Postcards from Slough
Postcards from Slough

Flora

Blue passion flower

Passiflora caerulea

Blue passion flowers, from the family Passiforaceae, are hardy climbing plants with dark green leaves. They grow spiral tendrils to facilitate their climbing habit and their rather complicated flowers are up to 8cm diameter are white with blue, purple and green filaments. They bear orange ovoid fruit in autumn and winter.

 

Passion flowers grow best in full sun or partial shade on a sheltered trellis or pagoda and in moist but not saturated soil. They can climb to a height of 8-12m which can be attained in 5-10years, and can spread of 2-4m.

Other elements of a passion flower right to left, top to bottom: a tendril for clinging as the plant climbs; fruit emerging from the flower; the fruit and the fruit halved.

Honeysuckle

Lonicera periclymenum Belgica

Photographed mid-August, the flower has little fragrance

 

Lonicera periclymenum or Honeysuckle is a species of flowering climbing plant. It climbs by twining around objects and can become rather scruffy. In the summer it produces sweetly fragrant flowers. It likes full sun or partial shade.

 

To care for it prune dead wood when necessary. The plant is usually pollinated by moths or long-tongued bees and develops bright red berries. It can grow to a height 180cm in 5 years.

This photo of the same flower head was taken the very next day and it now pongs but in a very beautiful way!

Ivy

Hedera helix ‘Goldheart’

Hedera helix ‘Goldheart’ is a decorative evergreen ivy. It has green leaves with golden-yellow splashes in the centres although some leaves may remain green only. Because of the bright yellow it is an ideal climber to grow in shady areas especially as the colour is there all year round.

 

There is very little aftercare other than pruning to keep the growth in check. It can be pruned any time of the year although early spring is probably best as this is before new growth. If grown on a fence it is recognised as a good defence against intruders since the branch will pull away should anyone try to climb over it.

 

Height and spread: up to 8m

Dwarf bamboo

Arundinaria viridistriata (possibly)

Bamboo is a form of grass. It has hollow stiff canes with long leaves. It is best to grow a dwarf variety in a pot or an isolated bed. The bamboo in my back garden grows within a circular bed created out of a concrete kerb set in the lawn about 12 inches deep.

 

I keep it trimmed to about 2ft tall and I comb it with a lawn rake to remove dead leaves before mowing the lawn with a rotary mower. The mower collects the mess made.

Some time ago I planted some miniature bamboo in a container in the front garden thinking that, like the bamboo in the back garden, it wouldn’t spread. By September 2014 it had spread almost all the way along the garden and, along with convolvulus which had crept in from next door’s garden, it had created a jungle.

 

The bamboo wouldn’t die from any weed killer so I had to systematically dig the soil out to a garden spade depth. The soil needed to be sieved and all roots had to be removed. I would then store the soil which I mixed with some sharp sand and peat into bins to store until I had enough room in the bed to replace it.

 

It took about a week and when it was done I planted new plants in the fresh new soil. The moral to this is that if you want a jungle, plant bamboo, if you don’t want a jungle, don’t plant bamboo.

Mexican orange blossom

Choisya Ternata ‘Sundance’

A cultivated evergreen shrub with bright yellow leaves maturing to light green. Produces white almond-scented flowers in early summer. Good in any reasonable soil in sun or part shade. Height and spread 1·2 x1·2m.

Aucuba

Aucuba Japonica Crotonifolia’

Evergreen laurel with green leaves that have heavy blotches of yellow. Produces small purple flowers in spring and bright red berries in autumn. Plant in any good well-drained soil in full sun or shade. Ideal for hedges, mixed borders and pots. Height and spread 2 x 2m.

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