Posts tagged ‘liquidambar orientale’

June 20, 2016

Under planting in pots

by Ciaran Burke


The space beneath trees and shrubs trained as standards offers the opportunity for gardeners to add an extra layer of colour and interest. In our collection of pots that form our garden, I look upon these spaces with great interest, an opportunity not just to squeeze in more plants, but to select plants that will complement the primary ten want of the container.

Recently I brought home from my work a Fuchsia magellanica that I had trained into a standard. After planting it in a terracotta pot and carefully placing it, the bare compost that was the plants new home demanded my attention and I had to find a few more plants to fill around the bare base of the newly planted shrub. While at Johnstown Garden Centre in Naas I picked up the very attractive Dianthus ‘Fire Star’; nicely fragrant and the deep red flowers were a perfect compliment to the red sepals of the fuchsia flowers. A small potful of  Sedum oreganum joined it, the reddish tinge of its foliage the reason for its selection and then an unnamed Pelargognium, a trailing variety with dark red flowers. Now the picture was complete.


In another a pot a combination from a couple of years ago continues to entertain;nth rough the dense foliage of a Liquidambar orientale a cheerful Potentilla scrambles without a care while the ever curious and intrepid stems of Parahebe perfoliata wander to explore every empty centimeter of the compost. The beautiful blue flowers dangle freely from the foliage of its larger pot cohabitant.


Even in the smallest of our pots there can be a chance to combine. On a table is plant of Tsuga canadensis ‘Minuta’, it grows in th lid from a terracotta roasting dish into which I drilled drainage holes. Covering the compost is a miniature lawn of Sagina subulata that gets studded with tiny and dainty white flowers in summer.

Under planting also provides benefits such as reducing weed growth and can actually reduce water loss from the compost by evaporation, the plants act as a mulch. Gardeners often need to find a place for just one more plant, have a look at your pots, there maybe plenty of space waiting to be filled.

December 3, 2015

Even when it rains…

by Ciaran Burke

The weather may be horrible, a wet and gloomy morning. The day ahead can seem impossibly dreary and it is hard to face the drive to work. That’s how it felt today…

As I descended the steps from the apartment rain drops gently shaking the feathery foliage of Mahonia eutybracteata ‘Soft Caress’ gently called my attention. A moment of admiration in the rain, led to moments more, a little time to reflect and appreciate.

The power of nature, witnessed through the beauty of plant life, made the day seem better. Not having a garden, we grow our plants in pots and other containers. We pass them by each day; they helps us to connect with the world and seasons, cheering up each day.

The flower buds of Viburnum tinus ‘Lisa Rose’, the few leaves of Liquidambar orientale paled yellow before the winter sleep, the humble nodding petals of Helleborus ‘Winter Bells’, and the cheeky faces of Viola in the vertical planters. They made my morning seem brighter, even in the rain.

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