Long House Plants Newsletter 2018


Welcome to our twelfth year at Long House Plants!

Jean and I would like to thank everybody who supported us with our open garden days last year and making every open day, even the wet one, a success.  I am delighted to report that with the help of customers and friends, who were so generous with their contributions, about £3400 was raised for the NGS and over £1000 for the Salvation Army.  We also had several openings for group/club visits from here and abroad which were very enjoyable.  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  and 4pm on Wednesday 13th June, 11th July, 15th August and 12th 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 and 4pm on Saturday 23rd June, 21st July, 25th August, and 22nd September 

 Work goes on developing different areas of the garden and visitors will be able to see how it is progressing in the new woodland garden.  Paths are starting to be laid and the structural shrub and tree planting continues and there are plans to plant the new phlox border this summer.

A special event on Wednesday 5th September this year will be a one day workshop on Autumn Colour with a tour of the Garden and my observations on how to cultivate and use different plants to create autumn interest in the garden.  Places will be strictly limited to a maximum of 12 people at a cost of £45 per person.  If you are interested please contact us or see the details on our website.

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 will 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 tend to go through, review, propagate and grow different collections of our stock plants every 2-3 years, and last season we had the opportunity to look at the ornamental grasses.

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Avalanche’ is a variegated variety of feather reed grass, it is a hardy clump forming deciduous perennial with green leaves with a creamy white stripe down the centre of the leaf. There are upright flower stems reaching up to 1.5m (5ft) in June and July which persist through autumn, winter into early spring. It is very architectural and a favourite with designers.

We sold out of Carex phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’ very quickly last season as they are a real star in the garden.  This hardy evergreen clump forming sedge grass has long white edged leaves that radiate from the top of stems up to 45cm (18in) tall just like a sparkler. We have more to pot this spring for summer sales so if you missed out last year please ask us about availability.

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Carex phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’

We are pleased to offer three more varieties of Hakone grass this year.  They originate from damp rocky cliffs on mountains in Japan.  These graceful, slowly spreading, low, deciduous grasses will grow in sun or light shade and are wonderful in pots, rock gardens or as edging plants.  Hakenochloa macra ‘All Gold’ as the name suggests has gently arching golden yellow leaves reaching 40-50cm (16-20in) tall.  ‘Beni-kaze’ has green leaves that take on red tips during summer then turning shades of purple and red with the cold days of autumn.  ‘Nicolas’ is shorter at 30-40cm (12-16in) and is green leaved during summer with fiery orange red autumn colour.

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Hakenochloa macra ‘Nicolas’

Last spring we propagated varieties of Miscanthus which will be ready to pot on this spring for summer/autumn sales. Miscanthus oligostachyus ‘Nanus Variegatus’ is a very long name for such a little known, seldom offered but lovely deciduous clump forming perennial grass with narrow arching green and cream variegated leaves.  It has feathery buff white flowers above the foliage on stems about 80-100cm (32-39in) tall from late summer to early autumn.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Jubilaris’ is a hardy deciduous clump forming robust variety with broad leaves longitudinally striped and edged yellow, 2.1m tall and persistent cane like stems in winter.It provides wonderful background plant in our bog border.

The Molinia are one of the backbone collections in our grass garden and I love the subtle differences between varieties that give different effects in the garden.

Molinia caerulea ssp arundinacea ‘Karl Foerster’ is a form of tall purple moor grass with mounds of green leaves topped by arching stems up to 2.1m (7ft) tall of airy flowers in late summer. ‘Windspiel’ has a slender upright habit and airy golden yellow flowers up to 2.1m (7ft) tall in late summer to autumn, moving gracefully even in a very light breeze.  Molinia caerulea ssp. caerulea ‘Carmarthen’ is smaller growing with cream and mid green striped leaves and slightly arching stems of flowers 60-90cm tall in late summer to autumn.  ‘Heidezwerg’ has green basal foliage topped by upright stems of flowers in late summer up to 80cm (32in) tall.  ‘Moorflamme’ has mid green leaves topped by narrow upright divergent panicles of flowers up to 80cm (32in) tall.  All these varieties turn soft butter yellow in autumn.

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 We have added some different Crocosmia to our range this year including C. x crocosmiflora ‘Canary Bird’ with outward facing golden yellow flower from apricot buds on stems 60cm (24 in) tall. C x cros. ‘Coleton Fishacre’ with bronze tinted strap like leaves, soft apricot yellow flowers on stems 45cm (18in) tall, C x cros. ‘Queen of Spain’ has large clear orange flowers with a paler throat on stems 90 cm (36in) tall and the award winning C x croc. ‘Star of the East’ AGM has large clear orange flowers on stems up to 90cm (36in) tall. All these deciduous clump forming cormous perennials flower in summer.

I am rather fond of Erigeron and apart from a small collection of Erigeron glaucus which we normally sell I do have a few taller hybrids that I occasionally remember to propagate.  This year ready for late spring sales will be Erigeron ‘Adria’ producing mauve purple aster like daisy flowers on stems 60cm (24in) tall in early summer, ‘Karminstrahl’ bright pink daisy flowers 60cm (24in) tall, ‘Quakeress’ pale pink daisy flowers 45cm (18in) tall and ‘Schneewittchen’ white daisy like flowers on stems 45cm (18in) tall.  All do well in full sun in ordinary to well drained soil, are very drought tolerant once established, bee friendly and are good cut flowers.

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For those of you who have visited our garden in June you may have spotted the Geranium sanguineum collection in the gravel garden.  These easy to grow well behaved cranesbills are loved by bees and can flower for 2-3 months.  We have added two hard to come by varieties to the range, ‘Alpenglow’ with magenta purple flowers on plants about 25cm (10in) tall and ‘Rod Leeds’ with bright magenta flower on plants 40cm (16in) tall.  The differences are subtle in pots and more apparent once established in the garden.  There are a plethora of “new” copyright protected (PBR/PVR) Geraniums on the market, I try not to get too bogged down in growing a wide range of them but I do normally grow G. ‘Rozanne’ as it has such a long flowering season (May-October).  Geranium ‘Azure Rush‘ is a sport from it which has lighter blue flowers, is lower growing at about 20cm (8in) and is not quite as vigorous.

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We already offer a wide selection of Hemerocallis but I have had time this winter to go through some of the daylily collection in preparation for planting out with roses in a new garden that we are starting to develop.  We have just potted up a few more varieties that will be ready around June including ‘Cabellero’ an evergreen fragrant reblooming diploid day lily with orange red petals and orange yellow sepals giving a bicolour effect, flowers 15cm (6 in) across on stems 1m (39in) tall in July, ‘Cleopatra’ an evergreen diploid spider variant day lily with large pink melon with a red purple eyezone, flowers up to 13cm (5in.) across on stems 87cm  (34in) tall in June, ‘Concorde Nelson’ semi-evergreens diploid day lily with large unusual form crispate lavender pink flowers and a light yellow throat.  Flowers are up to 18cm (7in) across on stems 74cm (29in) tall in July-August.  ‘Droopy Drawers’ deciduous diploid unusual form cascade fragrant day lily with large 20.5cm (8in) red flowers with a gold midrib and a gold green throat on stems 137cm (54in) tall in July-August, ‘Easy Ned’ an evergreen diploid spider day lily with large fragrant greenish yellow flowers with a green throat, flowers 16cm (6.5in.) across on stems 1m (40in) tall in late August.  ‘Elizabeth Salter’ a semi-evergreen tetraploid day lily with large pink flowers with a green throat, flowers 14cm (5.5in) across on stems 56cm (22in) tall in July, re-blooming. ‘Firestorm’ deciduous diploid spider variant nocturnal day lily with bright orange-red flowers with a yellow central vein and a lime green throat, flowers 18cm (7in) across on stems 80cm (31in) tall in July-August, ‘May May’ a semi evergreen diploid re blooming fragrant day lily with very pale cream flowers with a green throat (9cm/3.5in) early to mid season 75cm (30 in) tall.

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‘Easy Ned’

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‘Elizabeth Salter’

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‘May May’

Shasta daisies are always popular and this year we have grown Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Lacrosse’ which has typical large white daisy flowers but is only about 30cm (12in) tall.  I grow Scottish lovage, Ligusticum scoticum between grasses in the garden as it is such a magnet for pollinating insects and gives a meadow “feel” and there are a few available this year.  It has taken some time but we have finally built up saleable stock of  the evergreen clump forming Lychnis ‘Hill Grounds’ a sterile hybrid campion with bright pink-red flowers on stems about 75 cm tall from May-October. Lovely.

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Ligusticum scoticum

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Lychnis ‘Hill Grounds’

We are still propagating more Phlox and among the new ones this year are Phlox paniculata ‘Anne’ with scented white flowers tinted with pink sometimes with pale pink rays on stems up to 75cm (30in) tall, ‘Blue Evening’ has scented lilac to blue flowers on upright stems 1.2m (4ft) tall in July-August, ‘Blue Moon’,lovely scented lilac to blue flowers on upright stems 90cm (3ft) tall from end June-August, ‘Europa’ has scented blush pink flowers with a rose pink eye on stems up to 70cm (28in) tall from end of June to beginning of September, ‘Herbstwalzer’ scented mid pink flowers with a red eye on upright stems up to 1.4m (55in) tall from  August to October, ‘Mies Copijn’ light pink flowers on upright stems up to 90cm (36in) tall from July to August ‘Septemberglut’ carmine red flowers on upright stems up to 75cm (30in) tall from July to August and ‘Windsor’ scented salmon pink flowers with a magenta eye in on stems 70cm (30in) tall.

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‘Blue Evening’

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‘Blue Moon’

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Rudbeckia are herbaceous, mostly perennial plants in the sunflower family from the USA where they are known as “black-eyed Susans” or “coneflowers”.  We normally sell R fulgida var sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ which has large golden yellow daisy flowers with black cone like centres on 60cm stems in late summer to autumn, it is easy to grow on our heavy clay soil and looks great with our asters and grasses.  We will be offering R. fulgida var speciosa sometimes called “the orange coneflower”. Basically it grows taller at 120-150 cm (4-5 ft) and is a tone more orange yellow.  I need the extra height to go with my taller Symphotrichum (syn aster) varieties.  The “cut leaf coneflower” Rudbeckia lacinata grows on wetter sites such as stream banks, moist woodland and floodplains and I find it a bit prone to slug damage in the spring, but it is worth growing it as the sombrero like yellow coneflowers tower above other plants in the autumn.  There will be some R lacinata ‘Juligold’ which flowers at about 1.8m (6ft) tall in the summer. R subtomentosa ‘Little Henry’ PBR is hardy clump forming deciduous perennial of upright habit with branching stems of yellow flowers with very narrow petals surround a brown central up to 90 cm tall from late summer to autumn.

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Which brings us on to my collection of autumn flowering asters or as they have now been re-named Symphotrichum. I find the new name too long to fit on our labels so for now I still use Aster.  I have such a large collection of New England astersthat it has become difficult to find different distinct varieties to add to the range, however I was able to buy some propagation material of the copyright protected variety Symphotrichum novae-angliae ‘Vibrant Dome PBR which I have yet to see in flower but is described as vibrant or raspberry pink.  I have been trying to get hold of this for several years as it is a sport from ‘Purple Dome’ and has the same compact bushy habit only growing 40-50 cm (16-20 in) tall.   I have been trying to grow more S ericoides varieties and hybrids as I like the profusion of dainty flowers and have added S ericoides ‘Cinderella’ with graceful sprays of small daisy-like white flowers flushed pale pink 80cm (31 in) tall in late September to October ‘Pink Cloud’ AGM light lilac pink 80cm (31in) tall.  S ‘Pixie Red Eye’ is an ericoides hybrid with sprays of small daisy-like deep red-purple flowers with soft orange middles on stems 89cm (32in) tall in late September to October.

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‘Pixie Red Eye’