A visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens Pt. 2

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Ed Coughlin

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland have 10 huge glass houses dedicated to diversity in the world’s climates. The horticulturists here do an unbelievable job with placards on the plant’s history and behaviors.

But a picture is worth a thousand words.

Folks here are not only the world’s best horticulturists but they know a little something about presentation.

The entrance into the first Palm House was smothered by a weeping Kashmir Cypress tree.

The assortment of Palms and Orchids was overwhelming.


I thought the process in which this small tree fern (Cyathea Tomentosissima) unveiled its fronds was pretty spectacular.

And for anyone who ever dreamed of a small pond, some fish, and the sound of running water, the Royals got it right!

Feast your eyes on the gigantic Victoria Longwood hybrid water lily.  6’ in diameter, they looked almost too perfect to be real!

Next post; USA, USA, USA!

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A visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens Pt. 1

Posted on June 25, 2016 by Ed Coughlin

In Edinburgh , Scotland for holiday as they like to say, and I got a few hours (not enough time) to visit the world renowned Royal Botanical Gardens. Simply stunning! Only had two hours of a rain soaked Tuesday to explore, but took a few pictures that I thought you might enjoy.

This famous 23’ high Beech hedge row is over 100 years old.

It makes a great backdrop for anything planted on its South facing lawn.

The sculpted lines are only pruned once a year in September but they somehow carved out enormous walkways into the old hedge. Didn’t have a chance to explore, but I think they lead to the famous Victory Gardens.

I talk to a lot of friends who have aspired to do a rock wall (Brad Jones). This Royal one went on for a football field and, even after 3 straight days of rain, had blooms as far as the eye could see.

This is the ever so funky 'Monkey Puzzle' Tree from Chili.

Aptly named by a Brit who when first seeing the strange tree claimed it was “enough to puzzle a monkey.”

Male and female cones appear on separate trees. The males are brown and cucumber- shaped (sorry), and hang from the trees’ lower branches.

Nest post; The Royal Botanical Gardens exclusive glass houses!

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Cool Temps Delay Spring Crop; Expect New Eucalyptus In May.

Posted on May 13, 2016 by Ed Coughlin

Young SouthernEucs Eucalyptus Trees

Cool temps have delayed our spring crop.

Young SouthernEucs Eucalyptus Trees

But the young trees are in excellent condition.

Young SouthernEucs Eucalyptus Trees

We won't push them with heavy fertilizers.

Young SouthernEucs Eucalyptus Trees

We hope to have them ready to ship in May.

Young SouthernEucs Eucalyptus Trees

Thank you for your patience and continued support.

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Farm House Observations: Second Edition - Solomn's seal

Posted on May 01, 2016 by Ed Coughlin

Every spring I wait in anticipation for the perennials I planted last summer to return. Maybe I didn’t have the ideal spot in the garden for them, but they looked good at the local nursery or were priced to sell at one of the big box stores - so in the ground they went!

Most perennials do return and thrive to become those “pass along” favorites like daylilies, irises, and daises.  But I think I ‘m around a 3 to 1 kill ratio for some of the newly introduced and highly priced Echinacea, Coreopsis, and Heuchera plants.

One lesser known perennial that never surrenders to a nasty winter, or a less than ideal location, is Solomn’s seal, or polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ to be official.

Like Eucalyptus, Solomn’s seal is considered a culturally significant plant for its medicinal and restorative value. It is said to be under study by the National Institute of Health for its potential benefits to heart health.

It can be tough to find in retail settings, but if you ever notice (for lack of a better description) a variegated, small “hosta-like” leaf on the end of a narrow stalk, scoop it up and plant it in light shade.

In early spring sturdy stalks push aside pine straw and begin to unravel.  This is the ideal time to devide, “pass along” to a friend, or move to other areas of your garden. By mid spring creamy - white pendulous bell shaped flowers fill arching stems.

Eventually the flowers fade but the real show is in the foliage, just like our beloved Eucs!

The sturdy stems and variegated foliage will hold until a hard frost, but rest assured they won't disappoint like some of their higher priced peers, and will return next spring to start the show all over again!

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Farm House Observations: First Edition - Screens

Posted on April 06, 2016 by Ed Coughlin

I have written in the past about how effective Eucalyptus trees are for use as hedges or screens. Their fast growth, willingness to be heavily pruned, and green to blue to silver foliage make them a no brainer over a Leyland Cypress, Holly, or (gasp) Bradford Pear.

Our updated garden trials continue to show Eucalyptus nicholii ‘Angus’, rubida ‘Cab Sav’, and the newest Southern Euc introduction subcrenulata ‘Ripper’ to be the best choices for tall, fast growing screens. And look no further than Eucalyptus stellulata ‘Sheila’ and neglecta ‘Big 0’ for a hedge row that will turn your neighbor’s heads.

But full garden disclosure here, there is another stunning option for a screen that I have just come to appreciate this spring in my home landscape. Patience is the key here because growth rate is much slower than Eucalyptus. See photo below of Cryptomeria and E. nicholii ‘Angus’ planted at the same time about 12 years ago.


But Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’ (40’tall) under planted with Loropetulam (any of the taller varieties) is something to behold.


The purple to red foliage with their hot pink blooms appear to reach for the cooler dark green foliage of the Cryptomeria giving you not only an effective top to bottom screen but a true focal point in your landscape.


If the Cryptomerias are a bit more screen than you would like, combine the Loropetulum with the aforementioned Eucs for a more open and airy screen and stunning focal point.

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Look to Cold Hardy Eucalyptus for fall color!

Posted on October 14, 2015 by Ed Coughlin

Driving from Farmington, Maine to Portland this past weekend, I was in awe of the onslaught of fall colors. This 60 mile Northeast strip is legendary for its autumn display; locals even bragged that I was a week early for the big show. But it got me thinking of the more subtle, but longer lived color display, put on by cold hardy Eucalyptus trees.

(Eucalyptus camphora & mannifera)

I know fall color is more an attribute associated with deciduous trees, and one doesn’t look to Hollies or Pines for autumn inspiration, but in Eucalyptus trees, coppers, reds, burgundies and even purples in both leaves and branches appear as soon as temperatures drop below freezing. To the best of my knowledge it’s a form of “protection” from the elements; kind of like the healthy look of blushed cheeks on a cold winter’s day.

(Eucalyptus nicholii 'Angus' & rubida 'Cab Sav')

Now I’m not saying the colors of Eucalyptus are going to challenge those offered by Mother Nature in Maine, Colorado, or the NC mountains. But I know I will be enjoying the subtle hues and evergreen foliage well into the winter months when very little else in my landscape is offering up seasonal interest.



Posted in Cold Hardy, Eucalyptus trees, Fall Color, Landscape, Winter Interest

Top 10 Best Uses for Eucalyptus Leaves

Posted on September 04, 2015 by Ed Coughlin


I have an abundance of foliage from Eucalyptus trees now that some in the trials have reached 20’ in just three years. And it seems like the faster I cut, the faster the foliage grows back. So I’ve been trying some different things around the house to utilize the natural fragrance and beauty of the leaves. Full disclosure here, I have not tried 6, 8, or 9.

  1. Arrangements and potpourri. OK, those are givens!
  2. Boil in water and breathe in vapor to clear up congestion.
  3. Hide in sports bags and athletic shoes to make them bearable.
  4. Attach to shower head to infuse water with fragrance.
  5. Attach to ceiling fan for never-ending fresh breeze.
  6. Mix with baking soda and sprinkle on carpets to revitalize.
  7. Hide under car seat for the next best thing to that “new car smell”.
  8. Use for holiday wreaths.
  9. Put under furniture to keep roaches away.
  10. Slip beneath dog bedding to help repel fleas and ticks.


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