On the hottest and sunniest day of the year (34 degrees) in Harpenden our guest speaker Leila Jackson battled through thunderstorms,lightening and torrential rain on her long journey from Herefordshire!
Leila gave members and guests a hugely informative and entertaining slide presentation and shared her passion for her 3 favourite species of plants:
Salvias, Campanulas and Ablutions:
Salvias form one of the largest genus and are closely related to mint. Totally adaptive and are found all over the world as annuals and perennials. Shrubby varieties should have a severe cut in autumn and mid spring with a light haircut in summer to allow them to flourish and flower. A popular variety in recent years is the red and white coloured ‘Hot lips’. Depending on light they can change colour throughout the day. When cloudy they will stay red and white but in brighter sunshine they will change to all white.
There are over 500 species of campanulas commonly known as Bellflowers, latin for little bell. Varieties vary from a height of 5 centimetres to 2 metres. The hairier the stems the more drought tolerant they are. Campanulas will always find the light and are tolerant of full sun or shade. The Punctata campanulas are best for attracting bees in to the garden. Those with the roughest leaves are best for repelling the dreaded snail!
Leila now holds the national collection of Abutions. These very versatile and hardy (up to minus 12) plants with a cascading habit were discovered in South America and brought back to Great Britain by Victorian plant hunters. Sometimes called Parlour Maples or Chinese lanterns, Ablutions are related to hibiscus and can grow up to 9 foot tall. Prefer part shade and enjoy being cut back and are flexible to any shape. Need moist well drained soil and regular feeding if grown in pots. The more you chop the better to create more branches particularly in Spring when active.
Leila Jackson a Gold Medal winner at Chelsea, Tatton Park to name just two prestigious shows can be found at Wall End Nursery, Stoke Prior, Leominster HR6 OND. http://www.t3plants.co.uk