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Thought for today - Blog Post 1/6/20 Plant Moments

Each year I write a piece for a magazine or journal, website or social media post about a subject that is what makes gardens, garden design and specifically planting design a magical skill.

‘Plant Moments’ become more special to me every time I write about them and each year new ’moments‘ find me and I appreciate their value in planting design and in the landscape as a whole.

Wisteria floribunda ‘Shiro-noda’ LN
Wisteria floribunda ‘Shiro-noda’ LN

Plant moments are those special hours, days, or weeks (but rarely months) where a plant does something in its growth cycle of such majestic beauty that it takes your breathe away. Something ethereal in nature, here one day and gone the next. Miss it and wait a year for it to return. While having plants they are all singing, all dancing for 12 months of the year may sound appealing, they lose some of their lustre by being too available.

Lots of plants have special moments that make them incredible, even if only for the briefest time. Some are flower, but many are the push of new foliage, or a particular colour change that makes them shine.

While many of these moments appear on individual plants and may not stand out on a landscape scale, some are truly vast. The fall colours of New England trees would be an example. Some years they are pretty rubbish, where on others they Can be mind-blowingly vibrant and utter absorbing in their beauty.

Wisteria floribunda ‘Shiro-noda’  flower LN
Wisteria floribunda ‘Shiro-noda’ flower LN

Over the years, favourite plants seasonly whet our appetites for these special moments. I have several special places or individual plants that I delight in seeing each year. One of my favourite individual plants is in flower currently. I don’t own it and I don’t know the owner, but local to me is a stunningly beautiful White Wisteria that for the last 4 years has captured my heart and mind for a few short weeks each May.

Wisteria floribunda f. alba ‘Shiro-noda’ which used to be called Wisteria floribunda ‘Longissima Alba’ (and can still be found in some places under this name) is a pure white form with long (60cm/2’) pendant flower racemes. More easily damaged than the blue flowered forms, so perhaps more beguiling when perfect. A late frost could be its undoing each year, but it has performed for each of the years I have known it.

I will definitely be planting this in my next garden as I would very much like to keep this special plant moment close to me when I next move home.

Wisteria floribunda ‘Shiro-noda’ LN
Wisteria floribunda ‘Shiro-noda’ LN

Whatever your special plant moment and I do hope that you share them with me, the anticipation, the risk of failure and the reward are all equally exciting to wait for and what separate the design of ‘the plant‘ from any static construction material, paint colour or no living surface. Their change; both season and over greater time makes them a little unpredictable, finite and fascinating. All good qualities I would suggest.

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I’m really lucky to live in Crowborough. They call it ‘Scotland in the South’ because it has lots of pine trees, the ashdown forest nearby and probably Arthur Conan Doyle living here. Lots of exceptional plants around and enthusiasts gardeners. I’m spoilt for choice!


I like the fact that you’re sharing someone else’s plant. During my daily covid exercise time I often walk to the prom in Kirkcaldy via the Victorian and Edwardian part of Kirkcaldy. There’s lots of old gardens and it’s a real pleasure to see what’s flowering, changing and popping up. My front garden is almost fully gravelled and north facing but I do my best with containers so that there’s something decent to look at in the small area, for myself and for passers by. The compensation is that my larger back garden faces south of course 😊🌞

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