The MGS Forum

Our gardens, a month-by-month pictorial diary of what's looking good now => Our Gardens => Topic started by: John J on February 28, 2015, 09:00:46 AM

Title: Unsung heroes
Post by: John J on February 28, 2015, 09:00:46 AM
I thought that maybe it was time to mention a few of the unsung heroes of our gardens, those plants that take everything the long, hot, waterless summers can throw at them and still return each year to brighten our winter mornings.
Chosen at random from my garden are; Viburnum tinus, Senna artemesioides, Euphorbia dendroides.
Title: Re: Viburnum tinus
Post by: Alisdair on February 28, 2015, 06:57:42 PM
So many of us coming from northern Europe are inclined to overlook "Laurustinus" as being too familiar, commonplace even, there. But its sheer vibrant enthusiasm in its Mediterranean homeland makes the cultivated plants in northern gardens seem like a different and much drabber species!
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Trevor Australis on March 03, 2015, 08:05:21 AM
We have had a fantastic show from St Catherine's Lace this year - Oreogonum giganteum from dry central valley of California. A really tough low shrub with rich brown peeling bark and delightful silvery green rounded leaves and HUGE flat heads of creamy white flowers. These are said to turn a pleasant shade of brown but they didn't get a chance here; they were snaffled for indoor arrangements.
Title: Re: Unsung heroes - Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Post by: Fermi on January 10, 2016, 03:21:48 AM
Perovskia atriplicifolia (some say what we have in cultivation is a hybrid and should be called P. xhybrida instead) is a really unsung hero in our garden. Planted a number of years ago it has self-seeded lightly through the rock gardens and exists without supplementary watering but does better when it gets some summer water.
The graceful, airy cloud of mauve-purple flowers are attractive to bees and other pollinators so should be encouraged.
Seedlings appear regularly but could not be considered weedy. However if they appear where you don't want them you need to move them early before the tap-root anchors them! They are not easy to re-establish if you can't get the root out intact - at least I haven't :-[
This autumn I'll endeavour to move some small ones like these which have come up in a bulb bed,
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Fermi on January 30, 2016, 02:11:10 PM
Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) were a standard in a lot of cottage-type gardens when I was growing up. Recently a friend gave us a few plants and they are getting established in a bed where they get some summer watering. I find the variation in the flower colours on a single bush intriguing (though there are 2 plants in the pics)
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Daisy on February 01, 2016, 09:47:17 AM
I have a lot of unsung heroes in my garden. Just a few of them are....
Cestrum newellii. This is in a dry, mainly shaded area beneath the apricot tree. It was growing into a nice, bushy shrub, until last September, whilst I was still using my crutches, I backed away from a rose bush that I was trying to take some dead wood out of, tripped over a stone and sat down squarely on the cestrum. The poor thing stood no chance against my large bottom. A good three quarters of the plant was completely broken off. I managed to tape up the one largish stem that was left and that stem along with just the few remaining younger ones, have delighted me all winter.

( ( 2016 021 ( by Daisyincrete (, on Flickr

( ( 2016 019 ( by Daisyincrete (, on Flickr

I shall give it a little feed in the spring to help it recover from my assault.

Another standby is Fuchsia triphylla. You have all seen it before, but it never fails to amaze me. It just never has an off day. It looks just as good on the hottest day of the year as it does on the coldest day of the year. It is ALWAYS full of blooms.

( ( ( by Daisyincrete (, on Flickr

My roses are also heroes. They just flower and flower and are full of perfume. Even now, in the depths of winter, I am having to cut off blooms whilst pruning them.

( ( ( by Daisyincrete (, on Flickr

I agree with Fermi that Perovskia atriplicifolia is an unsung hero. I have two and could not be without them.

( ( 028 ( by Daisyincrete (, on Flickr

Daisy :)

Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Fermi on July 23, 2016, 01:42:37 PM
We have a form of prostrate rosemary which I think deserves to be sung about
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: David Dickinson on July 23, 2016, 08:34:35 PM
A belated "thanks" to you Daisy for persuading me to try a Fuschia. I am not, or at least wasn't, a big fan of Fuschia because of memories of seeing the gaudy colour clashes of some of the hybrids, Seeing F. triphylla though has made me think twice and I shall be looking out for it both here in Italy and in the UK.

Must say, it was good to see you back on the forum when I eventually got back myself after a 4 month break. It took that long to get my internet service connected at my new address! Look forward to more photos of your amazing garden. :)
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: David Dickinson on July 27, 2016, 06:17:29 PM
Re my last post on Daisy's Fuchsia triphylla. If anybody is interested in a UK supplier I found this mail order supplier who had the plants to my sister's UK address within 2 days. They will be flying out with her shortly.

There were 3 suppliers listed on the RHS plantfinder but this was the only one who did mail order.

Thanks again Daisy. Wish me luck.
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Fermi on February 09, 2018, 03:21:55 PM
I thought it might be worth reviving this thread.
Although relatively recently introduced Gaura lindheimeri has been an integral part of our summer gardens.
The original one was white which faded to pink, then 'Siskiyou Pink' became a huge "hit" and now there seem to be more cultivars each year. Here are a few variations which have come up from seed where a white and a dark pink with burgundy foliage have been liaising!
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Umbrian on February 10, 2018, 07:37:43 AM
In full agreement regarding Gaura lindheimeri Fermi - continuous flowering and the variations from self seeding can be lovely. I also love the " movement" they provide- the slightest breeze sets the long, delicate flowering stems gently swaying not to mention the
visits of bees and butterflies.
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Alisdair on February 11, 2018, 09:42:08 AM
Yes, it really is a "top plant", thriving even in hot gardens where it's dry for months (though it won't flower in periods of long drought unless watered). Because of the swaying stems that Carole mentions, my sister knows it as "that office toy plant"!
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Umbrian on March 15, 2018, 02:35:39 PM
Looking wonderful now Euphorbia myrsinites. Good for hanging over low edging or walls and a perfect foil for other spring flowers such as  Narcissus and Violets.
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Umbrian on June 01, 2018, 06:13:19 AM
Having a lot of trouble with my Photogene⁴ ap for reducing photos for the Forum so this is a bit of an experiment ....
Unsung hero Salvia lavandufolia - wonderful display of flowers in Spring and of course highly aromatic leaves.
Title: Re: Unsung heroes
Post by: Umbrian on June 01, 2018, 06:16:04 AM
Well at least that worked although the colour reproduction is poor. Flowers are a much bluer/ purple shade rather than so pink.
Title: Re: Unsung heroes Saxifraga stolonifera
Post by: David Dickinson on May 25, 2020, 01:09:42 AM
Saxifraga  stolonifera deserves to be recognised as an unsung hero, I think, not only putting up without water but without much light too. Just starting to flower for me now.