Solid, no-nonsense cottage garden plant, with its long, pointed bracts, owes a debt to Margery Fish who grew several cultivars in her garden at East Lambrook Manor in Somerset.
Margery Fish wrote, “A very interesting and unusual variation of Astrantia major is found in cottage gardens in parts of Gloucestershire. The bracts are pale green, about three times as long as in the normal type, and very shaggy. I have never been able to find any name for this truly decorative flower, nor does it seem to be included in any dictionary. I have been given a plant and I hope it will increase and seed itself as generously as ordinary Astrantia major does.
Euphorbia characius subsp. wulfenii ‘Lambrook Gold’
Mrs Fish used the black-eyed Euphorbia subsp. wulfenii characias in several places to good effect. One of its chance seedlings produced a particularly good yellow form that she propagated and subsequently named ‘Lambrook Gold’.
Artemesia absinthium ‘Lambrook Silver’
The now well-known silver beauty, A. absinthium ‘Lambrook Silver’ was the product of a chance mating. Mrs Fish wrote that “It looked spectacular against the dark green of the ‘pudding’ trees or massed with Artemesia ludoviciana.”
Polemonium ‘Lambrook Manor’ also known as ‘Lambrook Mauve’
Margery Fish first mentions this plant in ‘Gardening on Clay and Lime’ and was a variation growing in the garden that she named. It’s foliage grows to about 30cm and makes a good, dense ground cover. Its beautiful pale mauve flowers appear over a long period from late spring.
Galanthus nivalis ‘Margery Fish’
Within its division, this is unquestionably one of the most distinct and its shape and markings make this a unique snowdrop. It was found in the famous ditch garden in 1987 by Andrew Norton, the previous owner of East Lambrook Manor.
Galanthus plicatus ‘Walter Fish’
This cultivar was found by the previous owner, Andrew Norton, in 1988. Like most of the snowdrops at East Lambrook Manor, it was found in the famous Ditch Garden, growing near to nivalis ‘Margery Fish’. It has a perfectly straight pedicel and a very unusual flower shape.
Galanthus ‘Dodo Norton’
This galanthus was first noted by snowdrop experts in 1990, but it was in 2000 that this diminutive hybrid caused some excitement when it was again spotted by a gathering of enthusiats and this new marvel was loudly proclaimed desirable and name-worthy. This unusual dwarf variety with a wonderfully large bell flower was named by the new owners, Robert and Marianne Williams, who felt that this plant should be a memorial to the years of dedicated work at East Lambrook Manor by the previous owners, Andrew and Dodo Norton and so the snowdrop was named, ‘Dodo Norton’.
Galanthus plicatus ‘Lambrook Greensleeves’
This snowdrop was discovered in the ditch garden here at East Lambrook Manor and was noted by snowdorp expert, Matt Bishop, in 2001 when he was compiling his new work of reference, the book entitled, ‘Snowdrops. A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus’. This variety is very notable as the leaves are a bright, slightly shiny green, being totally devoid of the usual glaucescence.
Scilla bithynica ‘Somerset Pearl’
Discovered here at East Lambrook Manor in 2002 by bulb expert, Alan Street, who noted the scilla because of its wonderful pearl white flower, quite unlike the normal pale blue form. BBC Bristol television viewers were asked to name the plant in 2004. The name ‘Somerset Pearl’ was suggested by Mrs Jean Penny, and this was felt to perfectly describe the new Spring flower – a legacy for the county of Somerset.
Geranium cinereum subcaulescens ‘Lambrook Helen’
This new geranium was discovered by our freelance propagator, Tom Wild, in his parents garden in Barrington, Somerset in 1996. It was a chance seedling and the combination of its colour and growth habit make it unique. Tom donated the plant to the garden in 2003 and the new owners asked him to name it. The ‘Helen’ refers to his partner. This plant is so desirable that the gardens are having it professionally propagated for sale here at the Margery Fish Plant Nursery in 2005.
Artemisia absinthium ’Lambrook Mist’
In 1993, for the RHS Artemisia trials at Wisley, we submitted a plant of Artemisia absinthium from the garden here. It was found to be rather distinct, maintaining good foliage throughout winter and providing a good dense structure with particularly fine foliage. We therefore named it ‘Lambrook Mist’ It was shortly to receive an Award of Garden Merit.
Geranium x oxonianum ‘Lambrook Gillian’
This variety was named here in the early 1990s. A profusion of very pale pink flowers, with very faint pink veins, are produced over a long flowering period. Its early foliage has attractive brown markings.
Santolina chamaecyparis ‘Lambrook Silver’
This santolina forms a nice low clump of silver-grey, feathery foliage, making it suitable for a small hedge. Button-like lemon-yellow flowers are produced in June-July. Margery Fish discovered this variation in the garden here, being more silver and with slightly larger leaves than the species.