The Libertia plant makes a tuft of evergreen leaves, hard to the touch and robust, and well able to take exposure to gales, although they do wither a bit at the tips if they are blasted by strong winds.

The dense clump of evergreen foliage can reach over one metre tall and about as wide.

So this Libertia is not really a plant for a small garden or a small area within a larger garden.

The word grandiflora is derived from the Latin for large flower. The word ixioides means the species resembles ixia, another member of the iris family.

The word peregrinans means wandering, which it doses using rhizomatous stems.

Libertia was named in honour of Marie-Ann Libert who was a noted Belgian botanist of the early 19th century.

Garden value

The flowers of the most commonly grown varieties are pure white, especially the large-flowered species.

They are carried in groups, the flowers of each group opening in sequence and keeping the flowering going over a period of several weeks in early to mid-summer.

It has great value in being truly evergreen, bringing greenery to the garden at a time of year when most flowers have withered back for the harsh months.

It also has value in its grassy, even spiky leaves.

These make a great contrast with the rounded evergreen of shrubs and small garden trees, not only filling in at the medium level but also providing a textural contrast and growth habit.

The wandering species is often seen in its golden/brass colour, which is especially effective in winter, although it is less than half the stature of the large flowered kind.

Growing best in full sunshine, a bigger crop of sparkling flowers is produced, but Libertia is remarkably tolerant of shade.

It likes well-drained soil, though not really dry as this tends to make the foliage very dry and inclined to wither.

It can cope well in the shade of trees where it gets enough moisture and the touch of shade prevents it from drying up as it does in full sunlight.

While it provides plenty of greenery and ground cover in this situation, its flowering can be lessened and, rarely, it can be absent.

This plant can be used as a ground cover under trees and tall shrubs, and flowers produced are a bonus.

Other plants of Libertia can be located in the open to give lots of their flowers.

A word of warning though – it can be a prolific producer of seeds and these can germinate in broad grass-like sheets close to the parent plants and literally take over a border.

Now if that is OK, there is no problem but Libertia seedlings are very tenacious and can come up in the middle of less vigorous flowers, eventually out-growing them.

However, this potential problem is easily solved by simply cutting out the seed-heads as soon as flowering is finished to prevent the production of unwanted seeds.

Libertia is not totally hardy but survives in most places with some die-back of the foliage tips.

Ganoderma tree rot

Ganoderma is the genus name of a range of tree-rotting fungi that are found in trees globally.

Fungi have such light spores that they can be carried for thousands of kilometres, eventually establishing new colonies around the world. Probably the most common species is Ganoderma applanatum, which is present in practically every woodland that has mature trees. Also known as bracket fungus, Ganoderma is typically found close to ground level, and usually not more than about 50cm above ground-level.

Ganoderma is the genus name a range of tree-rotting fungi that are found in trees globally.

Occasionally, it might appear higher up.

It is known as bracket fungus because it forms a shelf-like bracket. These structures gradually grow larger by each year, adding on a new layer of white, turning brown, fungal material.

The bracket is the fruiting body of the fungus, producing millions of tiny spores that fly on the wind to start new brackets.

While the bracket structure is very visible, the business-end of the fungus is hidden away in the trunk of trees, feeding steadily on the heart wood of trees.

After feeding for many years, only a narrow band of living material is left but the affected tree is severely compromised and can be blown down in the next gale or in a few decades the trunk often snapping at ground level.

It may attack specimens of many kinds of trees, almost always deciduous species, especially beech.

This week’s reminders

Trees, shrubs and roses

Check young trees and shrubs for signs of drought as the young plants can suffer badly in early summer. Continue to spray vulnerable rose varieties against blackspot disease, especially in the damper parts of the country. Continue to tie in the new shoots of climbing roses so that they will be in the correct position.

Fruit, vegetables and herbs

Repeat sowings of lettuce, radish, turnip, beetroot, scallions and peas could be made. Thin out vegetables that have reached suitable size, and control weeds early. Sow Savoy cabbage varieties, also swede turnips, for winter use. Plant out sweetcorn, outdoor tomatoes, pumpkins and runner beans without delay.


Bedding plants can be planted and containers and baskets planted up. Be sure to control the first flush of weeds among bedding plants.

Continue to watch for slugs and snails in the first few weeks after planting. Be careful not to over-water bedding plants in pots as this makes them leafy and slower to flower.


Grass growth has been good with wildflowers being exceptionally prolific. Daisies, buttercups and red clover have been giving a great show of flowers. Given the strong rate of growth, it is not likely that any lawn would need an application of fertiliser, especially on an area of wildflowers.

Greenhouse and house plants

Tomato, chilli pepper, cucumber and sweet pepper plants can still be planted in a greenhouse, but do not delay further. Continue to feed greenhouse plants every two weeks to get good growth before mid-summer and continue to water well. Use greenhouse shading if the house is likely to get hot. Pot up house plants.

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