Flowers that hang like jewels

Flowers that hang like jewels

Enkianthus campanulatus is a plant grown for its clusters of delicate, bell-shaped, creamy yellow flowers with pinkish-red margins and toothed matt green leaves, which turn vivid shades of orange and red in the autumn. This attractive, spreading shrub is renowned for its outstanding autumn colour. Enkianthus is a genus of about 10 species of mainly deciduous shrubs that occur in the woodlands of the Himalayas to Japan.

It grows to about 15 feet tall in its native habitat. It produces drooping flowers in late spring and early summer.

The plant is fully hardy and will grow in moist humus rich acid soil that is well drained.

It likes full sun in spring and autumn with slight shade in summer. Apply a thick mulch of peat or well rotted leaf-mould around the base of the plant in spring. The plant requires little pruning, remove dead and diseased wood and branches that are crossing over each other after the plant has flowered. Enkianthus campanulatus will grow into a small shrub about 6 feet tall with a spread of about 4 feet. The plant is trouble free though yellowing of the leaves indicates chlorosis due to the presence of lime in the soil.

Enkianthus is an ideal plant for a shady woodland edge.

Clianthus is an evergreen trailing or climbing shrub in full flower now. A native of New Zealand, it may look tropical but it will survive in mild areas. Clianthus puniceus (Lobster Claw) has graceful pinnate green leaves and unusual red flowers that resemble lobster’s claws. Grows in full sun or dapple shade, in a well drained soil. Give it a thick mulch of leaf mould in the autumn.

It is not very hardy, needs shelter from cold drying winds and will tolerate frost to about -7˚C. If it is cut back by frost it often sprouts again from the base in spring, if it was protected by a deep mulch. Prune back after flowering, cut back the flowering shoots by about a third. Clianthus puniceus ‘Albus’ produces white flowers. Plant in the autumn.

Halimum is a dwarf shrub of semi-erect habit with linear leaves and golden yellow flowers in spring. These saucer-shaped flowers resemble rock roses like cistus and helianthemum. The plant looks best at the front of a mixed or shrub border or in a large rock garden. It flowers best in regions with long hot summers. It requires full sun and good drainage, it is a good seaside plant.

Soak the root-ball before planting, in spring, water regularly until established. The plant is frost hardy but needs shelter from cold north and east winds. Cut back dead branches in spring, avoid hard pruning.

Halimum ‘Susan’ produces bright yellow flowers with bold purple centres.

Halimum umbellatum has white flowers in early summer.

Herbaceous plant of the week

Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding heart) is one of the most graceful plants in flower now in the herbaceous border. The plant produces fern like leaves on stems up to 2 feet tall. Heart shaped flowers hang from the stem in early summer. Dicentra spectabilis produces rose pink flowers tipped with white while the variety ‘Alba’ has pure white flowers. The plant is a native of China and likes a well drained moist soil in sun or partial shade. After flowering the delicate foliage begins to fade and can leave a hole in the herbaceous border, where pots of summer flowering bulbs can be plunged in to fill the gap.

Dicentras do not like disturbance of their fragile roots so digging around dicentras can kill them

Jobs for the week

Start to plant up hanging baskets and patio containers for summer colour.

Garden Club Notices

On the Tuesday May 10, meeting of the Limerick Flower & Garden Club Richard Hasplam will be giving a demonstration as part of the gala evening. The evening will be held at the Greenhill hotel on the Ennis Road and start at 8:00pm.

Boyce’s Garden at Mountrenchard, Foynes, Co Limerick is open daily to the public.