Madingley Hall

Gardeners' Choice for late July and early August


Gardeners’ Choice for late July and early August 2015

There are many plants flowering and some beginning to fruit as we reach the height of summer. The Garden Team have each selected one or two plants each to draw your attention.

Nymphaea ‘James Brydon’                                     Croquet and Hickson Terrace Ponds

Colm has chosen this stunning red Waterlily, a perennial with rhizomes (roots) at the bottom of the ponds. The long leaf stalks contain many air spaces to allow the leaves to float. The leaves have all their stomata (for gaseous exchange) on the upper surface, which is opposite to terrestrial species. They prefer still water but the fountain helps aerate the water.


Stipa tenuissima  and Eryngium giganteum                                             Sunken Garden

Sally has chosen the Mexican feather grass. Its compact, upright tuft of thread-like leaves and narrow, feathery, silver-green flowering panicles billow in the slightest breeze, giving the Sunken Garden an ethereal feel. Miss Willmott’s ghost or Giant sea holly provides a perfect partner, with heart-shaped basal foliage and stems of steel-blue cones surrounded by prickly scalloped leaves. Garden mythology claims that English plantswoman Ellen Willmott (1858-1934) used to secretly scatter seeds of this, her favourite plant, while visiting other peoples’ gardens!

Romneya coulteri                                                                             Old Library Border

Richard has for many years been interested in the Papavaraceae, the Poppy family and it is particularly pleasing to see this Californian tree poppy flowering for the first time. The large white paper thin white flowers with yellow stamens are offset by glaucous pinnately lobed leaves. Although it can be a vigorous suckering herbaceous perennial, when it is in flower, it is worth the risk of it sprawling further than originally intended.

Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii'                                                            Old Library Border

Richard has picked a tender perennial which thrives in the height of summer and is one of the favourite forms of this species from Mexico with brilliant cerise crimson flowers. Nearby in the Dart Border is another tender species from Brazil, Salvia confertiflora, Sabra spike sage with pungently-scented leaves and small scarlet flowers.

Image credits: Colm Sheppard