Six on Saturday: 3.10.20 astrantia fest

The rain is coming down now. We have a week ahead of rain so probably won’t get on with much gardening this week. I was going to get a few things moved and planted yesterday but I got a call from work asking if I could come in early to cover. So the garden job list is building up. This week I’ve gone a bit astrantia heavy and almost all shade-loving options.

1. Building work

The builders have almost finished. The render is on. An extra line of tiles has been added to make up for the extra insulation on the outside. Hopefully, it will be tied up soon so we can get things back in order and start to move pot plants back.

It has created a lot of dust on some of the plants where they had their builder’s rubble bag. But the rain has come down and washed it off now.

2. Astrantia major ‘Alba’

This went in the front garden a month or so ago and while it is a bit floppy with the wind and rain of the last few weeks it is establishing well. While the main focus of the shaded front garden is foliage it’s nice to have a few flowers. The whites of these really stand out for the contrast against the other plants. Perfect shade plant.

3. Astrantia major ‘Claret’

This was Alice’s purchase from our recent trip to Scampston. It’s a wonderfully rich red. The photos don’t really do it justice. Ones do light, ones too dark.

4. Astrantia major ‘Margery Fish’

Also known as ‘Shaggy’. Named ‘shaggy’ by the great plantswoman herself but known better by her own name. I bought some of these seed as an add on to another order. I’ve not had much luck with trying to save seed from astrantia so I thought I try and buy some and see if they do any better. This is a spikey white variety. It’s a little different from Alba which has green edging to the petals. These are pure white. It also goes by the name ‘Hattie’s pincushion’ which entertained me as it’s my mum’s name. Hattie, not pincushion. They seem to take a little time germinating and can need periods of cold, so ideally they need to go in the fridge if not germinating. Our fridge is too small for that though so they’ll just move inside and outside if they aren’t germinating.

5. Coniogramme emeiensis

This is a Chinese native originating from the slopes of Mount Emei.  Plant profiles suggest it is tender at H3 or H4. My suspicion is that it won’t remain evergreen but should return in spring as it would experience -10 and sometimes lower in its natural environment. I’m split between placing it in a pot close to the heat of the house or in a sheltered bordered spot. The foliage is so striking for a fern that I hope I can keep it going. I reckon it probably just hasn’t been trialled enough to rate it hardier but we will see.

6. Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’

This is another native to China along with Siberian regions of Russia, Manchuria, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. Reliably hardy and another shade lover. Brunette is a more compact form. This was another purchase from Spampston. They had it growing in the borders. The contrast between the leaves and white flowers is very attractive. I am going to clear some rather thuggish hardy geraniums so I can place with a backdrop of euonymus on one side and ferns behind so the dark leaves should stand out. The ferns are reliably evergreen so they provide constant year-round interest. It spreads by rhizomes so I’m hoping it should be able to claim a little area here.

We are heading out to Alice’s dance lessons and then to the garden centre to collect some craft materials Alice wants to make Halloween decorations and the Works bookshop is based in the garden centre. So we should be able to pick up some coloured card and other bits. Not specifically after any plants today but we’ll see what specials we get directed through and whether I can resist.

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24 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 3.10.20 astrantia fest”

  1. I have several astrantias in the garden, so always appreciate seeing more. I like the colour of A.’Claret’. I thought I’d bought ‘A. ‘Venice’ recently, but lifted the wrong plant, and it was only when I got home that I looked at the label and realised my mistake. Another purchase is needed. The foliage of the fern is beautiful.

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  2. Astrantias seem to be having a second season at present. I think the rains of August gave them a boost. They are great garden plants. Nice selection!

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  3. I’ve had a plant of the Coniogramme for a few years, intending to plant it out when it looks robust enough to survive outside. It is deciduous and unlike most of my ferns, slugs are not averse to going for the new leaves when they emerge. Maybe next spring it’ll make it into the ground. My fern book gives it a hardiness rating of zones 8-10, so not the hardiest but overhead shade and a covering of leaves will get it through no problem.

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    1. I’m confident of it surviving. I’m coastal so miss the worst frost’s most years. Looked up temperatures where it naturally grows. I just reckon, like you say, it won’t live up to the evergreen it says on the label.

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  4. I love astrantias. They flower for such a long time, and cope with semi shade here. Good do-era; and I love ferns too. I must buy some more. Thanks for sharing. Karen

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    1. I think they are both in need of shaded fertile soil. Was planning to put a good mulch down around the area. My clay should have the right level of moisture so just need to make sure they have the nutrients they need.

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  5. It is lovely seeing your Astrantia, and the different colours. I bought my first plant, A. major, to see how it will do in my garden. So far so good, but the heat has not hit us yet! I think the flowers are incredibly beautiful. The Coniogramme has got the most unusual patterning on its leaf! I really do hope your plant survives the winter.
    Here’s hoping that those building works will be completed soon so that you can get things back to normal again!

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