Lavatera Barnsley, Santolina and other joys of summer


Lavatera Barnsley showing reversion.

A common and great value flowering shrub is doing well at the moment. Lavatera x clementii Barnsley is a cross between the shrubby L. olbia and the herbaceous L. thuringiaca, a cultivar of ‘Rosea’ which is not entirely stable. In a periclinal chimaera like “Barnsley”, the meristem has mutated and contains one layer of cells which is genetically different from the remainder. This photo shows a specimen in our garden which has started to revert. The best way to avoid this is to be careful not to over-prune, something I may have done this spring. The plant is very easy from cuttings; this plant is only two years old and a one year old cutting planted in the garden is also in full flower and around 4ft tall.

Santolina chamaecyparissus is another cheap and cheerful summer flowering shrub and we have planted a group in a poor, dry area of the garden where many other plants would struggle. Cotton Lavender, as it is sometimes called, has herbal uses and is sometimes added to pot pourri, but not everyone is a fan of the smell. Some gardeners prefer to remove the flowers to create a clipped silver hedge: you can do this, but would miss this effect, which seems a shame.

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Santolina chamaecyparissus - Cotton Lavender

The Lilies which have survived the attentions of Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii) are in flower now, in a range of colours from white, cream and yellow, through to orange and red. I have spent what seems like hours, removing the both adult and larvae by hand but have found that Lilium regale Album stays beast free while nearby hybrids are covered. I shall be watching this effect in years to come to see if is repeated or if they just did not find L. regale this season. As a lad, one of the jobs given to us in the Royal Gardens was removing Lily Beetle from the stems of Cardiocrinum giganteum. Given that these plants can grow 10ft or more tall, step ladders were required!

Lilium regale Album

Lilium regale Album - Lily Beetle free!


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