12 April 2012
April and early May is the time of year for growing. With bright sunshine and heavy rain showers the plants have everything they need for food production and rampant growth.This is epitomised by the growth rate of Gunnera manicata at the poolside. First pushing itself out of the soil and then opening up when, by the end of the summer, they will be enormous specimens shadowing parts of the pool for amphibians. This plant is native to the Serra do Mar mountains of South Eastern Brazil where leaves can reach 6 ft wide.
The tree ferns Dicksonia antarctica of the Evolutionary Dell have early crosiers showing in the crown. These will unfurl through the coming weeks to produce magnificent long fronds. This is an ancient plant whose trunk has evolved to produce rhizomes and advantitious roots instead of bark. They are native to Tasmanian forests with high humidity and rainfall so they feed from the trunk as well as from the soil.In a shady area of pollination the low growing Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten’ has striking green foliage with red shades between the veins. At this time of year the spikes of yellow flowers rise above these leaves. A common garden plant in Japan for centuries this is a useful plant for brightening up a shady spot as it is a forest dweller.
Look out for the many different ways that plants emerge from the soil during your next trip to the Garden, it promises to be a colourful year!