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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?