

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jasminum humile 'Revolutum'....... Yellow scented Jasmine

  Jasminum  humile, belonging to the Oleaceae family is home in  the dry valleys of the Himalayas, evergreen in sheltered positions although cold winds can cause some leaf loss, compensated for by the green stems which give an evergreen effect. 


 Plants are bushy and make very beautiful free-standing shrubs, but if grown against a wall the stems will climb and may be trained in.
The richly coloured,  scented flowers are borne on old stems and the tips of new growth, so providing a long season of colour.
 'Revolutum' has the best colour and strongest fragrance.
The Royal Horticultural Society gave the cultivar its Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1976.

One of the delights of March, on some days, the yellow blooms of the highly scented,  jasmine flowers can sometimes be seen before the delicious scent reaches the nostrils but on other, more fortunate times,  it is the precious scent that one becomes aware of as one begins the ‘TreeTops Walk’  to the top of the old water tank here in the Gardens of Cortijo Azahar.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Euphorbia hypericifolia......Diamond Frost

Flowering now in the garden, this vigorous spurge has produced it’s tiny white flowers, non-stop, for more than a year .

 The hybrid, Diamond Frost  produces masses of pure white bracts above finely textured, apple green foliage. It adds stunning texture and color to a border in full sun or partial shade.

It also softens walkways and walls. It is a perfect groundcover or a small perennial specimen. It is heat and drought tolerant, but will do best in partial shade, if you are planting near stone. It will tell you it is stressed by dropping some of its leaves and flowers.
The plant grows to about 2 feet tall and wide. From a distance, it looks just like a soft white cloud, but in reality its as tough as any euphorbia. It takes sun, but also thrives in part shade, making it perfect for lighting up a dark garden area.
Diamond Frost is fast growing, and one small 4 inch container will grow to fill a two foot area within one season. Because the plant is airy, its fine to plant it close with other plants to fill any empty space.
This plant is extremely low-maintenance, an absolute workhorse in the garden, blooming almost the entire planting season and with no deadheading needed. Don't let its delicate appearance fool you - it's exceptionally resistant to both heat and frost. 

All  euphorbias have slightly toxic sap; more an irritant than a poison.