Archive for 27/02/2013

PicPost: Cushioned Colour


Chas Spain

On the streets at the White Night Festival with thousands of other Melburnians into the early hours this morning – amazing. On such a perfect balmy night it was impossible to take it all in but the transformation of our familiar buildings and bridges into newly imagined works of fantasy was a wonder. A great celebration of art and invention.

My best thing? – sipping a glass of King Valley bubbly and looking back across the Yarra as people streamed by. My hubby’s? looking at the moon through one of the telescopes on the bridges.

Quite fitting for St Paul’s Chapter House to be one of the most animated displays on the night as it sits by the Chapter House Lane Gallery – a place for wondrous art

A great time lapse of the event is on and for pics of likely better quality look on Twitter for #WhiteNightMelb

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PicPost: Great Garden @ Victor Hugo's house, Guernsey

Victor Hugo’s house, Guernsey

‘Victor Hugo left France in 1851 for an exile that would last 19 years. Following a short period of time in Jersey Victor Hugo came to Guernsey and was instantly captivated by the island.

During his fifteen years on the island he made a lasting impression and wrote some of his most famous works.

Victor Hugo’s home, for most of his exile in Guernsey, was Hauteville House, which remains today as it was left, allowing visitors to see his individual style of decoration.’  (Hauteville House website)

Old School Gardener

Bergenia cordifolia

Bergenia cordifolia

This is a genus of only half a dozen species, but many hybrids. Originally from the moorlands,woodlands and meadows of central and eastern Asia, these evergreen perennials – otherwise known as ‘Elephant’s Ears’ because of their large rounded leaves – are extremely useful as they grow in shade or sun and wet or dry soil.

The leaves are glossy and leathery and colour well in the winter, especially in poor soil. They are excellent ground cover plants, especially in or on the edge of a woodland garden.

The flowers are handsome and are especially welcome in winter and early spring. They also last well in water, and the leaves are also long lasting, making them good flowers for arranging.

Bergenia leaves

Bergenia leaves

They benefit from regular lifting and dividing and this is the best way to propagate them, as gardens with more than one variety can hybridise and produce seed that is not true to the original types. Slugs can be a problem.

Bergenia 'Simply Sweet' in mass planting

Bergenia ‘Simply Sweet’ in mass planting

The Royal Horticultural Society has given its Award of Garden Merit (AGM) to some of the cultivars, including ‘Bressingham White’ and Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’.

Early spring bulbs (Snowdrops, Crocus, Scilla, Wood Anemones) are perfect partners for Bergenia- it’s best to plant both at the same time, ideally in autumn. Alternatively, using a narrow trowel, bulbs can be slipped in between established plants.

Further information:

How to grow Bergenias

BBC Plant finder

Cambridge Botanic Garden (national collection)

Quizzicals: two more cryptic clues to the names of plants, veg or fruit –

  • Helen drives a French car
  • The era of the taxi

Old School Gardener

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