Tag Archive: honeysuckle


Honeysuckle_(Lonicera)_Flowers_In_Garden._Hampshire._UK‘Late lingers now the light, and through the night

A glow creeps eastward round the northern sky.

The sun comes early, quickly rises high,

Shines down upon a world of June delight;

On fields of hay, and lanes where grasses sway,

Their graceful panicles in fine array.

Wild roses, soft of hue, and fragrant briar,

And wayside wastes with poppies set afire.

Now family parties picnic by the stream,

Or roam in wonder under mighty trees,

And little children plough through bracken seas,

Wild fancies flying in a waking dream.

At last dusk falls, and shadowy moths appear

Where honeysuckle scents the evening air.’

John (Jack) Kett

from ‘A Late Lark Singing’ (Minerva press 1997)

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Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera (synonym Caprifolium and common names Honeysuckle or Woodbine), is a genus of arching shrubs or twining vines native to the Northern Hemisphere. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle, 100 of which occur in China, Europe, India and North America, with about 20 native species in each area.

The name Lonicera stems from Adam Lonicer, a Renaissance German botanist (1528 – 1586). He was noted for his 1557 revised version of Eucharius Rosslin’s herbal. Lonicer was born in Marburg and studied here and at the University of Mainz, and obtained his Magister degree at sixteen years of age. He became professor of Mathematics and Doctor of Medicine, becoming the town physician in Frankfurt am Main. His true interest though was herbs and the study of botany. His first important work on herbs, the Kräuterbuch, was published in 1557, a large part dealing with distillation.

Adam Lonicer

Adam Lonicer

Some species names of Lonicera include:

L. aureo – reticulata = golden veined, a variety of L. japonica

L. caprifolium = a herbalist name for a plant that climbs like a goat

L. fragrantissima = most fragrant

L. nitida = shining- the glossy leaves

L. periclymenum = to twine around, the true ‘Woodbine’ or ‘Honeysuckle’

L. pileata = having a cap, the berry being topped by a curious outgrowth of the calyx

L. sempervirens = always green

l. syringantha = the flowers resembling Syringa (Lilac)

L. xylosteum = a disused generic name from the greek xylon (wood) – the woody stems

The common honeysuckle (L. periclymenum) is a vigorous twining plant with large cartwheel-shaped flower-heads made up of rings of curved, almost tubular shaped individual flowers, which open white, but often red-flushed, for most of the summer. The plants climb rapidly up trellis or over arches, where they associate well with climbing roses or other varieties of honeysuckle. They are also superb trained up into trees or covering old tree stumps.

Sources and further information:

Wikipedia

RHS- growing honeysuckles

BBC- Common honeysuckle

Quizzicals: answers to the two clues given in Plantax 14 …

  • Cold yearning = Chile Pine
  • How Jack Charlton refers to brother Bobby = Orchid

Old School Gardener

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clematis ground coverAn interesting question this week, from a Trevor Arzan of Nether Wallop:

‘Some of the stems on my Clematis have fallen down and are growing along the ground, where they seem to be doing quite well. Can this or any other climber be used as ground cover?’

Clematis make very good ground cover plants as do the yellow-veined honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica ‘Aureo -reticulata’) and the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris). Many roses, especially ramblers, can also be used in this way.

So turn what you might use as climbers into creepers!

And climbers are also useful for covering ugly tree stumps. The less vigourous ivies are ideal for this job. Choose one of the varieties of common ivy (Hedera helix) with prettily marked leaves, such as ‘Glacier’ in grey and white, ‘Buttercup’ with young leaves entirely yellow, or ‘Adam’ with white-margined green leaves. I’ve used this approach ona tallish Cherry Tree stump in Old School Garden and the ivies can even look attractive climbing up living tree trunks. And I’ve also used ivy as ground cover with mixed results- if ground elder is present it’s a devil to get this out without completely destroying the ivy, still Ivy is pretty tough and will re-establish.

It’s also worth trying ‘Dutchman’s Pipe’ (Aristolochia macrophylla), with enormous leaves and yellow and purple pipe-shaped flowers. Schizophragma hydrangeoides, with it hydrangea-like  flowers in creamy white, does very well on old stumps and is self clinging.

ivy cherry tree

Ivy growing up from ground cover to girdle the trunk of a cherry tree in Old School Garden

Old School Gardener

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