Hartley Magazine

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Press Release: Companion Planting & One Very Special New Introduction

It’s going to be quite a year for the ladies at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with show gardens designed by Anne-Marie Powell, Jekka McVicar, Rosy Hardy and for Hartley Botanic’s 1st ever show garden it’s Catherine MacDonald who will be at the helm. Hartley Botanic MD Johnny Mobasher has long been a fan of Catherine’s painterly style of planting and had her in the frame for the design job as soon as he decided it was time to step up from a Main Avenue award winning trade stand to a full on show garden.

The garden will feature a new plant bred by Matt Soper of Hampshire Carnivorous Plants, and named for his sister Claire. Sarracenia x courtii c.v. ‘Claire Soper’ will be seen for the first time on this garden and has been part of RHS trials and is to receive the coveted AGM. It produces a rosette of very dark purple pitchers throughout the growing season (Mar-Late Sept/Early Oct) with beautiful dark purple flowers in March/April. During the trial plants withstood temperatures down to –9 degrees celsius.

Permaculture is a system that encourages us to simulate or utilise patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems and Catherine will be bringing some elements, such as companion planting to her Hartley Botanic garden which will have three different planting areas; walled kitchen garden, woodland and glasshouse. Companion planting recommends planting of different plants in proximity for pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial creatures, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase plant productivity in the garden.

In the kitchen garden area Catherine will employ companion planting, placing flowering perennials next to and underneath trees such as a characterful medlar, Mespilus germanica, to attract bees for pollination.

This section is home to a wide variety of plants and veg including; Allium schoenoprasum, the horse radish plant Amoracia rusticana, spectacular blue flowered Anchusa ‘Lodden Royalist’, Chrysanthemum coronarium spatiosum, Brassica oleracea sabelica (Kale) Phaseolus coccineus (Runner Bean), Phaseolus vulgaris (French Bean), Lupinus ‘Chandelier’ and Nigella damascena ‘Oxford Blue’.

Inside the fabulous Opus Glasshouse, which is being launched on this garden, the planting gets rather more adventurous. A more masculine and leafy style dominates with trumpet pitcher plants taking centre stage. Several species and cultivars of the genus Sarracenia will feature including S. flava and S. purpurea as well as specimens of the genus Dicksonia (tree fern).

Sarracenia is a genus comprising 8 to 11 species of North American carnivorous perennial plants that grow from a subterranean rhizome and have many tubular pitcher-shaped leaves in which they passively trap their insect prey, collecting pools of water into which their prey are lured, drowned, and digested with no energetic active movement on the part of the plant!

Aquatics include the British native species Butomus umbellatus, Iris pseudacorus, Nymphaaea alba and Sagittaria sagittifolia.

The Woodland Area features Betula pendula, the British native silver birch, under-planted with woodland style plants such as Deschampsia cespitosa, Euphorbia amygdaloides, Galium odoratum, Geranium robertianum, Geum urbanum and Lamiastrum galeobdolon. This isn’t a replica of a real woodland, rather British native species planted in a ‘garden style’, and there are more species planted together than one would find in nature and more flowering plants. The standout colour will be pink-purple with the wonderful Digitalis purpurea adding drama.

Notes to Editors

  • MD of Hartley Botanic, Johnny Mobasher is available for interview
  • Catherine MacDonald is available for interview
  • For additional press information please contact [email protected] Tel: 020 3076 1331 07958 704266
  • The Opus Glasshouse will be donated to the new Horatio’s Garden designed by James Alexander Sinclair at the National Spinal Injuries Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow