Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

My favourite ground cover flowers unexpectedly

My favourite ground cover for shade is Lamium. I love the texture of the leaves (soft and a little furry), I love the colouring and I love how undemanding it is. Unlike other ground covers (for shade) that I’ve tried before, Lamium keeps itself neat and tidy. Regardless of the weather it always looks perky and fresh and as well as it does in shade, it also does well in the sunny areas of my garden. Bugs seems to ignore it and the variegated leaves brighten up deep shade areas and provide a lovely contrast against the other foliage. It spreads itself well by stems rooting as they grow along the ground, but it is not that fast growing that one can call it invasive – in fact, it took its time getting going. It’s a great ground cover (for me) and I love this easy plant.

Lamium maculatum "Beacon Silver"

The variety I have is Lamium maculatum, “Beacon Silver”. If you do an image search on Google it comes up as having tiny, insignificant pink flowers. We first planted the Lamium in June 2010 so it is now in its 15th month in my garden and I’ve never seen it flower. All the literature hardly mentions the flowers so I wasn’t expecting any. I had in fact forgotten that it might at some stage produce flowers. So it was a great surprise today to find that one section of the garden has Lamium flowering! Even more of a surprise is that the flowers are not pink, but tiny little yellow flowers. They are really small … if I hadn’t bent down to remove some weeds I would probably have missed them. They are very cute and were lovely to photograph.

Lamium maculatum “Beacon Silver” …

[one_half]I love this combinationI love this combination[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The unexpected flowersThe unexpected flowers[/one_half_last]

[one_third]The flowers up closeThe flowers up close[/one_third]

[one_third]Buds up closeBuds up close[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Interesting buds, leaves aboveLast photo, I promise![/one_third_last]

[one_half]Stretching up towards the sunStretching up towards the sun[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Last photo, promise!Last photo, promise![/one_half_last]

The “flowering” Lamium is in a fairly sunny position and I think I fed it recently when I fed the flowering plants around it which might have precipitated the flowers. Whatever, I think they’re kinda cute.

Happy Gardening

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Something very special: Trachelospermum Chameleon

CameleonToday at the nursery something caught my eye – the most gorgeous plant. Planted in a rather large planter was a tall bright pink bougainvillea under-planted with something that looked vaguely familiar, but not quite. I looked, I admired and moved on … but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and  I had to go back. After looking at the hundreds of plants available for sale, I HAD to have this one plant that is not! On closer inspection I discovered it is a Trachelospermum ‘Cameleon’. “Chameleon” has the most exquisite colouring … gorgeous variegated leaves but instead of only flowering, the leaves change from green to white to pink. Variegated white and pink leaves – heavenly. Oh, and I have to mention that this photograph simply does not do this gorgeous plant any justice. It is so much more beautiful in reality.

After deciding that I really “Needed” one of these, I called over the assistant and pointed it out offering to purchase two or three. He went running around the nursery and eventually came back to tell me they don’t have any for sale and didn’t know if or when they would get them again. He kindly took my name and number and will call me if they get them again.

At Ferndale they had it as a ground cover (i.e. not creeping). I liked it that way although from what I can tell it would probably do very well as a creeper too.

A search on Google for this plant brings up very limited information but the words “rare” and “unique” come up in reference to Trachelospermum ‘Cameleon’. RHS Nursery Finder have no info, just a mention of it in a plant list. Gardeningexpress in the UK list is as: Trachelospermum jasminoides Chameleon – Rare Pink and White Variegation; Unique new evergreen Trachelospermum with bright green, white and pink leaves. Makes an unusual ground cover, or stunning, compact climber. Produces masses of fragrant white flowers in the summer, doing best in semi-shade to shade. (See, it needs shade! It would be PERFECT in my garden!)

Now I’m thinking … if they don’t call me soon with the happy news that they found me one of these plants, I am going back there and asking them to dig one of theirs up for me … I have to have at least one of these!!

Is anyone familiar with this plant? I would so love some credible information about it.

Happy gardening!

Ferndale Nurseries contacted me on Friday morning (11 March 2010, i.e. 3 days later) to tell me they had my plants! Hows that for great service! I went there to get them – they got ten in, another person had ordered two of them, so I took six. They were quite small and pricey (quite a bit more than I normally spend on a plant this size), but I really love them and believe they are going to be a great addition to my shade garden. Here is my follow-up post.

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New plants

Newest acquisitionsHere are the photographs of the things I bought on Sunday. I went to the Nursery to but a few Alyssum (not in the photos – I planted them straight away) and came home with all these “extras”. The plant you see right in the front is my purchase of a “Margaret Roberts” Lavender – just like yours! I think I will have to plant this in that small “full sun” patch I have at the back, or else I will put it in a pot on the back patio. I was SO excited when I found it at the nursery, because I’ve been hunting for one for ages!

My other purchases includes 2 x Blue Ice™ PBR Agapanthus. The Aggies do so well in my garden and these were different and gorgeous (and were a great price – on special), so … they came home with me. The blurb on them says they do well in containers so they might go into the yet unfilled urn I have. Still deciding on that. The other plants are a Mandevilla to go with the other one I have (I have a white one, this one is bright pink / cerise), some begonias (to see how they do in my shade areas), Impatiens to replace the trampled ones and two shade-loving ground covers for that bare patch which is Dexter’s playground. Lets see how hardy they are and if they can cope with Dexter!

[one_half]The lotThe lot[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Blue Ice AggiesAggies[/one_half_last]

Now for some cooler weather so I can get out and plant them all!

Happy Gardening