Thursday, August 27, 2009


The climbing aconites have loved this years wet summer and are looking their best now.

Aconitum austroyunnanense appears late but has shot up 12' into a variegated philadelphus and is covered in bright blue flowers.

Aconitum pseudo laeve is more of a loller than a climber, it has reached about 3' and leans against adjoining shrubs.

The pick of the bunch for me is Aconitum bulbilliferum. I only bought it this year, but it has grown to at least 8' and is covered in hooded claret coloured flowers.

All my plants came from the fantastic Crug Farm nursery and all of them seem happier growing in cool moist shade.

They give a late summer lift to any shrub that is looking a bit dull at this end of the season.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It is often said that August is a 'difficult month' and so it is cheering to have some climbers that peak now.

Itea illicifolia is an evergreen lolling shrub that grows happily against a north wall, albeit a light one. The splendid catkins seem longer than ever this year after three wet summers. If you have the energy try to visit them in the late evening to enjoy the fantastic smell.

Codonopsis grey-wilsonii is a delicate herbaceous climber and probably the most 'weedable out' plant you could grow. The fine thin shoots appear quite late in the spring and only need a gentle nudge towards the host plant. Plant it in shade and make sure it doesn't dry out.
When the flowers appear they are quite out of proportion to the stems and deserves the closest inspection.
Campsis 'Mme Galen' is no shrinking violet but an exotic 'in your face' orange.
It likes as much sun as it can get but seems oblivious to winter cold, and will flower throughout the last weeks of the summer .