Cambridge Botanic Garden revisited

Last year I wrote a post about the Winter Garden at Cambridge Botanic Garden. I won’t repeat myself here, but I would like to show you some things which caught my eye last week. First, a wonderful winter -flowering tree which wasn’t in bloom last January. It is new to me Prunus mume ‘Omoi-Noi-Mama’.

Prunus mume 'Omoi-No-Mama'

Prunus mume ‘Omoi-no-mama’

It is a white form of the wonderful Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume. I have had the deep pink Prunus mume ‘Beni-Chidori’ in flower for some time now and it is gorgeous. I shall certainly be looking out for this  white one.
I don’t like copying other peoples’ planting combinations, as I much prefer to design my own, but I think this combination just can’t be improved upon.
The lovely red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ are set off to perfection by the glossy red leaves of Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’ and behind there is a mass of  the apple green flowers of Helleborus foetidus.
I love the idea of planting snowdrops amongst this Bergenia too.
In another part of the garden was this  Muehlenbeckia astonii. I thought it would be a fantastic addition to the winter garden.

Muehlenbeckia astonii

Muehlenbeckia astonii

This amazing plant which comes from New Zealand looks like copper wire netting.

The Botanic Garden has a National Collection of species tulips so I was interested to go and see the Alpine section of the large glass houses.
I loved the pot of tiny Tulipa dasystemon.

Tulipa dasystemon

Tulipa dasystemon

I love any sort of Primula and the ones here were so pretty.

I know I can’t grow these little jewels but I wish I had the time to devote to them.
Dionysias need special care too,  but they are so beautiful, I wanted to caress this one.

Dionysia tapetodes

Dionysia tapetodes

I wonder if Saxifragas are any easier to grow. I would love to try growing some alpines in my second, unheated greenhouse which just houses an apricot tree, a grape vine, Dahlia imperialis and numerous Agapanthus babies at the moment. I suppose it could be the beginning of another expensive obsession though. But look at these dear little saxifrages.

It would lovely to be able to grow this high -alpine buttercup Ranunculus calandrinoides.

Ranunculus calandriniodes

Ranunculus calandriniodes

And how about a carpet of Gymnospermum allenii? In his book ‘Buried Treasure’ Janis Ruskins says he has a mass of these growing outside in the sun.
I have the Widow Iris, Hermodactylus tuuberosus but mine is rather a dingy thing. I love the deep purple  contrasted with  lilac of this one.
The Bongardia chrysogonum is quite new to me. I looked it up and saw that it’s common name is ‘Ladies Night Cap’. How can something so rare have a common name? And how rude to treat something so rare and beautiful with such familiarity. It’s a bit like calling the Queen, Lizzy.

I once tried growing the intensely blue Tecophilaea and failed miserably. Here they have no such trouble.

When I win the lottery,(the big win) I shall have a glass house bigger than this one. Maybe one like the Palm House at Kew. I shall grow lots of Birds of Paradise, Strelitza reginae and the wonderful Queen’s Wreath, Petrea volubilis. And this red pompom which didn’t have label. And I must have a Jade Vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys which has the most amazing electric turquoise flowers. Unfortunately  it wasn’t out yet but it is the most amazing plant.

Come to think of it; something like the Glasshouse at Cambridge would probably do nicely. I mustn’t be greedy. It covers almost an acre and has more than 2000 species of plants. Anything bigger would perhaps be a tad excessive. Now then where’s my lottery ticket?

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46 Responses to Cambridge Botanic Garden revisited

  1. I told my husband justt yesterday: “If I were to win the lottery, I’d have a big conservatory and a huge verandah… and I guess I’d buy a house to go with it too.”
    So I understand your dream here. As for the blue flower — what do they feed it to get that blue? And how did yours fail? In achieving that colour or just a failure to thrive?

  2. Jane Strong says:

    The Cornus and the Bergenia make a brilliant combination. I love it!

  3. Alison says:

    I copy combinations from everyone and everywhere. I have no imagination. They have some fabulous plants there, thanks for sharing them.

  4. pbmgarden says:

    I really enjoyed the focus on these plants today. Reading along I just kept saying, “Oh, yes!” I just saw Saxifraga in bloom at a garden store yesterday, but was unfamiliar with it so didn’t bring any home until I could research it. Looked similar to the Saxifraga ‘Burseriana’ you’ve shown and it was lovely.

  5. Several of these plants are new to me. But I love any plant that’s soft and fuzzy. I love those saxifragias and that dionysia. As for glasshouses, a gardener can dream!

  6. jenhumm116 says:

    So many treasures, thanks for sharing. I’d love to visit.
    Funnily enough, my daughter’s going to Cambridge tomorrow to visit her boyfriend, but when I suggested she really should visit the Botanic Garden she seemed less than enthusiastic. Maybe in 10 (20?) years’ time the response will be different? Here’s hoping 😉

    • Chloris says:

      Once she has her own garden I bet she will get keen. My daughter is now as gardening mad as I am but she didn’t show much interest when she was young.

  7. AnnetteM says:

    Lovely plants you have shared with us today. I love the prunus and hope to ‘bag’ some equally beautiful ones when we are in Japan next. I discovered a botanic gardens last time we were there with many different prunus growing, but it was the wrong season for the blossom. My other favourite is Ranunculus calandriniodes, but I guess I would need a greenhouse for that.

    • Chloris says:

      How wonderful, it is my dream to go to Japan at Cherry blossom time. A friend who lived there told me that my dark pink one:’ Beni- chidori’ means flight of butterflies. I would love to know what ‘ Omoi- noi- mama’ means.

  8. rusty duck says:

    Loving Gymnospermum allenii.
    Mike and I were talking about ‘proper’ glasshouses today too and then, in the short term, mouse proofing our existing greenhouse. If I can’t grow bulbs and these delicate alpines in the ground I’m planning on starting a collection in pots. It’s definitely the start of an obsession, but an investment I can take with me if or when we move.

    • Thanks for sharing this. That Prumus mume is indeed very charming, and I love the Galanthus/Bergenia combination.

    • Chloris says:

      I think that is an excellent idea. With your wildlife problems a greenhouse full of treasures would be great. I don’ t know how you managed to grow that beautiful Fritillaria nigra, frits are usually irresistible to pheasants. They love to bite their heads off. Just for fun.

  9. I think you will need a staff with that new greenhouse. The Copper Wire Plant from New Zealand is fantastic.

  10. Sorry you can’t win this time as I have the winning ticket!? Anyway thank you for those images of Cambs botanic. Stunning shots and I too especially love the edging of Bergenia and stinking hellebore with the cornus. Perfection.

    • Chloris says:

      So that’ s why we didn’ t win. Well I hope you are going to build a palm house with your winnings and invite all your blogging friends to come to tea in it.

  11. mattb325 says:

    All such wonderful plants! I love the saxifrages, and hope to find some one day for my garden (the grow quite well in my climate). The Muehlenbeckia looks great – a similar type to M. astonii ( M. complexa, although M. astonii will work as well) can be trained over wire fences and is dense enough to look like a hedge or trained through wire sculptures to make topiary shapes. The Primulas and Tecophilaea from the alpine house are just stunning – thanks for sharing the pictures!

  12. Cathy says:

    You’re right, the Cornus and Bergenia combination is really effective, especially with snowdrops dotted between the Bergenia leaves. I liked the look of the Muhlenbeckia so looked it up and it is actually called wire bush in German. So then I looked up the New zealand name and it’s called Wiggy Wig Bush! Love the Dionysia too. Good luck with the lottery draw…. 😉

    • Chloris says:

      Wiggy Wig Bush! I love it, what a fabulous name for it. It is a gorgeous thing. I wonder what colour it is in Summer. I suppose the lovely coppery bronze is its Winter outfit.

  13. Brian Skeys says:

    Every time I see the Berginia ‘Bressingham Ruby’ I think I really should find a place for it in the garden. I just haven’t seen it in the nurseries around here.

  14. Tina says:

    Thanks for the tour. So many interesting plants. LIke you, I love that Muhlenbeckia–such a great plant for structure.

  15. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Oh my, that Bergenia/Cornus combination is stunning! A glass house with an acre of space would do nicely!

  16. Julie says:

    Good luck with your lottery ticket Chloris – although it sounds to me like you would fill that acre in a heartbeat! I love that combination of cornus, bergenia and snowdrops – one we might both copy I think.

  17. snowbird says:

    So many heavenly plants here….I loved the Tulipa dasystemon. I am really fond of alpines too. Oh go for it, a girl must have an obsession, the beauty is we can all enjoy it on yor behalf without putting our hand’s in our pockets!
    Now I do hope you bought a ticket or two…can I be your little helper?xxx

  18. Chloris says:

    I already have too many plant obsessions.
    No luck with the lottery. I let the Pianist choose the numbers but he has no talent for it whatsoever. Apart from 4 years ago when he won £10. But what is the use of that? Not even enough for a cloche.

  19. Thanks for the tour! I’ve always been amazed (like everyone else, I guess) by the beauty of Bird of Paradise. That Cornus/Bergenia/Helleborus combination is fabulous–no wonderf so many people arrange those plants together. Oh, yes, the Palm House at Kew would be wonderful to have in one’s backyard! 😉

  20. Christina says:

    I think Cambridge botanic garden is undervalued as a place to go for inspiration but I’ve always found it wonderful, especially in winter; I hope to visit again this year, thanks for the reminder!

  21. Julie says:

    I am planning to take my mum for a visit here in a few weeks time, so really glad you put up your post, we will have so much to look forward too, lovely details as always too.

  22. Flighty says:

    A most enjoyable, interesting post and wonderful pictures. Your last paragraph made me smile. I’ve been there once a long time ago and always wanted to go back. xx

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