Sunday, 10 January 2016

Clematis gentianoides

Clematis gentianoides
This is a wonderful species which I saw growing in drifts all along the roadsides in south-eastern Tasmania where it is endemic. It's a completely non-climbing low-growing evergreen herbaceous perennial with flowers very like those of Clematis montana - mostly white but often with a pink tint to the outside.
Clematis gentianoides seed heads
Like all antipodean Clematis, there are separate male and female plants - the males having broader 'petals' (sepals actually) and short filaments, the female with narrow sepals and showier filaments that turn into silky seed heads if a male is nearby. I recommend growing both though at this stage my plants are too young to have flowered yet so I can't sex them.
Clematis gentianoides
The parents - female behind left, males in the foreground

The epithet 'gentianoides' I think refers to the leaves rather than the flowers. They are simple ovals with three veins (not compound like most Clematis) and a dark leathery green often with maroon tints.
Surprisingly hardy - even in The Wirral apparently, but probably best with shelter to preserve the evergreen leaves as intact as possible. For a well-drained sunny spot. Not tried on chalk.
1L pots ~ £7




Saturday, 2 January 2016

Eryngium proteiflorum

Eryngium proteiflorum
This is arguably the biggest and best of the Latin American Eryngium with bold Aloe or bromeliad-like rosettes of foliage, but unlike the better-known ones, it also has impressive flower heads. The whole plant has an unusual pale pearly green hue with the actual flowers touched with purple. The leaves are not unpleasantly spiny which makes it a good prospect for growing in a big terracotta pot and moving it about the garden, or under cover in winter, as required.
Eryngium proteiflorum
Sadly it is also one of the less hardy species and it is usually recommended for the cold greenhouse, but I've had comments recently from growers as far north as Birmingham that it is doing well unprotected outside - courtesy no doubt of climate change. The fact that it tends to flower in midwinter doesn't help so I would recommend shelter and full sun. A well-drained but not dry, fertile soil is best. Potentially a spectacular 'hardy exotic' that should be much more widely grown.
1 year old plants in 3L pots, flowering for the first time ~ £8