Long House Plants Newsletter 2019

Welcome to our thirteenth year at Long House Plants!

2018 was a difficult year in the nursery and garden – the ‘beast from the east’ made a couple of appearances in March and put quite a dampener on our open weekend.  We then had the hottest summer since records began and I spent a lot of time watering plants.  The hot dry weather was very stressful for the plants and me as I got very hot and bothered!  I’m hoping for a more average year for the weather in 2019 – not too hot, not too cold and with some gentle rain spread around.

The open garden days have continued to be great fun.  We’ve been opening for 3 years now and have raised just over £10,000 for the National Garden Scheme and the Salvation Army have raised over £3,000, so thank you to everybody who has helped us.  We could not do any of this without the generous support of the people who help with car parking, ticket sales, make cakes, serve teas as well as maintain and develop the garden.

We are pleased to be able to share our garden and passion for plants once again and we are opening our garden to visitors on four dates for the National Garden Scheme when the entrance fee of £5 per adult £3 per child (5-16 years old) children under 5 free and the refreshment sales are donated to the NGS charity.


11 am – 4pm on Wednesday 12th June, 17th July, 14th August and 11th September


We are also opening on four dates for our customers when the entrance fee of £5 per adult £3 per child (5-16 years old) with children under 5 free will be retained by us to help pay for the upkeep of the garden. Refreshments sold on the four following dates will be provided by our local Salvation Army who will keep the money raised.


  11 am – 4pm on Saturday 22nd June, 27th July, 24th August, and 21st September 


Work goes on developing new areas of the garden and visitors will be able to see how work is progressing in the new woodland garden.  Paths have been laid and the structural shrub and tree planting continues with plans to add to the new phlox/hydrangea border this summer. Planning and preparation work continues in the new rose garden but more work needs to be done to clean the soil of perennial weed before any planting can be done. Preparation is everything. We are also clearing behind the sales area for new propagation/weaning greenhouses and a small extension to our house.

We have again added some new and different varieties of plants to our range for this year, only some of which are mentioned in this newsletter as it is a long list!  They appear on www.longhouse-plants.co.uk as they become available throughout the year.  If you are looking for something and you cannot see it on the website or in the nursery, it’s always worth asking because I do have a habit of hoarding plants!


Our opening hours – from the beginning of March to the end of September, every Friday and Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm and Bank Holidays 10am – 5pm, or by arrangement; via the website or 01708 371719.


We look forward to seeing you at the nursery this year.                                              Tim & Jean



I have a young batch of a hybrid Carolina allspice, Calycanthus ‘Venus’ in production which will be available late spring/mid summer. This medium sized deciduous shrub with glossy green leaves carries large perfumed creamy white flowers with burgundy red central markings from summer to early autumn with yellow autumn leaf colour.

I have a bit of a thing for brooms (Cytisus) which I just love for spring colour. These technically deciduous shrubs have tiny leaves and green wiry stems that make the shrubs appear evergreen and are usually smothered in small pea flowers that bumble bees adore in April-May.  New to our range this year are C. ‘Dorothy Walpole’ which has rose pink flowers and C. ‘Eastern Queen’ with bright yellow flowers.

Daphne are always sought after desirable shrubs as many bear highly scented flowers.  They are also usually difficult to propagate and they resent being cut back, so do not like having cuttings taken from mother plants on a regular basis.  To overcome this Daphne are sometimes propagated by tissue culture in laboratories which favours large scale wholesale producers, so I am not always able to get hold of young plants to grow on.  This year we can offer a limited number of three different desirable Daphne which are available this Spring.  Daphne bhloua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ isa hardy evergreen upright shrub slowly reaching 2m high by 1.2 m wide with highly fragrant purplish pink to white flowers in late winter to early spring.  Daphne odora ‘Rebecca’ is a sport from the classic dwarf evergreen shrub D. odora ‘Aureomarginata’ and has a broad yellow margin to the glossy green leaves and highly perfumed pink flowers from late winter to spring.  Daphne PERFUME PRINCESS ‘Dapjur01′ is a copyright protected variety bred by the renowned New Zealand plantsman Mark Jury and is a hybrid between D. bhloua and D. odora.  It is a hardy compact evergreen shrub slowly reaching 1mx1m with highly fragrant pale pink to white flowers along the stem in late winter to spring.

Daphne bholua jacqueline postill_MG_8707

‘Jacqueline Postill’

Daphne rebecca_MG_9589



When I first started working in horticulture in the 70′s Chinese witch hazel Hamamelis mollis was highly regarded as a winter flowering shrub for the fragrant golden yellow ribbon like flowers carried on bare wood mid to late winter. It needs a bit of room but is a joyful sight in winter.

Hamamelis mollis_MG_9401

Hamamelis mollis

I like Hydrangea. Not everybody does, but I do.  There has been a resurgence in breeding in recent years with most varieties being copyright protected and aimed at impulse sales for the pot plant florist/garden centre trade.  We are in the process of planting out a collection of older varieties in the new woodland garden with the mopheads partnered with phlox and visitors to the garden will be able to see the progress and perhaps share my regard. Hydrangea macrophylla Early Blue ‘Hba 202911′ PBR is as the name suggests, an early flowering lavender blue flowered (or lavender pink, depending on your soil) new copyright protected hortensia (mop head) variety.  An old variety new to my range this year is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Pia’ a dwarf/miniature mop head variety only growing 30-60 cm tall with small heads of deep rosy pink flowers in summer.

I have a bit of a thing for varieties of Prunus incisa, a dwarf species of cherry from the slopes of Mount Fuji, Japan.  As they grow as small shrubby trees they are ideal choices for smaller gardens. P.incisa ‘Mikinori’ carries masses of semi double white flowers opening pale pink with a pink eye before the leaves emerge in early spring, P. incisa ‘Paen’ has pale pink flowers with red centre.  Both varieties have green toothed leaves that turn orange red in autumn.  Also from Japan is Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso‘ a pink flowered “Pussy Willow” selected in Japan by a cut flower producer.  This easy to grow shrub is a male form so it is safe to grow in the garden as it does not sow around and is excellent for cutting in late winter for flower arranging.

Salix mount aso_MG_9579

‘Mount Aso’

I don’t know why but for some reason I have overlooked growing “cotton lavenders” in recent years, so I thought it was time to remedy that.  Santolina rosmarinifolia ssp rosmarinifolia ‘Primrose Gem’ is a dwarf hardy evergreen shrub with aromatic bright green cut leaves and yellow ‘bobble’ flowers held above the foliage in summer.  Santolina chamaecyparissus ‘Pretty Carol’  has small aromatic grey-green leaves and pale lemon button like flowers in mid to late summer.

Santolina primrose gem_MG_6089

‘Primrose Gem’

We do offer a good selection of “christmas box” and I have a collection planted in the garden to take cuttings from however Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Winter Gem’ PBR is a copyright protected variety that it is illegal for me to propagate and I have to try and buy young plants in and grow on.  I am pleased to be able to offer some plants of this variety this spring.  It is a hardy evergreen shrub with shiny green leaves spreading slowly by suckers.  Small very fragrant pink tinged white flowers from red buds in winter followed by black berries.



 Bamboos are wonderful plants but do need careful consideration before committing to planting them in a garden. They generally spread by underground running shoots and they may not respect borders or even boundaries.  There are many genera and species from around the world and not all are hardy in the UK.  They can vary in eventual height, vigour, cane size and colour, leaf size and colour, wind tolerance, growth habit.  Different bamboos can be described as “running” or “clumping” which usually refers to the speed of spread.  Generally a “clumping” bamboo is deeper rooted than a “spreading” bamboo and although it does spread, it does so at a slower rate.  A problem can arise when using the term “clump” as it is a botanical term to describe how the plant grows and may differ from the public’s expectation of what a clump is and how wide it can be.  For example as a nurseryman and gardener I would consider an established plant of black stemmed bamboo Phyllostachys nigra 3m wide as a small clump. A running bamboo could cover a hillside!

Visitors to the garden may have noticed that the young plants in the bamboo walk are nearly all planted within bamboo barrier which is buried 50 cm deep in the ground.

I did manage to propagate a few Yushania maculata, a chinese species with blue grey young culms and deep shiny green long tapering leaves growing 3-5m tall with an upright habit.  This makes it very suitable for screening or “hedging” if you can cope with its spreading habit. It is certainly wind tolerant and is coping very well with the very dry growing conditions it has in the garden.

Yushana maculata_MG_4561

Yushania maculata

Fargesia robusta ‘Cambell’  is a non-invasive variety which has slender green canes banded with papery white sheaths and small lance shaped bright green leaves. It is tolerant of sun or shade and has an upright habit making it suitable for hedging work and grows up to 3-4m (10-13ft) tall.



 We have added a few new varieties to our range of scented roses and these will be available from the end of May.  Rosa AUDREY WILCOX ‘Frywilrey’ a very fragrant large fully double mid pink Hybrid Tea, touched with peach at the centre and a silvery reverse.  ‘Blue for You’ a semi double lilac blue Floribunda with a yellow eye, BUXOM BEAUTY ‘Korbilant’ large perfumed bright magenta pink HT.  DIAMOND EYES ‘Wekwibypur’ a miniature with lots of small deep purple semi double perfumed blooms with a white eye and yellow stamens.  DOUBLE DELIGHT ‘Andeli’ a bicoloured HT with creamy white centre and rosy red edges.  ‘Dusky Maiden’ a Floribunda with masses of perfumed deep velvety crimson single blooms with yellow stamens and dark green disease resistant foliage.  ‘Ingrid Bergman’ a beautiful fragrant rich red bloom HT, LE ROUGE ET LE NOIR ‘Delcart’ a very deep crimson richly scented HT with velvety shading to dramatic darker reds.  LILAC BOUQUET ‘Chewlilacdays’, thornless climber with clusters of semi double perfumed lilac pink flowers and yellow stamens.  NIGHT OWL ‘Wekpurosot’ can be grown as a bush or short climber, semi double fragrant deep purple flowers, a white centre, yellow stamens and a strong spicy fragrance.  ROYAL BROMPTON ROSE (YVES PIAGET) ‘Meivildo’ a mid pink fully double perfumed HT with a frilly edge to the petals, some blooms can have purple shading, the new foliage has purple tones.  SHROPSHIRE STAR ‘Chewsummit’ a climbing rose with semi double burnt orange fragrant blooms and orange stamens.  STARLIGHT SYMPHONY ‘Harwisdom’ a climbing rose, Rose of the Year 2019. Healthy glossy green foliage shows off the perfumed white semi double blooms which have deep yellow stamens, SWEET PARFUM DE PROVENCE ‘Meiclusif‘ HT with large cupped double perfumed mid pink flowers, WILD ROVER ‘Dichirap‘ a highly fragrant floribunda with semi double deep mauve blooms, cream eye and yellow stamens massed in sprays.

Rosa blue for youDSC02281

‘Blue for You’

rosa double delight

‘Double Delight’

Rosa dusky maidenDSC08820

‘Dusky Maiden’

Rosa ingrid bergmanDSC08174

‘Ingrid Bergman’



 It was a poor flowering year for Crocosmia last year, just too dry for too long but I did manage to go through the collection this autumn and have propagated over 20 varieties which will be available once the weather warms up.  C. x crocosmiflora ‘Goldfinch’ has tomato red and golden yellow flowers with small purple red spots on the inside, C. x cro. ‘Honey Angels’ has yellow flowers , C. x cro. NOVA ‘Dragonfire’ has bright red yellow throated flowers, C. x cro. ‘Star of the East’ large clear orange flowers.

crocosmia honey angels 1j

‘Honey Angels’

Crocosmia dragonfly_MG_9076


Crocosmia star of the east_MG_8520

‘Star of the East’

Due to the exceptionally difficult growing conditions last year I did not have as much time as I would have liked to go through some of the collections of perennials.  I did manage  to work on my Iris sibirica collection and have about 30 varieties to offer this spring.  These are tough perennials that grow in sun or light shade and cope with the extremes of our heavy clay – waterlogged soil in winter and concrete like soil in summer.  The long linear fresh green leaves appear in spring and carry stems of flowers for 4-5 weeks in May/early June.  The colour, shape, size and height of flower can vary between variety. After flowering the leaves look like really good ornamental grasses, the effect continuing through the winter until they are cut back in February just before the new growth emerges.  The upright habit means you can nearly always squeeze one in somewhere and control spreading by division. Lovely plants!  ‘Dawn Waltz’ has pale lavender pink flowers with cream yellow markings, ‘Dirigo Black Velvet’ has dark indigo blue flowers with yellow markings, ‘Helen Astor’ has deep fuchsia pink flowers.  ‘Isabelle‘ is pale creamy yellow, ‘Shaker’s Prayer’ pale soft lilac mauve with white markings on the falls, ‘Summer Sky’ narrow pale blue and yellow flowers, ‘Superact’ large purple blue flowers.

Iris sibirica dawn waltz_MG_1253_resize

‘Dawn Waltz’

Iris sibirica dirigo black velvet_MG_7799_resize

‘Dirigo Black Velvet’

Iris sibirica helen astor_MG_2515_resize

‘Helen Astor’

Iris sibirica isabelle_MG_8739_resize


Iris sibirica shakers prayer_MG_7437_resize

‘Shaker’s Prayer’

Iris sibirica summer skies_MG_7365_resize

‘Summer Sky’

Iris sibirica superact_MG_2270_resize