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«2014 Webbed feet What a winter it has been. The measure of the continuous rain here has resulted in a dramatic brimful pond for months on end, a ...»

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Webbed feet

What a winter it has been. The measure of the continuous rain here has resulted in

a dramatic brimful pond for months on end, a thing we rarely enjoy at Marchants

during the drier months of summer when hairline fissures virtually empty this feature

of its contents. Some have not been so lucky however and the unwanted sight of a

living room, kitchen and hallway knee deep in gloopy brown water and sewage has been hard to

watch on television at times in the comfort of a dry and warm living room. Our thoughts go out to all those who have suffered.

Now that we are able to get back into our gardening stride we gardeners will be attempting to count the cost of the atrocious wet weather and its effects on our plants. I suspect it will not be as bad as we might expect, the more so if you have paid serious attention to improving the drainage of your soil. Some soils drain naturally of course but, if like us you happen to garden on sponge-like sopping clay, it is a different matter. We are reaping the benefit of having used tons of grit and compost over the years to raise our soil level and to help open its structure, thereby creating passages of escape for any inundation which takes place. What’s more the herbaceous perennials we grow aren’t described as such without reason. Some of our clumps of Aconitum, Geranium and Helenium are now 17 years old and still remain in good fettle. This is true for a number of our grasses too. On the other hand, many of our Erodium (Storksbill) with their vunerable single trunked roots have disappointingly rotted away even on free draining raised beds. They’re easy on chalk but it seems I’ve been slow on the uptake to adhere to the important adage that you must garden with your soil and not against it. We will have to think of a different approach for our beloved Storksbills.

Our site has always been lean on shade, a problem that has exacerbated the difficulty of growing and caring for of our shade loving plants. Well, it’s all change on that front and as I write a good friend and expert timber framer is constructing a beautiful robust shade structure for us in Larchwood in which to house this range of plants. Hopefully In their new cool home our Rodgersia, Heuchera, etc will be less likely to take on the appearance of potato crisps as the temperatures begin to peak. What’s more, you’ll know exactly where to find me on those blistering hot July and August days.

Important: Future Communications Given the ease with which the majority of us access information through the internet nowadays and the corresponding expense of printing and posting paper catalogues we are becoming increasingly aware that changes need to be made. It is not helped by our mailing list which 15 years after its inception, is now certainly out of dateand very difficult to monitor.

Our website: www.marchantshardyplants.co.uk can already be viewed on line. Our catalogue of plants/grasses for example can be read or downloaded as a PDF file and ‘Graham’s Blog’ aims to keep customers updated on plants, events, thoughts, trips, etc. There is much more besides.

The likelihood is that we will cease to produce a paper catalogue in the spring of 2016. Most importantly, we have every need to stay in touch with you our precious customers and in future propose to do so via email.

For any person interested we will be running a register book for email addresses on the Nursery and in the near future we will also be opening a new webpage for subscription to our email database. As a consequence you will not be bombarded with information. On the contrary, ours will be a gentle approach: perhaps informing you of our nursery opening dates, of our Autumn sale or a Gardening course we may be holding.

We hope to see or hear from you over the coming year.

The Nursery Marchants Hardy Plants is one of the country’s leading small nurseries. The range of handsome herbaceous perennials and ornamental grasses we grow is as varied as you will find and suited to both contemporary and traditional gardens alike.

We pride ourselves on the fact that all our plants are propagated at the Nursery. We grow many plants in numbers too small to warrant inclusion in this list so a visit to Marchants will always prove stimulating.

Our plants are grown in various pot sizes to suit the plant. Through the season plants are sometimes potted on. We therefore reserve the right to change prices accordingly.

Opening hours Wednesday 19th March until Saturday 18th October.

Wednesday to Saturday inclusive 9.30 am – 5.30 pm.

We like to enjoy lunch between 1.00 and 2.00pm. Other times strictly by appointment only.

We require 3 days notice for the collection of orders.

The Nursery does not provide a mail order service.

The Garden The garden at Marchants has gently matured over the years. Our trees in particular have gained a solidity which makes for a marvellous internal backdrop to the other diverse range of plants we grow. However, it is the broad landscape of the Sussex Weald and range of Southdowns 3 miles distant which has provided us with sustaining inspiration. By selecting and experimenting with plants and plantings expressive of a more naturalistic style, we have aimed to create a garden which melds with the timeless beauty of the remarkable vista beyond.

Opening times and garden entrance fees Wednesday May 7th – Saturday 18th October. 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Please note: Nursery opening date (Wednesday 19th March) is not the same as Garden opening date. Other times, strictly by appointment.

1) Individual £4.00 Children under 16 – Free of charge.

Organised Garden visits Visits from Societies, Gardening Clubs, Private Parties, etc are warmly welcomed and we have space for parking large coaches, cars, etc. A visit to Marchants can also be combined with one of several fine gardens in the area making for a rewarding day out. For further details contact

us at:

Marchants Hardy Plants 2 Marchants Cottages, Mill Lane, Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6AJ Tel/Fax: 01323 811737 www.marchantsplants.co.uk Acknowledgements My deepest thanks to Paul for his increasing mastery of plants and customers alike, for Sarah’s precision weeding and pruning and for Helen who has taken to propagation like a duck to water.

To Lucy I remain forever indebted. Her creative use of the Latin language continues to beguile and engage us.

IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ As virtually all of our plants are home grown it is not possible to have all of them ready at any one time. This is particularly true at the beginning of the season.

To avoid disappointment, please note that plants marked with an asterisk (i.e.*) may not become available until Mid-May, or even later in some cases. If you are making a long journey, do please phone in advance to check availability.

ACANTHUS dioscoridis. In early summer over spineless, grey-green leaves, flower stems rise to little more than 30cm, bearing beautiful clear pink flowers. To our eyes, the gem of the genus, revelling in a baked, hot spot. £5.50 A. mollis ‘Rue Ledan’. An extremely beautiful white flowered form, apparently the result of a dog’s regularly cocked leg on the type plant. My own experiments in the garden with this technique have proved fruitless so far. Full sun. 2m. £5.50 A. spinosus Spinosissimus group. A wicked botanic creation, the cut leaves armed to the teeth with spiteful uncompromising spines. Rather beautiful in its own way.

Needs a good roasting to induce flowering. £5.00 ACHILLEA. After several years of trying hard to please these plants, ironically, their ‘Achilles Heel’ has proved to be a complete abhorrence of our wet clay soil and wet winters alike. Yarrows are undoubtedly plants of free draining limestone soils including From chalk on which they can excel. £4.75 A. ‘Credo’. Lemon yellow ‘Plates’, brilliant for the middle tier of the border. 120cm.

A. ‘Lachsschonheit’. Best described as salmon pink, fading to weathered pale pink.


A. ‘Red Velvet’. A seductive crimson-red, the best we have seen in this colour range.


A. ‘Walther Funcke’. Dusky red flowers with a mustard eye giving a tribal rug effect.

One of the finest Achilleas. 75cm.

ACIS autumnale. An oddball Snowflake, tiny white lampshades on dark stems in autumn. Pure charm. 10cm. £4.35 ACONITUM. The stately Monkshoods for the little input they demand of us offer rich rewards in return. The following embrace the colour variation we find among them and From also provide the last rich toned flowers of the gardening year. £4.75 A. x cammarum grandiflorum album. Valued for its fresh green foliage, for its neutral colour and for its flowering season too, at its best through mid July. 1m A. carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’. A meritorious old hybrid (1945) from Germany, still holding its own in the late summer border with its bold upright spikes of blue, helmet-like flowers. 1.8m A. c. ‘Kelmscott’. Fine spikes of rich blue flowers to enrich the September border. 2m.

A. c. var. wilsonii. The last to flower with handsome spikes of rich, violet-blue hooded flowers. Marvellous in association with tawny coloured Heleniums. Flowers of this colour and quality are worth their weight in gold. 2m.

A. nappelus ‘Bergfurst’. Another early bird with spires of dusky, dark blue hooded flowers in July. 1.2m.

A.‘Spätlese’. An uncommon form with large, pale violet flowers from pale green buds.

September. 1.5m.

–  –  –

AGAPANTHUS. No plants match the African Lily in the floral pageant. Flowering from mid-summer, their flower heads come mainly in the blue and violet-purple spectrum, not forgetting white, with heights varying between 30cm and 150cm. It is old hat to think of them as plants for pots only. They respond best when given hearty soil in full sun where they should reward one with flowers for many years. Do consider however when planting their dislike for being overshadowed by aggressive neighbours.

From The following are hardy, trouble free, and tough as old boots and are propagated the old £6.00 fashioned way, that is from seed and by division.

A. ‘Best Barn Blue’. Quite small heads of pendulous, tubular, dark inky blue flowers give this plant a great presence. August/September flowering. 90cm.

A. ‘Blue Moon’. Raised by Eric Smith, this legendary plant possesses a fine constitution and boasts flattened growing, heads of pale, ice-blue flowers on strong 80cm stems in late summer. A few to spare.

A. campanulatus (of gardens). A very strong and hardy plant received from Dick Fulcher in Devon. Perfectly hardy, the mid blue flowers are born on 1.3m stems.

*A. ‘Cedric Morris’. This plant (named after the painter) always stood out in the stock beds at Raveningham Hall, a fine upstanding plant, free flowering with good white flowers. It remains uncommon. 90cm.

*A. ‘Cheney’s Lane’. An exceptionally strong growing, free flowering pale blue form selected by Four Seasons Nursery. 1.25m.

A. inapertus albus. The flower heads of this rare white form are quite small. It remains a beautiful plant. 90cm.

A. i. ‘Graskop’. Intense deep cobalt flowers in small heads on a plant of modest proportions but huge quality. The clone we offer was procured from Kirstenbosch BG and is I believe the true clone. 60cm.

*A. ex. Keith Wiley. A short free flowering Agapanthus with widely flared, pale milkyblue flowers. 40cm.

*A.‘Kew White’. A tough, dependable plant acquired from Great Dixter who received it from Kew. Handsome broad leaves and pristine white flowers with dark anthers.


A. ‘Lady Moore’. Forming tight clumps this is reckoned to be one of the best short white forms. Small head’s of flowers. 45cm.

A. ‘Marchants Best Blue Seedlings’. Large, strong 3 year flowering sized plants raised from our very best and darkest hybrids. Should knock the ubiquitous ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ into a cocked hat.

A. ‘Marchants Cobalt Cracker’. The sheer brilliance of the blue of this, our own introduction, stops most people in their tracks. Need we say more. 70cm.

*A. ‘Marchant’s Midnight Blue’. Another Marchant’s selection and an improvement on the following. Marginally taller, it also possesses rich blue flowers conspicuously flared making it a classy candidate for the border front.

*A. ‘Midnight Blue’. An old and legendary variety from the Slieve Donard Nursery bearing heads of intense, deep blue narrow tubed flowers in July/August. 40cm.

A. ‘Windsor Grey’. A plant of noble habit with broad green leaves and subtle coloured flowers in September being a mixture of white, grey and palest lavender. 100cm.

–  –  –

ALLIUM cernuum. A pretty, widespread N. American species, the heads of nodding lilac pink flowers held over glaucous foliage in summer. 30cm. £4.60 A. nutans. A little seen N. American species noted for its handsome broad foliage and spheres of tightly clustered lilac-pink flowers. £4.60 A. s. ‘New Selection’. A seedling of the following discovered here with similar pink flowers and a Thatcher like vigour. Not for everyone perhaps! 40cm.

*A. s. ‘Pink Perfection’. A fine pink form, good for border and cooking alike. Received an AGM in 1995 from the RHS who must know their onions. 35cm. £4.60 A. senescens var. glaucum. An excellent border front candidate, with intriguingly twisted foliage topped with domed heads of lilac-pink flowers on 20cm spikes. £4.60 A. senescens subsp. montanum. Humble maybe, but extremely valuable for its neat foliage and late heads of lavender-mauve flowers in September. 20cm. £4.60 A. ‘Summer Beauty’. A distinct and strong growing form of A. senescens with larger heads of flowers and broader foliage than is usual. £4.60 *A. thunbergii ‘Ozawa’A tiny Japanese species which brings the allium season to a close with its late flurry of pale purple flowers over narrow glossy leaves in September/October. 15cm. £4.60

–  –  –

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