Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Salvia nipponica

Salvia nipponica
Extremely late flowering - this woodland species produces flowers of the palest softest yellow on short stems just above the rich green arrow-head-shaped leaves in November.
Salvia nipponica
Easy and hardy in part shade and not too dry, but should be sheltered as much as possible from autumn frosts which would curtail flowering. I would suggest trying it at the foot of the north wall of the house.
2L pots ~ £8




Friday, 17 October 2014

Cirsium oleraceum

Cirsium oleraceum
Cirsium oleraceum

A big lush green non-spiky thistle from the mountain woods of central Europe. The flowers appear on tall upright stems in late summer/autumn and are relatively small and white but held among pale green bracts which makes them rather striking.
Cirsium oleraceum
For cool damp and/or semi shady sites. The young stems and leaves are a good edible vegetable apparently, especially if blanched.
5L pots ~ £12




Friday, 26 September 2014

Salvia azurea

Salvia azurea
A tall slender late-flowering herbaceous perennial with narrow greyish foliage.
Salvia azurea
From north-eastern North America so should be very hardy, and plays well with other prairie plants like Asclepias or Helianthus, and grasses in particular. Mesic conditions in full sun.
3L pots ~ £8




Thursday, 25 September 2014

Acer buergerianum


Acer buergerianum
Acer buergerianum
The Trident Maple. A very pretty small tree or large shrub known for its small glossy three-lobed (hence 'trident') leaves which are coppery when young and colour up well in autumn but don't usually drop until early winter.
Acer buergerianum
Easy and adaptable in mesic and woodland conditions.
3L pots ~ £12




Thursday, 4 September 2014

Euphorbia corollata


Euphorbia corollata
A white flowered Euphorbia - who knew? In this case fairly normal looking bushy spurge plants produce increasingly wide branching sprays of small pure white flowers in summer – more like a Gypsophila or a Linum perhaps.
Euphorbia corollata
Completely untried here – the species originates in Eastern North America and should be completely cold hardy and easy in a sunny spot.
3L pots ~ £8




Seseli montanum and/or hippomarathrum

Seseli montanum or hippomarathrum
As with the Athamantas I offered before, I'm not totally sure of the id of this. I seem to have had the same thing under two names - S.montanum and S.hippomarathrum. Either way it's a lovely small umbellifer with a compact cluster of finely divided green foliage at the base but fairly tall flowering stems. 
Seseli montanum or hippomarathrum
The buds are reddish, opening white. Easy in any well drained sunny spot. Long lived but seeds about mildly and easy to control.
3in pots ~ £5



Carex baccans

Carex baccans
A typical tussock-forming sedge in many ways except that (surprise surprise!) it makes shiny red berry-like fruits in autumn instead of the usual greenish seeds. Unaccountably hard to come by.
Carex baccans
Not a great shot, but you get the idea. It probably needs more space to make a nice big tussock.
Cool and moist woodsy conditions are recommended. 
1L pots ~ £8



Sunday, 17 August 2014

Philadelphus coulteri

Philadelphus coulteri
This is one of those highly sought-after Mexican 'Rose Syringas' with heavily scented waxy nodding bowl-shaped flowers, reddish toward the centre. Almost evergreen, of arching/weeping habit, and not too big, this can be grown against a wall or allowed to grow through other shrubs, as it does in the wild.
Philadelphus coulteri
Being Mexican and evergreen, this is almost certainly best in a sheltered spot. It has a reputation for not being free flowering in the UK but I've not found this to be the case. In any case it flowers over a much longer period than the more familiar mock oranges, and of course, the scent is wonderful.
Aka P.mexicanus coulteri.
3L pots ~ £12




Hedychiums


Two species raised from wild collected seed.

Hedychium yunnanense
Hedychium yunnanense
A lovely species with lightly scented flowers in August. Forms a relatively low (3-4ft) but very lush clump with broad fresh green leaves.
Hedychium yunnanense
Best in sun on a rich moist soil but good in part shade. A thick mulch will protect the rhizomes from frost in colder conditions. A good hardy species.
3L pots ~ £10



Hedychium spicatum - wild collected seed from Ciaojiang
Hedychium spicatum Ciaojiang
Very similar to the above but taller and with narrower foliage, and flowering later. 
3L pots ~ £10



Monday, 11 August 2014

Iris unguicularis Peloponnese Snow

Iris unguicularis Peloponnese Snow
I'm very excited to be able to offer this superb new wild form from Greece, given to me by Robert Rolfe a couple of years back. Since then it has proved hardy in a dry raised bed and flowered freely through much of last winter. This is a relatively small form of the species but remarkably vigorous.
Iris unguicularis Peloponnese Snow
The flowers were damaged by the heavy persistent rain and slugs this last mild wet winter and for that reason alone I might recommend alpine house or frame cultivation. In normal years they might well perform perfectly well in a sheltered spot in a south or east facing bed.
3in pots ~ £8




Monday, 28 July 2014

Silene regia

Silene regia
One of the Fire Pinks - so called because of their habit of appearing quickly after fires in the woods of eastern USA.
Silene regia
The flowers are plentiful, of good size and intense scarlet, and produced on slender plants of about 2ft tall. They actually thrive best in dry shade, or at least, they like semi shade, and do not appreciate badly drained soils.
1L pots ~ £6



Cissus striata

Cissus striata
There are not that many evergreen climbers hardy in the UK, and this South American vine is decidedly borderline but worth considering for sheltered sites, especially in shady spots. It's a close relative of the Virginia Creepers and Boston Ivies (Parthenocissus sp) but with neat glossy leaves and far less rampageous and being evergreen of course, it does not colour up in the Autumn. The plant in the picture grows on the front of the house where it is a bit too exposed. In this situation it behaves as a herbaceous climber, being more or less cut to the ground in hard winters. Even so it has always come back in spring and clothes the porch wall very nicely every summer. In warmer climates it gets a lot bigger and makes pale flowers and black berries. It can also be grown as a house plant.
3L pots ~ £12




Sunday, 20 July 2014

Philadelphus aff. delavayi

Philadelphus aff. calvescens
Philadelphus are sometimes unfairly dismissed as rather coarse and unwieldy, mainly after experience with the common Mock Orange, P.coronarius but there are many good choice species out there with good foliage and more manageable habit. They flower relatively briefly in late spring/early summer but with that fragrance they are highly desirable.
I can't even remember where I got the cuttings of this one. It's clearly one of the delavayi calvescens or melanocalyx types with their strongly textured foliage and contrasting dark calyx (remarkable how much difference that makes to the look of the flower) but in this case the flowers are unusually elegant with pure white filaments. The fragrance is just as good.
This is an easy adaptable, medium sized arching shrub for sun or semi shade.
3L pots ~£12




Sunday, 13 July 2014

Habranthus tubispathus texensis

Habranthus tubispathus texensis
A pretty and resilient species with simple Amaryllis style flowers at intervals through the summer, golden yellow inside, red out. They have thrived and seeded about in the tunnel for the last five years, unprotected from the cold and subject to my somewhat sporadic watering. I've not tried them outside yet.
These came to me as seed from a seed exchange labelled Zephyranthes atamasco which they clearly weren't. I've only this year found out what they really are. Aka H.texanus.
10cm pots ~ £5




Carduus defloratus

Carduus defloratus defloratus
A choice and not very spiky thistle from the mountains of southern Europe. Relatively large and rich pink heads develop on 12-18in branching stems in summer over simple basal rosettes.
Carduus defloratus defloratus
Not at all weedy. For well drained soils in sun. I have two subspecies here, differing mainly in the shape of the basal leaves:- ssp. defloratus has somewhat broader leaves than ssp. argemone.
1L pots ~ £5



Sunday, 29 June 2014

Wyethia

White mule ears (wyethia helianthoides)
The Wyethias are a group of stemless sunflowers from the mountains of Western North America. In the wild they form magnificent colonies in meadows and forest clearings. The large rosettes of leaves (known locally as mule's ears) are very striking in themselves as they emerge in spring and the white or yellow flowers, which are held on short stems just above the leaves, are of excellent size and quality. It seems that they are used to plentiful water in spring, from snow-melt, but tend to dry out in summer and may die back as the season progresses.
Mount Diablo, China Wall & Mule Ears
In cultivation however they are rare and seem to be regarded as almost impossible to grow. I'm not sure why. I've raised a several species from seed and although they are sensitive and I have only a few mature plants they don't seem especially more difficult to manage than many other mountain plants.

Wyethia angustifolia
Wyethia angustifolia
Narrow Leaf Mule’s Ears. In this species the leaves are plain green and about 2ins wide. The flowers are golden yellow on short leafless stems just above the foliage. Easy and hardy here so far.
3L pots ~ £8



Wyethia helenioides
Not flowered yet but looking very good - the Grey Mule’s Ears is similar to the above but with bolder, grey leaves and even larger golden flowers. A very choice large alpine.
1L pots ~ £8