Plants in May

This guide to the garden in May is reproduced from the leaflet used by visitors to the garden.

We are currently in the process of re-labelling the garden, please bear with us as this will take some time. Meanwhile, we hope the selection below will be of interest. * Plants marked with an asterix should be available in the sales area.

Starting in the car park...

Leucojum 'Gravetye Giant'. Like a giant snowdrop, this native bulb is happy growing under the north wall, but will grow in sun or shade as long as it's not dry. 'Gravetye Giant' was selected by William Robinson, and named after his garden in Sussex. Michael started his gardening career, aged 17, working on the restoration of this garden; here began a fascination with walled gardens that eventually led to the development of Cally. Four varieties of the orange Euphorbia griffithii are conspicuous in the border opposite, including a compact self sown plant with darker flowers at the front.

Turn left after entering the garden to walk along the south wall...

*Milium effusum 'Aureum' (Halfway along the wall). Commonly called 'Bowles Golden Grass', this form of the native Wood Millet provides bright yellow spring colour. Self seeding gently it is never a problem. A striped leaf version 'Yaffle' is growing in beds 17 & 18 amongst the Hellebores, it seems to be more upright and dense.

*Paeonia wittmaniana (Top of bed 10) Creamy flowers against grey leaves; this is always asked for, and small plants are now available. Paeonia delavayi (top bed 13) is a shrubby peony with darkest red fragrant flowers. This form, 'Mrs Colville' also has dark leaves. The shrubby peony against the south wall opposite, with red & yellow striped flowers, is a result of a cross between P. delavayi and P. delavayi var. lutea.

Beds 24-21

*Paeonia tenuifolia (top bed 24) is a much sought after plant grown for its distinctive ferny foliage and scarlet flowers; we have small divisions for sale. A pale pink form can also be seen in bed 22. Other peonies in the garden include: *Paeonia veitchii (bed 21), bright pink fading paler; *P.anomala intermedia (bottom of bed 11), scarlet with divided leaves, & *P. kavachensis, reddish purple with rounded leaves. A selected seedling of P. kavachensis with purple foliage can be seen at the top of bed 21.

*Geranium phaeum (bed 24) is one of the first Geraniums to flower. There are many different colour forms; 'Lily Lovell' is one of the best, with orange scented foliage and bright purple blue flowers. 'Rose Madder' with brown pink flowers can be seen growing alongside, and the dark purple variety 'Samabor' at the top of the vegetable garden.

Beds 9-16

*Euphorbia x waldsteinii 'Betten' is spreading itself along the bottom of beds 13, 14 & 15; although invasive, it is valuable in the right place for the bright airy flowers. Euphorbia wallichii (bed 11) is a lower growing plant, with distinctive striped leaves and large flower heads. Difficult to propagate - impossible by cuttings, and rarely setting seed - it is not often available. Other Euphorbias include E.polychroma (bed 12) which makes low dense mounds of bright yellow that glisten with nectar on a sunny day, when they also smell of honey.

Staphylea colchica ( Bed 12) is commonly called bladder nut due to the inflated seed pods. This shrub is currently covered in hanging racemes of scented white flowers. The books say it should smell of nutmeg/vanilla; we think it's more like coconut. Good orange autumn colour.

Beds 20-17

Aquilegia 'Cally Spice'(Bed 20) is a new yellow & blue dwarf Aquilegia that was featured in the Easter Saturday Telegraph article on Cally. Plants will be available in our next mail order catalogue out in November. This is a seed strain that we are improving by selection; at present there is variation in the amount of yellow colouration, with some plants all blue. The name refers to the spicy scent.

Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea' (Beds 17-18). Spikes of starry blue flowers that bridge the gap between spring & summer colour. Easily available from most bulb suppliers, it is related to the North American Quamash, a food plant of the native American Indians. Whilst walking through these borders you are likely to be berated by our resident oyster catchers...

Beds 1-8

Saxifraga pensylvanica (bottom of bed 3) is of interest to see the range within the genus Saxifraga; compare this stout upright plant with the dainty pink *Saxifraga x urbium at its feet. *Asphodelus albus (beds 1,3&4), with spikes of white flowers , is a plant that should be more widely grown, as should *Lunaria rediviva, the perennial Honesty ( Beds 2 & 5). These heavily scented flowers give way to papery seedheads, elliptical rather than round as in the common Honesty.

And there's so much the glasshouse borders by the sales area you will see the *Chatham Island Forget-Me-Not, alongside 'bamboo' stemmed irises, Iris confusa & I.wattii......


Home | The Nursery | Catalogue | The Garden | Plant List | Garden History | Expeditions | Opening Times | Contact

Illustrations by Clare Melinsky. Photographs by Michael Wickenden

Site design by Ken Smyth