Gardens, Plants, Landscapes and Churches

Posts by hillman42


The month when we treasure any plants which remain in flower and the emphasis moves on to autumn foliage colour.

Aster amellus ‘Veilchenkonigen’ – One of the best cultivars of this group of European asters. Compact, free flowering, with stems that do not “flop”. Superb in early October and later.
Parrotia persica – a compact growing version of a tree renowned for bright autumn foliage. This one is only 80cm tall after five years.
Oxydendron arboreum – An ericaceous shrub which can slowly develop into a small tree. Given acid soil, partial shade and reasonably moisture retentive ground, it is a trouble free addition with vivid red autumn foliage.


Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’ – This is probably the most universally popular variety of all the autumn flowering Michaelmas Daisies. Easy to grow in good soil and an open situation. Will flower for many weeks from August to October
Erica terminalis (Erica stricta)
Erica terminalis

Erica terminalis is a form of “Tree Heather” and can grow up to 90 cm or more in favourable conditions. The growth is stiffly erect. Flowers are produced over a long season from summer into autumn months. They fade to a warm brown colour and look attractive through the winter. Plants will tolerate alkaline soils and flourish in a sheltered, sunny situation. Sometimes known as the Corsican Heath, native to the western mediterranean. Not too easy to buy a plant nowadays; but, I found some at Bodnant.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ – We grow lots of Hydrangeas and many are of the easy going paniculata group. All have the same formula of being fully deciduous shrubs with white coloured flower heads. There are plenty of variations in ultimate size and some have flowers with attractive cream or green colouring in the early stages. Many cultivars have flowers which age to pink or reddish shades, increasing an already long season of interest.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Dart’s Little Dot‘ – This cultivar is comparatively short and compact. The flowering heads are less dense than usual. Their colour quickly turns from white to pink.
Crocosmia ‘Emily Mackenzie’ – My favourite large flowering cultivar. Seems to like where it is growing here and has stems well over 90 cm in height
Clematis rehderiana – A chinese species which grows vigorously and flourishes in a sunny place. AGM plant
Anisodontea ‘El Royo’ – A vigorous and tough member of the mallow family which has flowers during most months of the year.
Cosmidium phillipine – A dainty little annual for a sunny spot. Can be sown on site.
Aristotelia chilensis ‘Variegata’ – Growing here in a shaded and very dry situation. A very useful evergreen to lighten a dull corner in the garden.
Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’ – A strong growing “Spindle”, now producing masses of youngsters from its roots. Very reliable autumn colours early in the season, when growing in full sun.
Catalpa bignonoides ‘Aurea’ – This is pruned hard every spring. The result is a compact, bushy plant with tropical sized foliage.
Eurybia ‘Macho Blue’ – A modern hybrid in an Aster related genus, native to Northern America. This has proved to be a very robust plant reaching around 60 cms in height. It flowers from august to october with sturdy stems and does not get mildew. Could be a useful alternative if Aster amellus and A. x frikartii varieties will not grow for you.


Coreopsis verticellata ‘Grandiflora’

Aster amellus – a plant of the native european species, raised from seed
now rare in cultivation and in the wild
Gentiana asclepiadea – One of the easiest species of Gentian to grow, this can reach 90 cm
in height. Likes soil which retains some moisture and a spot in dappled shade. Will grow in
alkaline soils


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Evening view towards Hay Bluff

Our home garden is on the west side of the Malvern Hills, 800 feet above sea level. In 2014, I started a renovation project and, given the area involved, it is likely to be an ongoing task.

Early Spring towards Old Colwall
One of the first jobs was to transform a battered box hedge into a cloud effect
in spring 2015 two island beds had been planted

This area is at the northern end of the largest level piece of ground in the garden. It used to be a chicken run, then was just a patch of rough grass mowed at irregular intervals. All of it completely infested with running buttercup.

The same area in 2019
within the island beds 2019
Mixed Border 2019
Runner Bean time

Looking towards the north, this border screens the vegetable garden. Beyond you can see that the garden has a generous background of mature trees. The area of garden facing west has a tree or two at the southern and northern ends. We are careful not to plant anything which might obscure the view along the 100 metre stretch in between. This consists of two very steep banks with a narrow pathway running midway. There used to be a “Ha Ha” between the garden and the front park field. Eventually, the supporting wall collapsed. For many years we did not have time to do more than allow the banks to grow a wide assortment of wild flowers and a giant specimen of Rose ‘Wickwar’. Willow Herb, Teasels, Foxgloves and Buddleias fought their way through brambles and rose briars. We started the clearance job in 2014. The Rose ‘Wickwar’ still remains on the upper level. It is a massive grower with viceous thorns, of the sort which retain your clothing after you have escaped. A lot of pruning is required every year to prevent it from imitating a triffid.

The pictures in the gallery below give an idea of the current planting. If you click on one a larger image and slideshow will appear.

The conifers on the upper bank were planted in 2015 and are growing in a sunny location between the ‘Wickwar’ and a large Silver Birch. on the north side of the birch the bank is much lower and is semi-shaded. This area is now home to a variety of plants needing acid soil and shade. South of the birch and below the conifers, in full sun, there is an alpine bed. Further to the south, over 40 metres of raised bed, on the sunny lower bank, holds a wide variety of plants able to cope with dry conditions. The steep upper bank on this southern stretch is still being worked on. In 2019, a mixture of Lavenders and Roses was planted along the top level, next to the croquet lawn.

There is a drop down menu which includes various topics such as Plant of the Month ( or plants).

Wyche and Colwall Show 2019

This year’s show was held in Colwall on Saturday 10th August. Over 70 exhibitors took part. Many of them were members of the Wyche and Colwall Horticultural Society. The Society have organised the show since the 1960’s; before then it was known as The Wyche and Upper Colwall Show and was founded in 1942.

The horticultural society members donate proceeds from the show, an annual lecture and other events to The Percy Picton Memorial Fund.


Area where I can waffle freely


                 SPRING  COLOUR  around the garden



Saxifraga opositifolia Alba

Saxifraga oppositifolia ‘Alba’





Synthris reniformis



The Picton Garden.    Southern end in April.  This is where many of the Snowdrops were flowering earlier in the year.



Hacquetia epipactis



Primula ‘Broadwell Chameleon’.  A hybrid with Primula allionii raised by Joe Elliott.



Prunus incisa ‘Oshidori’



Hepatica x schlyteri


Primula clarkei

Primula clarkei.  This plant flowered first in March and was frost damaged. But, here it is again in April, as good as new.



Camellia ‘Debbie’.  Camellia plants seem to be tougher than the flowers. They seem to grow well in various places on the Malvern Hills. Given reasonable weather, we get to enjoy the blooms.




Rhododendron pachysanthum.   This plant is growing in the silver garden, where we benefit from the very attractive young growth.




Anemonella thalictroides ‘Oscar Schoaf’



Ribes sanguineum ‘Koja’



Trillium chloropetalum



Helionopsis orientalis



Magnolia stellata ‘Waterlily’



Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Flore Pleno’







Percy Picton 1904-1985

PERCY PICTON was a well known plantsman, gardener, nurseryman, lecturer and broadcaster. The Charity was established by The Wyche and Colwall Horticultural Society in 1987, as a lasting memorial to their late president, who had a special interest in encouraging people to learn more about the world of plants. The society organise an annual lecture to raise funds for the charity. In addition the members of the Society raise money from plant sales and other activities.

The charity is small and qualification for a grant is restricted  firstly to people who are resident in the Malvern Hills area and then those resident in the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, plus the Stratford-upon-Avon district of Warwickshire.

Grants can be available to people following horticultural studies at Pershore College or similar establishments. Help is also given to apprentices and trainees in private and public gardens and nurseries. Research studies related to plants are eligible for consideration. Training should lead to a career within Horticulture, Gardening or Botany


We are grateful to the Great Dixter Trust for enabling the charity to arrange for short time work experience in the garden at Great Dixter.  Other locations in gardens and nurseries are  usually available.


Funds are available now.  Applications are welcome and should be sent to the trustees at the address below.


Great Dixter

Great Dixter




   registered charity number 518787

Mr. David Hodgson, Phelps Cottage, Coddington, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1JH


telephone     01531 640622



PERCY PICTON a life with plants


                    NEWS  AUGUST 2018


Between 2016 and 2018 the PP Memorial Fund has been delighted to help two horticultural trainees from Malvern to further their education and careers.

Dominic is now employed by the National Trust at the world famous Hidcote Garden.

Daniel has just completed his course as a student at The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. The Fund was able to help him undertake a scientific study of alpine plants in their natural habitat and in several Swiss alpine botanic gardens. He has recently been on a work experience course at Great Dixter and learned much about their unique way of using a wide variety of plants. Daniel is now about to work in a Swiss alpine botanic garden and will, this autumn, become a student gardener at RHS Wisley.

Click on the link below to see more.

Work Experience Report.compressed


                    NEWS DECEMBER 2018


This autumn the trustees have received a number of enquiries. Several have been followed up by applications for a grant. The trustees have been able to award grants to two applicants who are training in practical horticulture, one applicant who is completing a PHd course and one applicant who is undertaking a course in botany, with a view to teaching others.


LATEST NEWS 4th DECEMBER.    The WYCHE AND COLWALL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY  have raised their largest ever donation for the charity. Thank you to all the members and committeee for such a wonderful effort.

Special thanks to Heather and Kay for their hard work with the brilliant plant stall.  TO ALL TRAINEES and STUDENTS of HORTICULTURE  please keep the applications coming !






Paeonia rockyi group



Picton Garden, early spring

Picton Garden in early spring

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae 'Helen Picton

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Helen Picton’

Rhododendron augustinii

Rhododendron augustinii

Meconopsis 'Lingholm'

Meconopsis “Lingholm’

Stewart sinensis

Rhododendron 'Naomi Pink Beauty'

Rhododendron ‘Naomi Pink Beauty’

Primula auricula 'Mayhem'

Primal auricula ‘Mayhem’

Davidia involucrata

David involucrata

Rosa 'Empress Josephine'

Rosa ‘Empress Josephine’

Fraxinus pensylvannica 'Variegata'

Fraxinus pennsylvannica ‘Variegata’

Crinodendron hookerianum

Crinodendron hookerianum

Cornus kousa 'Satomi'

Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’

Cercis siliquastrum

Circus siliquastrum

Aster thomsonii 'Nanus'

Aster thomsonii ‘Nanus’

Arisaema candidissima

Arisaema candidissimum


Daphne petraea hybrid

KN. rooperi 2 4627

Kniphofia roperi


Acer griseum

Hylomecon japonicum 4684

Hylomecon japonicum

Arisamea proboscideum 4751

Arisarum proboscidium


Lonicera americana growing on Percy’s potting shed

Tecophilia 2725

Tecophilea cyanocrocus

Phlox maculata 4554

Phlox maculata ‘Pink Beauty’

Trillium chloropetalum 4449

Trillium chloropetalum

Parrotia persica

Parrot persica

Pieris forrestii 2 4544

Pieris forrestii

Viburnum x Carcephalum

Viburnum x carcephalum


Actinidia kolomikta


Clematis ‘Twilight’


Euphorbia characais

Eucryphia x nymansay 2 4434

Eucryphia x nymansay


Clematis ‘Joan Picton’

Jasminum parkeri best 4072

Jasminum parker

Hellebores en masse 4603

Helleborus hybrids

Embothrium 4532

Embothrium coccineum


Metasequoia glyptostroboides


Helleborus hybridus


Saxifraga grisebachii ‘Wisley Variety’


Dactylorhiza foliosa



Hepatica Ashwood Hybrid


Clematis montana ‘Picton’s Variety’

35 Clem. PP

Clematis ‘Percy Picton’


Galanthus ‘Percy Picton’