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Forsythia Mikador, is a new variety of this ever popular plant spotted at the recent Salon Vegetal in Angers, France. It has compact, healthy growth and is smothered in flowers in the spring. Forsythia breeding has been undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic for decades but very few seem to find their way into garden centres and nurseries. My list of the 86 varieties held at the National Collection in Angers can be found here:(http://gardendesignacademy.blogspot.fr/2012/03/forsythia.html)

Arboretum Gaston Allard. Angers, France. By Louise LeGresley.

Plant of the week 12 - Forsythia - named after Scottish arboriculturist William Forsyth (1737-1804), who was one of the founder members of The Horticultural Society of London. There are many varieties of Forsythia, including some very superior French forms, but sadly it is unusual to see more than a small handfull offered by retailers. Lynwood is the most well known: a strong and floriferous shrub that is easy to grow in a border or as a hedge.

Annecy, France

J. J. Humblot - Floral shop in Annecy, France

Week 35 - Papaver somniferum 'Pink Fizz' - our first bedding annual for Plant of the Week is a favourite of mine - the Opium Poppy. I grew this variety from seed this year and we are delighted with it. It can be sown directly in the ground to fill gaps in borders. We like to sow different varieties each year (this one is from Thompson & Morgan) and allow them to self-seed and grow where they will, removing any that are in the way but leaving those which pop up somewhere useful.

The first frosts of autumn 2012.

Plant of the week no. 44. Pyracantha laden down with berries. Ideal as hedges or free-standing bushes, Pyracantha berries are apperciated by wild birds; we make jelly from them when the birds leave any. Yellow varieties include Soliel d'Or, Golden Charmer and Teton which is resistant to Fireblight and Scab diseases. Red-berried Apache and the following have been bred for the same strengths: ‘Fiery Cascade’, Mohave, ‘Navaho’, ‘Pueblo’ Pyracantha ‘Rutgers’ and ‘Shawnee’ .

Regneville Normandy

Plant of the week 11 - Daffodils, Narcissus in botanical Latin, which speak of the spring more than most plants. This photograph was taken in our garden in Bedfordshire, reminding me of a painting we bought many years ago. Depending on which botanist you talk to, there are between 40 and 200 different daffodil species, subspecies or varieties of species and over 25,000 registered cultivars (named hybrids) divided among the thirteen divisions of the official classification system.