The Hot! Border 2016

This is the second year of our Hot! border and the border is now looking the way we intended it to look this year. It’s been a bit of a wait. Following a very mild winter the temperatures plummeted in April after most of the rhizomatous stock had already begun to grow. Whilst nothing was damaged most of the stock was stopped in its tracks and didn’t really recover until mid May with the result that almost everything is about a month later than we had hoped.

Picture of Hot border

Canna ‘ Assaut’ interplanted with Verbena boniarensis

Cannas that spent the winter in the cold frame and were planted out in the middle of May fared better with ‘Panache’ flowering quite early but at only 60 cm. Fortunately the second stems have now pushed to the expected 90-100cm and are about to flower again at that height. What is clear though is that the Eupatorium which is situated partially in front of them will have to move back next spring as they are significantly higher this year than last. We have been pleased with the performance of the Rudbeckia occidentalis but it has proved exceptionally attractive to slugs. Next year we plan to surround them with horticultural grit in an attempt to discourage slugs from approaching them.

Euphorbia schillingii in front of the errant Eupatorium

In front of the Eupatorium a small group of Euphorbia schillingii have done very well, their acid green and yellow bracts standing out magnificently above the Kniphophias. This is the third species in our small homage to Tony Schilling whose Hedychium collections from Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan feature amongst our many flowering gingers.

Hedychium densiflorum ‘Stephen’

All the gingers have done really well with H. forestii, H. Coccineum and H. ‘Tara’ all either in flower or in bud. Later this month we expect both of our Sue and Bledwyn Wynne Jones collections of H. spicatum to flower.

Hedychium coccineum (centre, orange) and Dahlia ‘Bishop of LLanduf’

Most of our Dahlias came though the winter but our small stand of ‘Honka Surprise’ has disappeared. This is a real shame as they are a lovely thing. We plan to replace them for next year.

Looking at our taller plants the Keith Rushford collection (from 11,000 feet in Nepal) of Borinda macclureana KR # 5177 has done exactly as we hoped providing a 4 metre backdrop to the west border in front of the species Canna ‘Purpurea’

Borinda macclureana towers above the border

We considered dividing the Thalia dealbata in the spring but decided against. They’ve done really well sending up slender stems topped with a strange purple flower above the massive leaves of the Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’ and the Gunnera manicata.

Thalia dealbata flowers pushing up through big leaves

This year the yellow Crocosmias have been brilliant – having not flowered very well last year. However they were 3 weeks later than the red ones on the west side. We’re not sure how to ensure that they flower together next year but pleased to have them anyway.

Crocosmia ‘Sunglow’ in front of the Musa sikkimensis

The Hot! border has had a lot of attention over the last twelve months with a group of volunteers who are undertaking our Planning and Maintaining a Border Workshop which runs for 3 hours once a month over the course of the year contributing a lot of the work. We couldn’t have done it without their help and we’d like to thank them and everyone else who has worked on the border to make it happen.

Those attending that course will know that our advice about an exotic border is ‘ Don’t try this at home’. But working on the Hot! border all year allows volunteers to see how we plan and develop the border every year. Everyone can make their a plan for their own garden and in the spring they grow plants they want in the greenhouse.

You’ll be able to see what those volunteers have tried at home this year in next month’s blog where we hope to have a picture feature of all their borders. Watch this space and if you’re interested in attending the new season’s border workshop and helping with the border in 2016/17 look out for details in our September newsletter.

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