Try a trifoliata...

Well the sun has been bringing on the garden which is always good to see, but I have to say I was quite glad today that we had a spot of rain.

 Gillenia trifoliata The Garden House.

Gillenia trifoliata The Garden House.

I love my woodland plants and if you’re looking for a more unusual plant in a shaded or semi-shaded spot in early summer, you could try a Gillenia trifoliata. You need a bit of patience as it’s slow to establish into any significant clumps but once it gets going it will reward you with self-supporting, sturdy plants that get to about a metre high. They are good impact plants with robust foliage and delicate flowers. 

The real plus with it is that it flowers for a really long time - you might even get three months out of it. In my mind any plant that works that hard deserves space if you’ve got it!

I think Gillenia fits in with our particular style of naturalistic planting. It likes acid clay soil, which we can provide although we veer a bit towards shale in lots of places. It also likes a moist soil and we certainly have plenty of damp spots - with today’s rain that’s probably why it jumped into my mind as the plant to feature this month.

It’s readily available even though it’s unusual. I suppose the only drawback is that it isn’t scented, but I don’t think it needs to be. 

This plant’s common name is Bowman’s Root, or Indian Physic, which harks back to the fact that it’s a native plant to North America and used to be used as a laxative. I’m not one to nibble plants or mash up roots - I’d rather just look at it and enjoy the contrast between the dark foliage and light airy sprays of flowers.  It’s certainly a plant to look out for in the garden this month.

Happy gardening; whether you’re in the sunshine or the rain, Nick.