Long House Plants Newsletter 2017

Welcome to our eleventh year at Long House Plants!

I would like to start by saying a big thank you to everybody who supported us with our open garden days last year and for making every open day a success. I am delighted to report that with the help of customers and friends, who were so generous with their contributions, about £3600 was raised for the NGS and £1000 for the Salvation Army. The weather was lovely every time the garden was open and the cakes were wonderful.

We really enjoyed sharing our garden and passion for plants so once again we are opening our garden to visitors on four separate dates for the National Garden Scheme. The entrance fee will be £5 per adult £3 per child (5-16 years old) children under 5 free and the refreshment sales are also donated to the NGS charity.

11 am  – 4pm on Wednesdays 14th June, 12th July, 16th August and 13th 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 Saturdays 24th June, 22nd July, 26th August, and 23rd September 

We have finished planting two new stock beds, one a small collection of hardy members of the ginger family for late Summer colour, the other a large bed of plants suitable for heavy waterlogged clay soil. We will also have a new seating area offering a different view of the planting schemes. This is a chance to see behind the scenes and some of the large collections of plants that we grow. Work has also started on clearing and planting a new woodland garden although this will not be open this year.

A new event on Wednesday 23rd August this year, will be a one day workshop on Ornamental Grasses with a tour of the Garden and my observations on how to cultivate and use different grasses in the landscape. 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, some of which are mentioned in this newsletter.  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 and Jean


 Anyone who visited our garden in August last year would have seen our collection of Agapanthus in bloom and seen the wide range of varieties that we grow.  This year we have added A. ‘Buckingham Palace’ which is a mid-season variety with deep blue flowers, reaching up to 1.5m (5ft) tall.  ‘Castle of Mey’, another mid-season variety with violet blue flowers around 75cm (30in) tall.  ‘Isis’, also a mid season variety with deep blue flowers 80cm (32in) tall.  ‘Lilliput’, a mid-season agapanthus with light blue flowers 60cm (2ft) tall and ‘Misty Dawn’ again flowering mid-season with navy blue flowers 45cm (18in) tall which has cream new leaves that age grey green.  There should also be another batch of the sought after ‘Taw Valley’ for those who have been waiting.

Agapanthus buckingham palace_MG_1670   Agapanthus castle of mey_MG_1683  Agapanthus isis_MG_1874

        ‘Buckingham Palace’             ‘Castle of Mey’                   ‘Isis’

Agapanthus lilliputDSC03085  Agapanthus misty dawn_MG_7889_resize  Agapanthus taw valley_MG_4321

                 ‘Lilliput’                        ‘Misty Dawn’                    ‘Taw Valley’

We saw Alstroemeria ROCK ‘N ROLL ‘Alsdun01′ PBR a couple of years ago in New Zealand and it is hard not to miss as it has vibrant scarlet orange flowers and bright white and green variegated leaves.  There will be a limited number of plants available from about June.

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‘Rock ‘n Roll’

Aster x frikartii ‘Flora’s Delight’ is an uncommon mildew resistant variety producing daisy-like mauve pink flowers with yellow centres on a mound shaped plant around 60cm (2ft) tall from August to October.  It is enjoyed by butterflies and bees and it looks great planted amongst my grasses.

Aster x frikartii floras delight_MG_8015_resize

‘Flora’s Delight’

There should be a few Astilbioides tabularis to spare this year. The “shieldleaf rodgersia” as it sometimes known, is a member of the saxifrage family and thrives on wet soils.  It has large dramatic rounded lobed foliage and creamy white flower plumes up to 1.5m (5ft) tall in Summer.

We will have Campanula ‘Blue Octopus’ PBR ready for sale from about June onwards this year. This is a new variety and will grow in sun or partial shade.  It has distinct “octopus” like blue flowers on stems 30-45cm (12-18in) tall over a long period from Summer to Autumn.  We have added Centaurea montana ‘Black Sprite’ to our range of perennial cornflowers.  These pretty, bee friendly popular cottage garden perennials are great for the front of the border and combine well with grasses to provide early colour as they flower in May to June.  This variety has spidery purple black flowers on stems reaching 30-45cm (12-18in) tall.

Campanula blue octopus_MG_1271_resize

‘Blue Octopus’

Geums are making a bit of a comeback and I am pleased to be able to offer for sale Geum coccineum ‘Werner Arends’.  This is an older variety with bright orange flowers on stems 35cm (14in) tall from May to August.  I will also have the recently introduced cocktail series G. ‘Gimlet’ with semi double pale yellow flowers from late Spring to Autumn on stems 45cm (18 in) tall.

Geum coccineum werner arends_MG_1057_resize  Geum gimlet_MG_0835_resize

                              ‘Werner Arends’                ‘Gimlet’

The North American woodland plant Gillenia trifoliata ‘Pink Profusion’ is a graceful clump forming deciduous perennial with palmate bronze-green leaves and star shaped pink flowers from late Spring to late Summer on red tinted stems reaching up to 1m high by 60 cm (2 feet) wide.  It seems to like my clay soil in light shade and is drought tolerant once established.

Gillenia trifoliata pink profusion_MG_6515_resize

‘Pink Profusion’

I have finally built up some saleable stock of Gladiolus tristis hybrids and will have a limited number to sell this Spring.  These South African frost hardy Winter growing cormous perennials have narrow reed like foliage topped in April by spikes of funnel shaped green/lemon, biscuit or soft pink flowers on stems up to 60cm (2ft) tall and have a very strong fragrance in the evening.  They are happy in a sunny sheltered well drained site and they do well in our gravel garden planted with the bearded iris.

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Gladiolus tristis hybrids

I have a bit of a thing for daylilies as they are great for our clay soils. Visitors to our garden will have seen part of our collection in flower in July – August. We have added a few more varieties to our range this year including Hemerocallis ‘Brown Witch’, a deciduous diploid spider day lily with large brown flowers with a purple eye and yellow throat on stems 91cm (36in) tall in July.  ‘Court Troubadour’, is a deciduous tetraploid day lily with red flowers edged with primrose yellow and a yellow/green throat on stems up to 66cm (26in) tall in June.  ‘Moonlight Masquerade’ a semi-evergreen tetraploid day lily with large cream flowers with a dramatic dark purple eyezone above a green throat on stems 66cm (26 in) tall in June-July.  ‘Night Embers’ isa semi-evergreen tetraploid day lily with large fragrant double dark cherry red flowers with white edges and a  green throat on stems 76cm (30in.) tall from June.  The unusual ‘Ouachita Beauty’ is an evergreen diploid reblooming day lily with pink flowers with a dark orchid pink halo, on stems 90cm (36 inches) tall in June-July.  ‘Return Trip’, a deciduous diploid day lily with large cinnamon red and yellow perfumed flowers, a red eye and green throat on stems 45cm (18in) tall in July and ‘Smith Brothers’ a deciduous tetraploid day lily with large velvety red black flowers with a darker eyezone and a green gold throat on stems 76cm ( 30in) tall in July- August.

Hemerocallis brown witch_MG_2269_resize  Hemerocallis court troupador_MG_6466_resize  Hemerocallis moonlit masquerade_MG_2144_resize

            ‘Brown Witch’          ‘Court Troubadour’      ‘Moonlight Masquerade’

Hemerocallis night embers_MG_1389  Hemerocallis ouachita beauty_MG_2274  hemerocallis return trip 1

        ‘Night Embers’             ‘Ouachita Beauty’               ‘Return Trip’

Hemerocallis smith brothers_MG_6228_resize

‘Smith Brothers’

The South African hardy rhizomatous perennial “Kaffir Lilies” have recently had a change of name from Schizostylis to Hesperantha.  I have slowly been building a collection to be able to offer our customers a wider range of these invaluable late flowering perennials which provide colour from late Summer to early Winter and these can be seen in our garden.  This year we will have a nice batch of H. coccinea ‘Oregon Sunset’ with glowing salmon red flowers on stems 30-45cm tall above narrow iris like evergreen leaves.

My large collection of Phlox continues to grow with some new acquisitions from eastern Europe that I am starting to trial with the aim of planting them out in a new woodland stock bed this Summer.  This year I have added a few more varieties to sell including P. paniculata ‘Balmoral’ with clusters of scented pink flowers on stems up to 90cm (36in) tall, ‘Flamingo’ AGM has violet/pink flowers with a deeper eye on upright stems up to 1m (39in) tall.  ‘Graf Zepplin’ with fragrant creamy white flowers with a crimson eye 75cm (30 in) tall and ‘Juliglut’ has perfumed bright claret coloured flowers, shown off by burgundy tinged foliage on upright stems up to 50cm (20in) tall. All these varieties flower from late Summer to Autumn.

Phlox paniculata balmoral_MG_4400_resize  Phlox paniculata flamingoDSC01400_resize  Phlox paniculate graf zeppelin_MG_1477 - Copy

               ‘Balmoral’                  ‘Flamingo’                 ‘Graf Zepplin’

A lot of garden visitors showed interest in our Asters (now called Symphotrichum) last year especially Symphotrichum laterifolium ‘Lady in Black’ with dark purple leaves and masses of small pink toned white flowers.  We will have more of these available by the Summer as well as the similar but shorter S. lat. ‘Prince’ and S. laterifoium var. horizontalis AGM.  There should also be a limited number of the Chilean herbaceous “Flame Creeper” Tropaeolum speciosa, a  slender perennial climbing bright red nasturtium which is a bit tricky to grow in our area but may be worth a go.  It does prefer moist humus rich soil in sun to partial shade and will not like our heavy cold wet clay soil.

aster lady in black_resize  Aster lat princeDSC02009  aster lady in black

          ‘Lady in Black’                      ‘Prince’            laterifolium var horizontalis


Trees and Shrubs


I have been trying out some different “Chinese bell flowers” and this year will have for sale the new shorter variety Abutilon megapotanicum ‘Pink Charm’ with pendant light pink flowers, the larger growing A. meg. ‘Wisley Red’ which has pendant bell shaped orange red flowers and red calyces and A. x milleri which has pendant bell shaped orange flowers. All these are frost hardy lax evergreen shrubs, flowering from Summer to Autumn and enjoy a sunny site.  Although Abutilons are not climbers, they produce long shoots which are ideal for tying in to a fence or trellis as wall shrubs.


The Chilean myrtle Amomyrtus luma is a hardy evergreen shrub or small tree with smooth cinnamon brown bark and small aromatic dark green glossy leaves. It has very pretty, small white scented flowers with prominent stamens during late Spring followed by edible red/black berries.  It seems to tolerate my heavy wet clays.  It will reach 6m tall by 2m wide or it can be trimmed.

The Japanese bitter orange Citrus (syn Poncirus) trifoliata is a large shrub or small tree with a rounded bushy habit which is not for the faint hearted!  Stiff green shoots have large very sharp spines and small dark green leaves that turn yellow in Autumn.  It bears single white scented flowers in Spring to Summer and again in Autumn, followed by inedible orange fruits.  I grow it for the thorns as it makes a very useful protective perimeter plant. It is something you walk around rather than push through and I think it is more of a deterrent than Pyracantha.

poncirus trifoliata

Citrus trifoliata

I fell in love with Eucryphias whilst I was on a plant hunting expedition to Tasmania many years ago and was lucky enough to stay at Ken Gillander’s nursery and look at some of his amazing selections of Tasmanian leatherwood.  I am pleased to be able to offer for sale a few young plants of Eucryphia milliganii.  This slow growing evergreen shrub or small tree has a slender upright habit and can be covered in small white honey scented flowers in late Summer.  Eucryphia lucida ‘Leatherwood Cream’ was the first variegated variety to be grown and has cream edges to the leaves, a slender upright habit and white scented flowers.  Both of these varieties will grow in semi shade and prefer slightly acidic soils and prefer to be sheltered from cold winds.

I love ornamental almonds and cherries and have been seeking out and growing some of the more compact bushier trees that are more suitable for smaller gardens.  Prunus triloba ‘Rosemund’ is a large multi stemmed hardy deciduous bushy shrub or small tree that can reach 3-4m (10-13 feet) tall.  It can be trained into a tree or a wall shrub and should be pruned immediately after flowering.  The stems are covered in double rose pink flowers in March-April.

Stewartia pseudocamellia is a tree of a completely different stature and can reach more than 12m in time.  In the summer, this Japanese deciduous tree bears white flowers resembling single camellia blooms.  The leaves can turn a striking orange-red colour in the Autumn and it has beautiful flaking bark.  Grow in a special spot in the garden protected from cold winds in a neutral to acid soil.  I have a very limited number of young plants available on request.

Stewartia pseudocamelliaDSC01533

Stewartia pseudocamellia