tender perennial

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Zingiber spectabile is in the family Zingiberaceae. Commonly known as beehive ginger, it is native to the jungles and forests of southeast Asia. Beehive ginger is a tender herbaceous perennial that sprouts from a fleshy rhizome, and produces stalks that can reach up to 8 feet tall. The most striking feature of this plant is the inflorescence, composed of fleshy bracts arranged in a beehive-shaped pattern. Inside the cups of the bracts are the true flowers which are cream and purple with scattered yellow dots. Like its relative, the true ginger, the rhizomes of the beehive ginger are also used by humans albeit for medicinal purposes instead of for culinary uses. The leaves and rhizomes can be harvested and made into a paste to treat a variety of ailments included burns, headaches, and other pains.

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Plant of the Day

Sunday 24 July 2016

Dahlia cultivars have such a great range of flower sizes, shapes and colours. As tender perennials they are great to fill gaps in borders or to grow in containers for summer colour. The only challenge is selecting which tubers to order, as I found at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show!

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Wednesday 9 September 2015

The dramatic spiky flower heads of Salvia confertiflora (Sabra spike sage) selected here to compliment the front door. This Brazilian plant is a tender perennial in the UK growing up to 1.2m tall. Over the season it becomes woody at the base, with pungent rough textured leaves and slender brick-red furry textured spikes of small flowers in late summer and autumn. Here it is being grown in a container for a summer display and will survive the winter in a glasshouse as rooted cuttings.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Pelargonium cotyledonis ‘Ventnor’ (geranium) needs cool but frost-free winter conditions with regular watering and in the summer drier, partly shaded conditions without excessive heat. During the winter the white flowers and foliage is produced with partial or total defoliation happening during summer dormancy.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day
Tuesday 19 July 2016

Fuchsia boliviana (Peruvian fuchsia tree) is a medium evergreen shrub reaching 2 - 4 m tall with a spreading open habit. It is a native to southern Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. In the UK it is a tender perennial grown in a container as a conservatory plant with large hairy green leaves and large drooping bunches of sealing-wax red flowers.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Monday 22 August 2016

Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’ (ornamental sweet potato, sweet potato vine) has dramatic chartreuse foliage ideal to brighten a summer container and provide contrast in baskets, window boxes or garden beds. Here it was enlivening some containers and matching the colour of the cafe seating! Definitely time to celebrate with a coffee today as the college where I have taught for many year has become a university - so a special day for us at Writtle University College!

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Monday 31 October 2016

The herbaceous perennial Salvia ‘Amistad’ (sage) produces flowers from mid-summer with large deep purple tubular flowers with black calyces. The blooms are produced for a long period until the first frost occurs. The upright stems are covered with aromatic, slightly downy, corrugated, bright green leaves. This plant grows best in light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil. It needs a sheltered position and may overwinter if the plant has full sun and good drainage.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Saturday 1 October 2016

Helichrysum petiolare ‘Goring Silver’ (everlasting flower, trailing dusty miller) is a useful summer bedding plant especially for trailing over the edge of containers. This tender trailing perennial is a native of South Africa and thrives in sun or part-shade with a well-drained soil. It is grown as an annual from softwood cuttings with rounded, grey-white leaves and with small flowers that are best removed as they distract from the texture of the foliage display.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Thursday 3 September 2015

Graduation Day for our talented students in Writtle School of Design and horticulture - congratulations to you all and celebrate your hard work!

The rich, regal colour of Dahlia ‘Sam Hopkins’ seemed a suitable plant on a day when we shall all be looking smart. This Dahlia is part of the Decorative Group growing from a tender perennial tuber. It requires moist but well drained soil. In the south of the UK they can be mulched deeply and overwintered in the ground but normally they are lifted and stored in cool, frost free conditions.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Sunday 25 September 2016

Here the vigorous semi-evergreen climber Passiflora caerulea ‘Constance Eliott’ (passionflower) is covering the end of this pergola. This fast-growing climber will grow in sun or partial shade and thrives in moist but well-drained soil. This plant is a tender perennial and so in colder areas it may be grown in a glasshouse or conservatory.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Friday 4 September 2015

The Dahlia border is a traditional feature of the English country house. The one at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge, is planted so that the different cultivars proved a spectrum of colour from white to deep purple. The interpretation helps people understand Dahlia groups, how to cultivate the plants and the names of the different cultivars linked to numbers in the bed. Dahlia ‘Purple Pearl’ is today’s star being a Medium Decorative with distinctive blooms of deep maroon edged in white.

Jill Raggett

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Plants of the Day

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Two large decorative flowered dahlias that started the sweep of blooms in the Dahlia border at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge, UK. The pure white flowers of Dahlia ‘Silver City’, and the remarkable pink-tinged flowers of Dahlia 'Café au Lait’. The root tubers of these plants will be lifted for the winter and stored in a frost free place. In spring cuttings can be taken from the new shoots and the tubers can also be used again but there can be a build-up of virus infection.

Jill Raggett

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Plant of the Day

Saturday 5 September 2015

The glowing flowers of Dahlia ‘Bracken Lorelei’ in the Dahlia border of Anglesey Abbey, Cambridge, UK. This cultivar is a waterlily type, with petals known as a flame blend. It was registered in 2004 by N.W. Nauman, Bracken Ridge, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; the plant world is truly international. Notice how important the sweeping curve of the hedge is as a background to this display.

Jill Raggett