The last two talks at Ticknall Garden Club have concentrated on the small flowers that often go unappreciated in the garden. Dr Andrew Ward from Norwell Nurseries near Newark identified some of the little gems that can shine in the shade of a woodland floor.
The primrose and lungwort are early flowering plants that provide nectar for foraging bees. The celandine variety “double bronze” is very controllable. The wood anemone is well adapted to spreading in dry shade. Brunnera with its bright blue flowers will brighten any shaded area. The dainty cyclamen coum and hederifolium create a carpet of colour quite quickly. Epimedium have delicate nodding flowers which are appreciated better if foliage is sheared back in late winter. Geranium phaeum and nodosum will thrive in the driest of soil. Both corydalis and erythroniums however need moisture throughout the year. As do the fascinating flowers of the trillium. These were just some of the many colourful flowers that reward planting in shaded areas of the garden.
Jack Willgoss from Wildegoose Nursery in Shropshire enthused on the delights of the modest little viola. His passion has led to a collection of over 160 varieties. Pansies are also botanically violas but each have undergone different breeding patterns since early Victorian times. The pansy descends from the farmland viola “tricolour” and with judicious interbreeding has developed the large face and bright colours that are popular today. The viola, an altogether neater and more sophisticated plant, has been bred from crossing viola cornuta, a high alpine flower, with viola lutea; a fragrant native plant. Crossing these with fancy pansies has resulted in a wide variety of choice.
When treated well they are reliable perennials. Many have a lovely perfume. They keep on flowering with the help of frequent deadheading. Some are delicate and need to be planted in pots but many are well behaved, front of border plants and are ideal for planting beneath roses. The plant is even edible and great for salads and cake decoration.
Jack Willgoss is so passionate about the viola that he and his wife have dedicated their gardening career to it and have developed an awe-inspiring nursery and garden. The story of their singleminded drive to realise their dream was an inspiration and proof that with hard work and perseverance a dream can come true.
The truly amazing array of garden flowers that were featured in the two talks proved that anyone can have a scattering of flowers sparkling like jewels in their garden throughout the year.