Photoblog

Witch hazels24.03.2020
A few days ago began astronomical spring. Unfortunately, along with that came late frosts which were strong enough to damage some new growths on plants that had emerged meanwhile. Never mind, though looking a bit unsightly at the moment, they will recover soon.

One plant which does not mind late frost and has been the top attractive bloomer recently is witch hazel. Did you know that its name has nothing to do with witches practicing magic? It is an old version of wice meaning bendable, allegedly referring to its branches which in my view are rather breakable :-)

These plants make v-shaped, deciduous shrubs that produce flowers in as early as January (variety pending) and bloom for 6-8 weeks. There are plenty of varieties developed from the most common hybrid hamamelis x intermedia which was made by crossing h.japonica and h.mollis. Their fringe-like flowers are yellow, orange, and red and release a strong, unique perfume on a sunny and warm winter day.

In the picture is one of the most profusely yellow flowering varieties Arnold Promise.
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Historically the first orange flowering variety is Jelena
Witch hazels24.03.2020
This variety was bred by one of the witch hazel pioneers Jelena de Belder-Kovačič (1925-2003) from former Yugoslavia (now Croatia). After graduating University of Zagreb with a degree in agronomy she was granted a rare permit to study abroad so in 1952 she left Zagreb to study in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. In 1955 a Belgium diamond merchant Robert de Belder and his brother George saved an old nursery with a huge collection of ancient trees in Kalmhout from turning to a housing estate. Having heard of that Jelena bicycled to the nursery to meet them and to discover the natural treasure. Seeing Robert’s passion for plants they started working together and a romantic relationship quickly developed between them. After three months they got married. Jelena settled in Belgium permanently and started breeding hamamelis and later other species (rhododendron, hydrangea, prunus, and malus). In 1955 their first witch hazel bloomed with extraordinary and very fragrant orange flowers. Robert named it after his wife Jelena and entered it at an exhibition in London where it received a Certificate of Merit by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society).
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Jelena and her work was so inspiring that it was just a question of time for someone else to breed an even deeper in the flower colour - to so popular red shades. And here it is - German variety Feuerzauber has the devilish rich red tone.
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Talking of the devil an angel is sure to appear! :-) This variety is called Angelly. Coincidence? Intention? I am just pulling your leg. This variety was bred by a teacher of botany Jan van Heiningen who named it after his two daughters: Angeline and Elly. By the way all of his varieties bear girl names and all of them begin with the letter A.
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Well, and this one is Robert. It is another beautiful, orange flowering witch hazel that was selected in Hemelrijk Arboretum in Belgium, and named after Robert de Belder in 1998. But this boy is quite changeable ...
Witch hazels24.03.2020
... so his red brother was named simply Red Robert. Can you see the red? Absolutely awesome!
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Aurora bears the biggest flowers described so far.
Witch hazels24.03.2020
Today's good-bye is one of the most striking varieties with fantastic colours. Its name is ambiguous and it is entirely up to you what you go for - it is (an) Old Copper :-) Take care and stay heathy!
OPEN18.03.2020
Based on exceptions our garden centres are open if safety rules are kept, especially - you need a face mask to enter, keep a distance of 2m, no cash payments allowed.
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
How did you enjoy today? Honestly, I am not really sure if Friday the 13th has the same meaning in English speaking countries like here - this day is believed to bring bad luck and everyone should stay away from anything difficult as it might go wrong. Well, thing did go wrong, and not on Friday the 13th. The whole world is dealing with a global pandemic which swipes out smiles off our faces.

Still, I am an optimist and believe that everything will turn for the better soon. In order to bring something nicer in front of your eyes I made a few evening pictures of our stock which we have kept unloading off heavy trucks for more than a fortnight. Plants and flowers make me happy and always cheer me up even on rusty days. Will they do the same to you? :-)
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
Primroses and other early perennials are out already in a profusion of colours!
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
Lenten roses are available in so many colours and varieties like never before. I think this is definitely the largest assortment we ever had :-)
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
The earliest or winter blooming camellias are out in my garden as well as in our shop.
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
Ornamental plums are out, too.
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
And the first magnolias can't wait either! What do you thing about those standard cryptomerias in between them, cool, aren't they? :-)
Friday the 13th13.03.2020
And if you want to see more you simply have to come! We are open Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm in Prague and 9am-6pm in Chlumec. See you soon!
E-SHOP 2020 IS UP!20.01.2020
From October 2019 we have been looking for new plants to please you with in spring 2020. We have just started loading our webshop with those items, and along with goods in stock there are over 15,000 plants ready and waiting for you to be put into basket heading for checkout. Be them in stock, or awaiting supply from our growers, they are available to order now if you want to make sure they will not sell out by spring. Use the search window or check our online CATALOGUE which shows all new entries along with the date of addition. Happy shopping!
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
I don't like winter. That's a fact. My most favourite winter sport is swimming :-) And looking out of the window into sad and sleeping landscape is almost unbearable for me which is why I promote evergreen plants as much as possible, and those that can flower in winter so that this cold period does not feel so dull.

When I was young I wanted to live on a tropical island (who wouldn't?), enjoy the sunshine and heat, and harvest coconuts and pineapples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But growing older I realized that I am no Robinson, and that my place is here, though it gets freezy in winter. For us, Central Europeans, it is a midnight hour on our biological clock telling us that it is high time to get some rest, and to recreate our powers. And that with the spring approaching there will be plenty of new energy and growth we must get ready for. In other words we need to slow down heavily, almost to stop in order to start running again. I was always wondering - what about those of you living in tropical or subtropical climates? If your weather does not change much in winter do you have something similar that tells you to stop for a while?

Having said that, I still have the need to enjoy the garden and the world outside my window even during winter to somehow overcome the sleepiness of this period. Evergreen plants are great for that, and there are also plants that can take light frost to a certain degree and still produce flowers. Like pansies for example. So we got a nice batch of them, plus some small-flowered violets and primroses :-)
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
Aren't they pretty?
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
And what about the large-flowered ones?
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
Yes. This is what I could't resist - I could not resist their beauty and made three flower boxes packed with pansies. I remember seeing them in London outside the pubs on window sills and around the outside seating areas where no one sat but stood - it seems that the English do not sit down drinking beer :-) The flowers can take down to -5°C of night frost without any damage if the day temperature rises to zero or above. If the frost takes longer or gets deeper, the blooms wilt and the plants go dormant until the warmer days of late winter to keep on producing new flowers. Our winters seem to be shorter and come later in the season so we have plenty of time to enjoy these flowers well into late January or February.
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
Even though we had some snow and night frost the flowers are untouched and make me happy looking outside my lounge window. They can really cheer up one's day!
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
We have them available in 5liter pots - nice and bushy plants ...
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
... or in those cute containers of various materials.
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
Large-flowered pansies are sold in 6-packs of one colour, or you can buy them individually and mix them if you want more colours. Each single plant costs 25 Kč.
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
Primroses are available in 9cm pots in very handsome colours and combinations. So did we tempt you enough to make a winter container with something flowering? :-)
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
I couldn't resist19.01.2020
Welcome to 2020!05.01.2020
Yesterday we were sitting with friends, talking about today’s world and everything happening now. It was interesting to see the different views that were often worlds apart. But that’s alright. We all seek something else and occupy various channels to get the message. And it is obvious that each of us finds a different quality in the same subject. But quality is becoming very subjective nowadays. It seems that the world today makes us tag each situation with a like or dislike as if we were the ultimate jury. Media today expect you to like or malign someone else’s creation and share your rating with the rest of the world.

But who are we to judge? If most of us become the jury there’ll be no one left to create. To do things. Social media creators will tell you that this is a wrong way to look at that. That ‘liking’ was created to support works of others. Truly? Do you believe so? Seeing majority of school kids stuck to their cellphones or ipods all day long is a helping game?

We tend to forget to teach our young to look inwards. Rather than talking about someone else watch your own progress. Find your own path to follow. Determine it and set out, without any need for collecting likes and stars. Appreciate the time you have here to walk the ground of this miraculous planet and see its treasures. Figure out you’re your ability and be a part of the creation. Isn’t gardening one of its most beautiful activities?

I wish you plenty of joy in making, and a peace of mind. And whenever (if ever) you feel unhappy or down don't be afraid to share it! Because THAT is what counts - authenticity :-)
Milan Havlis
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
What else can I show as the first post of the new year than something that I love most - evergreen broadleaved plants. I know, I haven't changed a bit, have I? :-)

For all newcomers here are a few facts:

1. evergreen plants are those whose leaves (or needles) are alive and remain on the plants all year round, even in winter

2. these leaves contain water - not dry like those on oaks and beeches, those leaves are dead and are only waiting for spring to fall down

3. thanks to their animate and fresh appearance they bring the feeling of life as a contrary to dormancy i.e. winter sleep of deciduous trees whose bare branches in the middle of winter feel cold just by looking at them

4. I love them thoroughly and will keep on promoting them so your only chance is to get used to it :-)

Here's a gallery of some pictures I have made within the past two months. And I am sure there will be more during winter so keep checking.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Yes, I do prefer broadleaved plants but I like conifers, too. Especially those with something extra - like this variegated white cedar. Its yellow needles are richer and more prominent in winter, unlike the rest of the year when the yellow is paler and lets the other plants around shine.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Aucubas have long been, and by many still are today, considered interior and exotic plants. Exotic - yes, purely interior - no. These plants have proved tough in zone 6, and you can choose from small and mid-sized, purely green or variegated.

This one is Dentata with toothed margins.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
I love close-ups ...
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Sulphurea Marginata - the foliage is so perfect as if plastic.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Mountain laurels offer various shades of green, more leaf shapes, and most of all exquisite flowering in late and early June. And on top of that they are so hardy they can be grown in outdoor pots all year round. Click on the link with variety name of each of them - unless you know them already, I guarantee you will love them! This one is Mitternacht (Midnight).
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Olympic Fire
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Starntaler
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Or even dwarf Elf.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Similar foliage you can find on a rare and dwarf variety of Japanese privet called 'Korean Dwarf'. It makes neat and dense shrubs ...
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
... which in June flower profusely and smell almost like lilacs.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Entirely different foliage you can find on hybrid choisyas. Their leaves are palmately divided which unique among hardy evergreen plants. And they are very hardy and flower enormously all June with small, white flowers which smell like orange blossoms, hence the plant name Mexican orange blossom.

This variety called White Dazzler flowers twice - in May and in autumn.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Aztec Pearl was historically the first hardy hybrid made by Peter Moore from England. It has the freshest green colour and largest leaves.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Talking of unique leaves and plants, this bamboo-leaved oak looks like anything but an oak, don't you think? It long, light-weight leaves do resemble those of a bamboo. And as it is naturally reproduced by seeds (acorns) which tend to be variable when it comes to evergreen oaks, new seedlings may vary with leaf shapes, length, and also colour of newly emerging growth.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Acorns appear on older plants and are quite small but handsome :-) In this and the following picture is ssp.glauca which belongs to the myrsinifolia group but is also sometimes listed as a separate species.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
And when I say older I mean for example something like this ... Are you saying that it is a mature, 20-year-old plant? No way, this oak grows fast, at least half a meter or more per year!
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Only a couple of years ago I found this immense beauty among oaks - Spanish oak quercus x hispanica. It has nothing to do with Spain but that's another story. The leaves are what I love it for, not its history. Aren't they just gorgeous? Pity is that is not cultivated much.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Oaks once more. Another reliably evergreen and hardy oak is holm oak. Its leaves are even more variable which makes the more sophisticated growers separate them into varieties. My most favourite is olive-leaved variety oleifolia.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Last summer I visited Italy to see some macchias (evergreen forests on dry slopes), and made many pictures of various shapes of holm oak, but let's talk about that later. Here is an autumn picture of a nice tree, the species.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Talking of macchias, mock privet is on of its typical plants, though a little less common these days. In the picture is a variety Les Barrés
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
And macchias would not do without photinias. This one has very iteresting leaves - heavily serrated at margins. Its name is Crunchy.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Photinas make a stunning display of copper orange, red, or burgundy red new leaves. Recently, the most successful one is Italian variety Mandarino, commonly sold as Carré Rouge. It often makes new leaves yet in autumn and the colour persist throughout winter.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
And this photinia is such a tiny baby. It is aptly called Chico and only forms low cushions.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
What about colours, do you fancy them on evergreen plants? You will then love evergreen silverthorn. There are a number of them with variegated leaves today.

Maryline is the latest introduction from France. Both its colours and habit are unique.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Limelight is an older, faster growing variety with darker colours.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen shrubs are the most popular for hedging. The fact that they permanently block views from neighbouring streets, gardens, and houses is highly valued. One of those in high demand is still Novita cherry laurel. I can understand that, it is beautiful but also big. Very big. I know you can say you will prune it. But once you don't it will overgrow and make such thick wood that will be difficult to hide. So growing Novita count on 4-5m at least. If that's what you're after, have it!
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Rotundifolia is shorter, naturally rounded and dense, it has ligher green leaves but is a bit more tender. In harsh winters (below some -22°C) it slowly dies off from the top and needs time the following spring and summer to regenerate. Still, no doubt about the fact that it is awesome!
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
BUT! There is another variety which is completely hardy, grows slower, and has deep emerald green foliage. It belongs to our top cherry laurels and is called Etna.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
To be honest, my most favourite evergreen hedging plant remains Angustifolia Portugal laurel.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
It has narrow, thinner leaves which can close a bit during cold spells and survive them better. Moreover its branches turn red in winter.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Portugal laurel, too, has its variegated form. It is surprisingly called Variegata, and makes somewhat smaller, spreading shrubs whose branches also turn red in winter. Isn't it cute?
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Portugal laurel makes thick trunks and strong wood owing to which it looks great as a standard tree. This is the species (no variety) on a half-standard trunk. Handsome, what do you think?
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
There are also plenty of evergreen perennials. We will leave them for some other time. Yucca - Adam's needle is often considered one of them while botanically it is a low, rosette-forming, evergreen shrub. Most of the hardy ones bear soft leaves with non-prickly tips. They are cultivated for both impressive, giant bell-shaped flowers in early summer, and foliage of various colour combinations. This variety is called Colour Guard.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Golden Sword
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Foliage of the species is pale green to bluegreen.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Not forgetting the climbers, here are two of the showiest ones with large leaves - Caucasian ivy.

Sulphur Heart
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
Dentata Variegata
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
And if you prefer small leaves have a look at this Burkwood's sweet olive. Apart from small, elegant foliage it produces masses of fragrant, white flowers in spring.
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
And towards the end of today's gallery there's a rarity. A big one though it is still small in my garden. Its name is wheel tree. Why? I am not giving any clues this time, read something about it :-)
Evergreen delights05.01.2020
And to prove that I DO love conifers, too, the last post is a gem among them. Nana Gracilis Hinoki cypress. Growing very slowly, showing its lush emerald green colour that is difficult to beat.

And that's it for today. See you again soon!

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