Plant of the Month: July

Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’

by Kate van Heel

One of my favourite gardening books is Christopher Lloyd’s ‘Succession Planting for Adventurous Gardeners’. I love the photos of his garden showing the same border at different times of the year. How wonderful to be able to have borders that look fabulous all through the year! However, for mere mortals such as myself it is not so easy to achieve, which is why I look for perennials that keep on flowering for a long period of time. Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ is one such plant. With streaked orange petals opening from bronze-red buds finally maturing to yellow, it produces a colourful and endless display from midsummer through autumn.

Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’

‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ was awarded an AGM in the 1999-2001 trial despite being very new.It was found growing in Kaas Sahin’s (a Dutch nurseryman) trial garden and came to notice because it flowered for a much longer period than the other seedlings; it had begun in June and was still going into November when it was given to Bob Brown of Cotswold Garden Flowers, who began to sell it the following year.

Helenium is a genus of about 40 species of annuals and deciduous herbaceous perennials in the Asteraceae family native to the Americas. They bear yellow, red, or orange daisy-like flowers. A number of these species have the common name sneezeweed, based on the former use of their dried leaves in making snuff, inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits. The name possibly means Helen-Flower after Helen of Troy, and legend has it these plants sprang from her tears.

Like most plants in the daisy family, Heleniums prefer full sun but will be fine in part shade. Also, like many daisies, Heleniums still look great when the petals fall because the seed heads are like little globe structures on the end of stems.

Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ is called “The best and earliest Helenium for garden use” by Val Bourne. She suggests planting it alongside other vibrant coloured flowers such as Crocosmias or Dahlias, or with dark blue flowers such as navy blue Aconitum ‘Spark’s Variety’.

In my garden I have it planted with Crocosmia ‘Walcroy’ (sold as Walberton Yellow) and Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Dikke Floskes’. In another section it was planted alongside the tall Crocosmia masoniorum but it was time for a change so, with plenty of time on my hands this spring, out came the crocosmia and in its place has been planted Monarda ‘Saxon Purple’. The monarda has yet to flower but Sahin’s Early is starting its long run, popping up between Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ and Veronicastrum ‘Lavendelturm’. I just love it!

Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’

Images courtesy of the Hardy Plant Society Image Library

Lockdown Gallery – week 15

June 29th to July 5th

Weather: Low pressure rules – wet and windy weather dominates, with below average temperatures

Pat Gore leads the way with her first submission – including a potential new rose and a ‘potty’ question for you

Ann Fritchley is back with a fine way to light up a corner

Maggie Youdan just beat the rain with these pictures

Preston Harrison’s submission includes a fine lavender hedge

Maggie Sugden’s flowers have caught the light beautifully

Katherine Hill returns after her first entry two weeks ago – here’s how to train your dragon

Diane Rawnsley is delighted to be deer-free this year!

Terry Benton offers some wide Wiltshire vistas this week

Denise Dyson needs a name for a plant she hates

Liz Hall demonstrates the best way to enjoy sweet peas in this week’s weather!

Pat Inman is struggling with some identity issues – can you help?

Late June represents the height of Hackett horticultural aspiration, so more than usual from me this week!

Kathy’s Quiz: no 13

Every week during the Lockdown, W Yorks HPS member Kathy Howard will produce a horticultural quiz to keep our minds fresh. The answers (no cheating please!) will be published alongside the following week’s quiz questions.

For answers to Quiz TWELVE, click here

Below are dictionary definitions of common gardening tasks .. can you name the tasks? 

1. Break up and move earth with a tool or machine, or with hands, paws, snout.  (3 letters)

2. Plant (seed) by scattering it on or in the earth. (3 letters)

3. Breed specimens of (a plant or animal) by natural processes from the parent stock. (9 letters)

4. Trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to encourage growth. (5 letters)

5. Separate into parts. (6 letters)

6. Cut (grass) with a motorized trimmer. (5 letters)

7. Remove faded flowers from (a plant). (8 letters)

8. Keep safe from harm or injury. (7 letters)

9. Put into the ground so that it can grow. (5 letters)

10. Collect or obtain (a resource) for future use. (7 letters)

Kathy’s Quiz: no 12 – Answers

Gardening Gadgets – true or false?

1. Hori hori : A multipurpose gardening knife. The word hori means “to dig” in Japanese and “hori-hori” is the onomatopoeic representation of a digging sound. TRUE

2. Grape storage bottle: To impress by serving out of season, Victorians stored grapes in glass bottles which were filled with charcoal and water TRUE

3. Cucumber straightener: a glass tube used to make cucumbers more aesthetically pleasing. TRUE

4. Vine weevil crock:  shallow pots often made of thick terracotta to which compost, weed roots and sulphur can be added to tempt those unwelcome pests. FALSE

5. Dusting bellows: These were used in the18th century to disperse powdered insecticide. TRUE

6. Thistle spud: used for cutting out thistles, some had ornate blades shaped as thistles. TRUE

7. Giraffe hoes: extendable tool used by early Victorians to retrieve weeds from herbaceous borders without treading on precious plants. FALSE

8. Dutch grubber: particularly useful for rooting out annual weeds, this tool head resembles the sails of windmills. FALSE

9. Thatcher’s Wimble: Known also as Wimbrels, or Scud Winders in Suffolk,  used to make straw string. TRUE

10. Thin gumajig: widely popular labelling and naming device, cheaper and less time consuming than Victorian ceramic, steel or glass systems. FALSE

Lockdown Gallery – week 14

June 22nd to June 28th

Weather: A proper midsummer heatwave finally dispels all doubt – summer has arrived

Joyce Kenny makes a welcome return this week and leads the way

Sue Gray has some fine plants to show, despite a little pest problem…

Maggie Youdan is focussing on Clematis this week

Preston Harrison’s garden is bursting with roses – and songbirds

Kate van Heel is back in the gallery

Judith Ladley has a Vira Vira (nothing to do with that virus)

Terry Benton has a couple of fine ‘birds’ in his garden

Kathy’s Quiz: no 12

Every week during the Lockdown, W Yorks HPS member Kathy Howard will produce a horticultural quiz to keep our minds fresh. The answers (no cheating please!) will be published alongside the following week’s quiz questions.

For answers to Quiz eleven, click here

This week we have Gardening Gadgets – true or false?

Below are ten gardening gadgets from past and/or present. Six are genuine, four I have made up… Can you tell which is which?

1. Hori hori : A multipurpose gardening knife. The word hori means “to dig” in Japanese and “hori-hori” is the onomatopoeic representation of a digging sound. 

2. Grape storage bottle: To impress by serving out of season, Victorians stored grapes in glass bottles which were filled with charcoal and water

3. Cucumber straightener: a glass tube used to make cucumbers more aesthetically pleasing

4. Vine weevil crock:  shallow pots often made of thick terracotta to which compost, weed roots and sulphur can be added to tempt those unwelcome pests

5. Dusting bellows: These were used in the18th century to disperse powdered insecticide

6. Thistle spud: used for cutting out thistles, some had ornate blades shaped as thistles

7. Giraffe hoes: extendable tool used by early Victorians to retrieve weeds from herbaceous borders without treading on precious plants

8. Dutch grubber: particularly useful for rooting out annual weeds, this tool head resembles the sails of windmills 

9. Thatcher’s Wimble: Known also as Wimbrels, or Scud Winders in Suffolk,  used to make straw string 

10. Thin gumajig: widely popular labelling and naming device, cheaper and less time consuming than Victorian ceramic, steel or glass systems

Kathy’s Quiz: no 11 – answers

The challenge was to identify the plants in the following pictures, which have been dramatically ‘shopped. The name of each plant is given beneath the picture

Question 1: Eryngium
Question 2: Lonicera/Honeysuckle
Question 3: Hydrangea
Question 4: Allium
Question 5: Hosta
Question 6: Geum
Question 7: Iris
Question 8: Astrantia
Question 9: Auricula
Question 10: Acanthus

Lockdown Gallery – week 13

June 15th to June 21st

Weather: Finally the cold, wet spell ended and warm sunshine took its place – albeit with plenty of showers

Ann Fritchley leads us off this week with a handsome Crinodendron and a dire warning for trespassers!

Liz Hall has been facing up to some fasciation!

Pat Hunter is back with a couple of lovely Roscoeas, among other beauties

Our Wiltshire correspondent, Terry Benton, may have been sold a pup…

A big welcome to the Gallery for first-timer Katherine Hill

Diane Rawnsley is back with the last of the late Camellias!

Maggie Sugden’s selection includes a sumptuous dark lily

Last week’s weather didn’t help many plants in the Hackett garden, but here’s a selection of those which are still unbowed

Kathy’s Quiz: no 11

Every week during the Lockdown, W Yorks HPS member Kathy Howard will produce a horticultural quiz to keep our minds fresh. The answers (no cheating please!) will be published alongside the following week’s quiz questions.

For answers to Quiz Ten, click here

This week, the challenge is to identify the plants in the following pictures, which have been dramatically ‘shopped. Some are easy, some less so! Just the genus is required, of course

Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 4
Question 5
Question 6
Question 7
Question 8
Question 9
Question 10