Why Won’t It Grow?

With Spring in the air, the new stocks of pond plants will soon be appearing in the shops. On some occasion we have all obtained an interesting plant seen at a supplier, or following a description in a catalogue, book or online article. We’ve tried growing it ourselves and then been disappointed when it fails to flourish. Why won’t it grow?

This article looks into some of the reasons why a plant might fail and suggests how to get plants to flourish in future. Continue reading

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The elusive hardy blue waterlily….

Nymphaea 'Purple Fantasy'

Nymphaea ‘Purple Fantasy’
(Pic: Tamara Kilbane)

Back in the late 1800s the only hardy waterlilies available were white or pink and very occasionally red. Then a Frenchman (Latour-Marliac) succeeded in hybridising waterlily species drawn from different parts of the world, and gave us yellows, more reds, and a cluster of copper-orange varieties. The garden world marvelled at the range, and Monet filled his ponds with the new varieties. Following Marliac’s death in 1911, the numbers of new varieties dropped to a trickle. No other hybridisers seemed to share quite the same knack of picking the right parent lilies to cross.

By the 1980s-90s new hybridisers had finally broken through this barrier, and a multitude of exciting new cultivars started to appear, including eyecatching new peach colours which are already popular with my customers… but no hardy blues.

It is only in the last five or so years that successful crosses between hardy lilies and tropical blue lilies have been made Continue reading

Spring has Sprung… at last!

After the coldest March for fifty years, temperatures are finally rising. Gardens seem to have been in suspended animation for months, but are now awakening.

In the pond too, things have been slow to get going. In many cases frogs have only just started to spawn in the last week – a month later than usual (and a full eight weeks later than the mild spring of 2007).

Now is the time to check that your pumps and filters are functioning correctly Continue reading