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Alan Gray Talk - "Weird & Wonderful Plant Combinations" 29th March 2019

Bawdeswell Garden centre was today delighted to welcome the amazing Horticulturalist, Writer and Radio broadcaster Alan Gray from East Rushton Old Vicarage Gardens. He entertained us all with an extremely articulate talk, fully illustrated regarding unusual planting combinations for our gardens.
Starting with the option of sowing inexpensive annual seeds such as sweet peas, nasturtiums and good old fashioned marigolds; to provide that blast of rich colour throughout the borders all summer long.
Alan moved on swiftly to plants suitable for a partly-shaded area. This included foliaged favourites such as Hostas, Pittosporums, Pulmonarias, Japanese Acers, Carex sedges and Arum lilies-aka Zantedeschia aethiopica.
Alan also offered planting tips to create good colour combinations, including using lime coloured plants to tone down usually clashing colour combinations. By adding a splash of ‘plant’ lime, colours normally creating a clashing mix such as reds and purples , all will appear harmonious with this mix to create a more pleasing vista.
To create those show stopping displays we normally only associate with horticultural television programmes, Alan advised that we use plants to create levels of interest from the ground upwards. And thereby maximising the longevity garden interest, but also utilising the garden space to its’ highest capacity. So think about combining the winter coloured Dogwood bushes (green, red and orange stemmed varieties) with under-plantings of variegated foliage such as Ivies and variegated Yuccas. White stemmed Rubus cockburnianus and white heathers will do a similar job. These white edged/flowered beauties light up any dark corner found in most winter garden. Equally they will cope with most weather conditions and just keep looking good, without any effort.
From Bawdeswell Garden centre a big thank you to Alan Gay for a very informative and entertaining talk. It has given us all food for colour thought!

Annual climbers:
Canary creeper-yellow flowers
Nasturtiums-Tropaeolum majus
Cup & saucer plant-Cobaea scandans
Morning Glory-Ipomea Morning Glory
Annual sweet peas-Laythrus odoratus

Unusual climbers:
Lobster claw plant-Clianthus puniceus-pink/white
Scottish Flame creeper-Topaeolum speciosum-red flowers Jun-Sept.
Crimson Glory Vine -Vitis congnetiea-flame red autumn leaves.
Trumpet Creeper-Campsis-self-clinging-trumpet flowers late summer early autumn (red,orange yellow) H4
Oriental bittersweet-Celastrus orbiculatus hermaphroditus –twinning climber with pale green insignificant flowers, yet yellow fruits which split open revealing scarlet seeds. H6

Unusual shrubs:
Judas tree-Cercis siliquastrum-cerise flowers
Early Stachyurus-Stachyurus praecox (AGM)-small tree with pale lemon yellow bell shaped flowers on bare-wood late winter to early spring. H5.
Laurel leaved flowering currant-Ribes laurifolium Amy Doncaster-pale yellow flowers Feb/March Fragrant. (Dioecious plants amle/female on separate plants)
Weeping Butterfly bush-Rostinucula dependens-D arching shrub with grey green leaves & Pink-purple racemes of flowers late summer early autumn (from salvia family H3-H4)
Butterfly shrub-Buddleja colvilei ‘Kewensis’- Large D shrub with pendant bunches of pink fragrant flowers with white throats in early summer. H4.
Chilean Bell Flower-Lapageria rosea (AGM) A twining climber producing narrow red bell flowers in autumn. H3
Fruit tree espaliers/ Ceanothus/Wisteria/Clematis/Schizophragma hydrangiodes.