The Plant Doctor by Roger Hirons

Plants for British Gardeners Linked to Ecology.

The talk was given by Roger Hirons, “The Plant Doctor”, an expert on plants and garden design, with over 20 years of horticultural experience. His formal training was at Pershore College of Horticulture, followed by many years working in the industry. He gives talks on gardening, on a wide range of topics. Roger says “In a nutshell, I want to help people get their gardens to work for them, by a combination of the right features and the right plants and trees in their best position.” His work includes advising on plant and tree selection, garden design, training, writing and speaking to a variety of groups and organisations.

Roger had brought a number of plants to illustrate his talk, and spoke in detail about many of them. He reminded us that we have the widest range of plants in the world and that a plant that is left to grow becomes a part of history. He stressed the importance of design (as in planting in groups, for best effect); of planning that retains water in our gardens, (using water butts and mulching); of creating “entrances” for hedgehogs and insect “hotels”; of encouraging wild birds with flowering shrubs and trees that bear colourful berries.

Some of the plants Roger recommended will be familiar and others are rarer:-

Pinus mugo Wintergold. A European mountain pine with seasonal changes in foliage colour.

Ilex crenata. Convexa.

Ilex verticillata. A holly also called Winterberry. Masses of long-lasting berries that remain on bare branches during winter.

Ilex aquifolium Amber. Deep yellow berries. Aphids and holly leaf miners may be a problem.

Thuja plicata. The Western red cedar.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum. A flowering tree native to China and Japan, sometimes called, The Caramel Tree for its scent during leaf fall. Spectacular Autumn colour.

Cornus alternifolia Argentea. Dogwood grown for attractive variegated leaves and white flowers.

Arlia elata. A deciduous small tree or shrub native to Russia, China and Japan, also called The Japanese Angelica tree. Prickly stems, flowers in large umbels.

Berberis stenophyla, blue/black fruit.

Liriodendron tulipifera. The Tulip Tree. Impressive large tree, grey/green flower bud with yellow bract.

Ribes Elkington. White currant.

Garrya thuretii. Flowering. Native to the Americas. Produces catkins.

Larix Stiff Weeping. European larch.

Ligustrum japonicum. Excelsum Superbum.

Sophora japonica. Twisty Baby. S. japonica is The Pagoda Tree. Twisty Baby is the form recommended.

Euonymus alatus. English. Vivid red autumn colour, hence the name “Burning Bush” Also known as The Winged Spindle.