Long House Plants Newsletter 2021

 Welcome to our fifteenth year at Long House Plants.  I’m not sorry to see the back of 2020!  I hope you were all able to stay safe.

I was, like many businesses shut last spring, which was frustrating as the weather was so glorious.  I was busy when we reopened with many customers telling me how thankful they were to have a garden and that their gardens had never looked so good.

It was a shame that I couldn’t open the garden last year but some of you may have seen me in my garden being interviewed by Joe Swift on ‘Gardener’s World’ in October, although it was filmed on a lovely sunny day in September. You can still see the feature on BBC iplayer until October 2021at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000npf9

Although we had a gorgeous spring and it was dry for several weeks, (I know, because I was watering a lot), the weather has been very wet over winter, with an exceptionally wet October.  I recorded 228.5mm (9 inches) that month.  From October to January inclusive we had 541.5mm (21.3 inches) of rain.  2020 was wet overall with 897mm (35.4 inches) of rain and was the wettest year since 2012 when we had 980mm (38.5 inches) of rain.

I am hoping to be able to share my garden and passion for plants this year if government policy allows.  I intend to open my garden to visitors on three dates for the National Garden Scheme (here’s the link to the Essex NGS booklet https://www.paperturn-view.com/?pid=MTQ143117&v=1.11) when the entrance fee of £6 per adult £3 per child (5-16 years old), children under 5 free, and the refreshment sales are donated to the NGS charity.  I hope that we will be able to serve refreshments.  The new ‘stars’ are Millionaire’s Shortbread and cheese and onion pastry rolls both of which I have tested extensively over the winter!  I was considering doing some cream teas – what do you think?

11 am – 4pm on Wednesday 7th July, 4th August and 8th September

 We are also opening on four dates for our customers when the entrance fee of £6 per adult £3 per child (5-16 years old) with children under 5 free.  The fee 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 19th June, 17th July, 14th August, and 18th September

Thanks to everyone that will be helping me for all of these events.  I could not do any of this without the generosity of the people who help with car parking, ticket sales, make cakes, serve teas as well as maintain and develop the garden.

 Once again we have 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


 The Camellias planted in the garden give months of interest with flowers on view from September to June.  The japonicas tend to peak late winter to mid spring.  I will have a few new Camellia japonica for sale this year; Camellia japonica ‘Ludgvan Red’ has single bright red flowers with showy yellow stamens, ‘Latifolia’ has semi-double carmine red flowers occasionally blotched white with yellow stamen, ‘Nuccio’s Jewel’ is a very showy variety with pale pink paeony form blooms shading to dark raspberry pink at the edges of the petals.

IMG_5765   Camellia japonica nuccios jewel DSC06614

‘Ludgvan Red’                  ‘Nuccio’s Jewel’

I have some new varieties of Caryopteris, which all have blue flowers late in the summer. Caryopteris x clandonensis Grand Bleu ‘Inoveris’ PBR (Plant Breeders Rights), ‘Heavenly Blue’ and ‘Kew Blue’.  Keeping with blue but flowering earlier in the year is Ceanothus ‘Blue Sapphire’ PBR which unusually for a Ceanothus only reaches around 1.2m (4 feet) tall.

caryopteris grande bleu  caryopteris heavenly blue  Caryopteris kew blue_MG_0603_resize

   Caryopteris ‘Grand Bleu’           ‘Heavenly Blue’                   ‘Kew Blue’

Ceanothus blue sapphire_MG_6070

Ceanothus ‘Blue Sapphire’

Many of you will, I hope, already own Coronilla valentina ssp. glauca ‘Citrina’.  It is such a lovely shrub; hardy, evergreen, flowers for ages through the winter, perfumed.  It’s not a tidy dense shrub, it has a more relaxed open habit.  This year I have Coronilla valentina ssp. glauca ‘Variegata’.  It’s similar but taller, and needs a more sheltered site such as a sunny wall. The foliage has a creamy yellow variegation and the flowers are a stronger yellow, it’s well worth finding room for either of these.

Coronilla citrina_MG_4121   IMG_5800

                           Coronilla ‘Citrina’               ‘Variegata’

Deutzia x elegantissima ‘Fasciculata’ is tolerant of most garden soils in sun to semi shade, reaches around 1.8m (6 feet) tall and has pretty star shaped pink flowers in summer.

 deutzia elegantissima fasciculata

Deutzia x elegantissima ‘Fasciculata’

I have a couple of different Grevillea this year; G x semperflorens, needs a very sheltered site or a cool conservatory, it has narrow needle like foliage and apricot spidery flowers over a long period.  G ‘Olympic Flame’ has pinky red flowers.  They both enjoy sun and drier soils.

IMG_5806    Grevillea olympic flame_MG_0663

               Grevillea x x semperflorens           ‘Olympic Flame’

Griselinia littoralis are very useful evergreen shrubs, they’re upright evergreen shrub, they can be clipped into a hedge, are used in floral art, are tolerant of dry soils, they’re quite dense and littoralis means ‘by the sea’ so are tolerant of salty winds.  G littoralis ‘Bantry Bay’ has a large cream splash in the middle of the leaves and gets around 2-2.5m tall. G littoralis ‘Green Horizon’ has plain green foliage and can reach 5-6m tall.

Griselinia litt bantry bayIMG_6471     Griselinia litt green horizon_MG_9006

                              ‘Bantry Bay’                   ‘Green Horizon’

I’ve got some shrubs which are not what you might expect!  A holly that isn’t prickly and looks more like box – Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’.  I also have a limited number of Ilex crenata Dark Green ‘Icoprins 11’ PBR which is a good substitute for box hedging. A Jasmine that isn’t a climber – Jasminum fruiticans is a shrubby variety that has scented bright yellow flowers in June.  Some honeysuckle that don’t climb; Lonicera X purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’ has small perfumed flowers in the winter and Lonicera tatarica ‘Hack’s Red’ has small red flowers in the summer.

ilex crenata golden gem 1a  IMG_5745

                      Ilex crenata ‘Golden Gem’          Dark Green

Jasminium fruiticansDSC01142  IMG_5761

                         Jasminum fruiticans       Lonicera ‘Winter Beauty’

lonicera hacks reda 4_2

Lonicera ‘Hack’s Red’

Teucrium fruticans are also known as ‘shrubby germander’ (fruticans means shrubby or bushy).  They originate from the Mediterranean so need a sheltered sunny position in the garden with well drained soil.  They have grey green foliage and mid blue flowers from mid-summer to autumn and the flowers are enjoyed by bees.  I will have ‘Azureum’, which reaches around 1-1.5m and ‘Compactum’ which reaches around 60cm.

Teuchrium fruiticans azureum_MG_8628   teuc fruit compactum

                        Teucrium ‘Azureum’               ‘Compactum’

I will have some Vestia foetida later in the year.  This fast growing, upright shrub has privet like foliage and lots of yellow dangling flowers in the summer a little bit like Fuchsia flowers, followed by a green seed pod a bit like an acorn  They come from Chile so enjoy a sunny spot in the garden with ordinary to well-drained soil.

Vestia foetidaDSC07826

Vestia foetida


It wasn’t until I started to write this that I realised just how many Agapanthus I have. New for this year are  ‘Flower of Love’, ‘Ice Blue Star’, and the very dark ‘Indigo Dreams’.  It’s much easier to compare varieties when they’re in flower, so come and have a look in my garden this summer.  Some varieties may look very similar when photographed but may have different sized flowers, may flower at different heights or at different times of year.   Some varieties, I have noticed have vivid yellow foliage at the start of winter which has been a welcome patch of colour in the Agapanthus border.

Agapanthus flower of love_MG_1056 Agapanthus ice blue star_MG_1050  Agapanthus indigo dreams_MG_8816

Agapanthus ‘Flower of Love’       ‘Ice Blue Star’           ‘Indigo Dreams’

 I’ve always liked Anemone nemorosa or ‘wood anemones’ and have propagated quite a few different varieties for this spring.  They include ‘Bowle’s Blue’, Bowles Purple’, Lady Doneraile, Leed’s Variety, Parlez Vous’ and ‘Royal Blue’.  In the wild they are found in deciduous woodland, in the garden, they will grow in semi shade or sun and are low growing rhizomatous deciduous perennials that flower in the spring.

Anemone nemorosa bowles blue DSC06058  anemone nemorosa bowles purple 6

                            ‘Bowle’s Blue’                     ‘Bowle’s Purple’

Anemone nemorosa lady doneraile_MG_3522   Anemone nemorosa leeds variety DSC06065

                        ‘Lady Doneraile’                 ‘Leed’s Variety’

Anemone nemorosa parlez vous DSC06068   Anemone nemorosa royal blue DSC05940

‘Parlez Vous’             ‘Royal Blue’

Helenium or ‘sneezeweeds’ have daisy like flowers from mid-summer to autumn.  ‘Baudirektor Linne’ has bright orange flowers, ‘Chelsey’ has bright yellow and orange flowers and ‘Waltraut’ has yellow flowers marked with terracotta, they all reach around 1m in flower.  They enjoy ordinary garden soil in sun to semi shade.

helenium waldetraut

Helenium ‘Waltraut’

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Bleeding Hearts’ is also known a ‘false sunflower’.  In the wild, they are found in north and south America.  ‘Bleeding Hearts’ has lots of bright scarlet flowers on dark stems with purple tinted foliage from summer to autumn.  The flowers take on shades of orange as they age.  They reach around 40-50cm (16-20 inches) in flower and grow well in sun to light shade in ordinary to dry garden soil

Heliopsis bleeding hearts_MG_0140

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Bleeding Hearts’

My obsession with Phlox continues, I will have several new paniculata varieties which will be available later in the year.  I have also got some different Phlox divaricata (also known as ‘wild sweet william’) this year; ‘Clouds of Perfume’ with pale lavender flowers, ‘May Breeze’ which has icy blue flowers and ssp laphamii ‘Chattahoochee’ which is probably my favourite, has pale lavender flowers with a striking magenta eye.  They’re all perfumed and flower in late spring to early summer.

phlox divaricata clouds of perfume  phlox divaricata may breeze (3)

                      ‘Clouds of Perfume’                  ‘May Breeze’

phlox divaricata chattahoochee


Salvia uliginosa ‘Ballon Azul’ is a new frost hardy variety of ‘bog sage’ and as the name suggests, it enjoys a damp area in the garden but is also happy in ordinary soil, in a sunny sheltered position.  It has loads of sky blue flowers from summer to autumn and reaches about 1m (3ft) tall

 Salvia ulignosa balon azul_MG_0467

Salvia uliginosa ‘Ballon Azul’

Sphaeralcea munroana ‘Newleaze Coral’ is a hardy deciduous perennial from America.  It has fuzzy grey green foliage and delicate coral flowers from summer to autumn.  It enjoys a sheltered site in full sun with gravel rich soil and good drainage.  It does not enjoy having wet roots in the winter.

 Sphaeralcea monroana newleaze coralDSC09713

Sphaeralcea munroana ‘Newleaze Coral’

Tradescantia ‘Blushing Bride’ has very bold variegated foliage and pink flowers that fade to white in the autumn.  It enjoys poor soil in ordinary to moist conditions.

 tradescantia blushing bride 1

Tradescantia ‘Blushing Bride’


There will be several new varieties this year as well as some old favourites.  Perfume is always important for me when choosing a rose but it’s a very personal thing, just because I like it, doesn’t mean to say that you will!  There are seven main types of rose perfume.  Damask rose, orris (very close to violet), apple, clove, nasturtium and lemon.  There are also lesser scents which include honey, wine and hyacinth.  The perfume is at its strongest in the morning and may change during the day or if you cut flowers and take them indoors.  The perfume is to attract pollinators and in roses and is usually most powerful when the blooms are half open.

Rosa blue for youDSC02281   rosa jacqueline du pre harwanna

                     Rosa ‘Blue for You’              JACQUELINE DU PRÉ

A couple of the new varieties are Rosa ‘Blue for You’, a floribunda rose with semi double lilac perfumed blooms with a yellow eye and  JACQUELINE DU PRÉ ‘Harwanna’ , a shrub rose which has masses of semi double white flowers that are gently flushed with pink, mid pink stamens and a delicate fragrance.


 Elymus magellanicus is also known as ‘blue wheat grass’.  It’s semi evergreen and clump forming with dramatic intense blue foliage reaching around 60cm (2 feet) tall.  It grows well in sun to semi shade in well drained soil and is happy in a pot.

elymus magellanicus 1f

 Elymus magellanicus

Melica uniflora f. albida is a hardy deciduous rhizomatous gently spreading grass with green leaves topped by white spikelets of airy branched flowers in early summer.  It generally reaches around 30cm (12in).

Melica uniflora f albida_MG_2223

Melica uniflora f. albida

Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ is also known as ‘Bowles’ golden grass’, it is a slowly spreading semi evergreen grass with golden foliage and glowers.  Best grown in shade in moist but well drained soil.

miilium effusum aureum

Milium effusum ‘Aureum’

I’ve got a few different Miscanthus sinensis coming along this year.  ‘Etincelle’ is one of the “zebra” type grasses with bands of variegation across the foliage.  ‘Gnome’ is a shorter variety, only reaching around 1m (3 feet) tall, with green foliage and pink flower plumes in late summer.  ‘Kleine Fontane’ or ‘small fountain’ has narrow foliage that turns orange red in autumn and reddish brown flowers in autumn that fade to silver in winter.  ‘Krater’ has fine leaves that turn red in the autumn and reddish flower plumes that turn silvery white in winter.

Miscanthus sinensis etincelles_MG_8594   Miscanthus sinensis gnome_MG_2135

               Miscanthus sinensis ‘Etincelle’             ‘Gnome’

miscanthus sinensis kleine fontane   Miscanthus sinensis krater_MG_8281

                              ‘Kleine Fontaine’                   ‘Krater’

Molinia caerulea ssp arundinacea ‘Mostenveld’ has green and white variegated foliage topped by arching stems of airy flowers in late summer.

Molinia mostenveldt_MG_1392

Molinia caerulea ssp arundinacea ‘Mostenveld’

New Panicum or ‘panic grasses’ are P virgatum ‘Kupferhirse’ which has blue green foliage with red tips and lots of airy panicles of smoky red flowers in late summer to autumn.  P virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ is again a deciduous grass, it starts the season with green foliage that turns purple red in the autumn.  It has clouds of pinky red flower heads over the foliage in late summer.

 Setaria macrostachya is an annual self-seeding grass.  It has broad green leaves and bristly reddish brown flower heads in late summer to autumn.  Always admired in the garden  and a BBC camerman’s favourite!  It is very useful for flower arrangers.

Setaria macrostachya_MG_6001

 Setaria macrostachya