I recently spent some time with my parents on Madeira. It is seriously a plant-lover’s paradise! Here are some of the crazy-looking plants I saw…
This wonderful creature is called the Mickey-Mouse bush. The yellow flowers fall off to reveal these cute red sepals, and eventually produce black fruits which give the plant its common name. Isn’t it lovely?
And this is the kapok tree. Earlier in the year it has striking red five-lobed flowers which are apparently very attractive to bats, but its main importance is the fruit: a light fibre which is used as an alternative to down as stuffing for soft toys and upholstery. I’m told that the fibres loosen and float off, to the great annoyance to residents…but to me they are just cool!
I love almost every colour of rose, but I think pink roses are my favourite. And even though it goes against my California-native/drought-tolerant principals here in California, I couldn’t resist a few David Austin roses in my new planting schemes. This
is one of my all-time favorites, Gertrude Jekyll, planted last year and finally hitting her stride. Doesn’t she look great against the grey of the deer sage?
is a new friend, Charles Rennie Mackitosh, planted in February and about to reward me for my faith. You can take the girl out of England… 🙂
While lilacs (syringa) can survive in California, they need attention to really thrive. Lilac in England is a completely different proposition. Given the minimum of care, it typically runs a little wild in a garden hedge or the back of a border.
But when the results look (and smell!), so good, why not?
Bowood House, near Calne in Wiltshire, is a fine example of an English Country House. The gardens and part of the house are open April-November and are well worth a visit. Every spring the owners open their justly famous Rhododendron Walk to the public, and this year I was able to go. But though the rhododendrons are spectacular, my interest was elsewhere…