As observed during September 2012
“The Apprentices Potager”
Growth was held back this year due to the coolness of the season and low sunlight levels. The brassicas were almost stripped of their leaves by Pigeons.
Height is provided by Sweet Pea cultivars ‘Matucana’ and ‘Almost Black’. Carrot ‘Black Night’ and the smooth leaves of Beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ adding foliage shape texture and colour. Look out for the Pea ‘Purple Podded’, dark black pods contains seed of a contrasting paleness, yet with the sweet taste of the best garden pea.
Passiflora vitifolia a native to Central America. A sturdy and vigorous plant that soon covers a sizeable section of the Orchid and Cycad glasshouse it is growing in. The specific epithet gives a clue to the foliage shape; resembling that of a Vitis. Tightly wound tendrils in the leaf axils gain support for the long scandent growth from adjacent plants.
The genus Passiflora has flowers of intricate shape. These are like three dimensional puzzles; when fully formed it is scarcely believable that all of the flower parts are capable of fitting within the bud. Within the base of the flower beneath the profusion of white filaments, which form the corona, is a reservoir of sweet nectar.
Brightness to end a poor summer
Distinct in the south facing border of the Front Range this native to Eastern South Africa is a show stopper. The orange red flowers open gradually from the base of the spike to the tip resulting in a long spell of colour.
The sword like foliage shoots out from a corm, these can be divided to increase the size of the clump. Needing a well drained soil and a sunny position to give of its best. When established and in flower the spikes reach one metre or more in height.
Large Ligustrum; yet compactum
There is a huge specimen of Ligustrum compactum on the hillside, striving upwards to maximise exposure to the light. It is presently covered in terminal panicles of white flowers giving off the rich scent associated with this genus. Pass an overgrown Privit (Ligustrum sp.) hedge and this scent will pervade around during the flowering season.
Collected by Roland Edgar Cooper in 1914 while travelling in the wooded valleys near Thimpu, Bhutan. Here it grows as understory in woodland at c.2500m. In Edinburgh it has formed a sturdy trunk with a wide open canopy. Nothing compact about the specimen and definitely not one to use as a hedging plant.