Sunday, 4 June 2017

Hydrangea scandens chinensis formosana

Hydrangea scandens chinensis formosana
A graceful shrub with unusually big sterile florets of a very fresh slightly greenish white in early summer. The narrow dark green leaves are more or less evergreen.
Hydrangea scandens chinensis formosana
A Crûg Farm introduction - best with shade, shelter and plenty of moisture.
£12



Buddleja nivea yunnanensis

Buddleja nivea yunnanensis
This is an absolutely enormous shrub growing to 10ft very quickly and demanding a big space. The leaves are also very big – up to 20-30cm pale grey above, pure white felted beneath and along the stems.
Buddleja nivea yunnanensis
The flowers resemble davidii but the small purple orange eyed flowers are in hefty clusters up to about 30cms long and set in white fluff. All in all a dramatic and remarkable thing.
Buddleja nivea yunnanensis
The down side is that the new shoots and buds have been severely damaged by late frosts so needs a sheltered situation or a mild garden. Easy and undemanding otherwise
£10



Monday, 29 May 2017

Impatiens flanaganae

Impatiens flanaganae
A gorgeous big African species, related to tinctoria but with rich pink flowers and red stems (the colour is deeper than in these pictures).
Impatiens flanaganae
Seems hardy here in the border in full sun with a thick strawy mulch in winter. It actually seems better kept on the dry side - not parched - just well-drained and open
£10



Saturday, 27 May 2017

Hemiboea subcapitata

Hemiboea subcapitata
I was very excited when I first came across this on Ed Bowen’s Opus nursery website. I thought at first it might be some very classy Abelia relative with long white flowers, marked rich red inside over dark green leaves, but it is in fact a member of the gesneriaceae.
Hemiboea subcapitata
Now, one does not expect gesneriads to be hardy easy-going perennials in the UK but this does appear to be the case here. The easiest up until now have probably been Haberlea and Mitraria but this adds to the list and seems if anything, even more adaptable.
Hemiboea subcapitata
Unlike many choice woodlanders it doesn't appear to need cool moist conditions to do well and, as I've discovered, puts up with rather hit-and-miss watering rather well. It spreads and bulks up well and quickly here. I don't know yet how much cold it puts up with but it seems hardy at least in Southern England. It dies back to rosettes in winter.
Still rare outside specialist collections but destined to be very popular I think.
£10



Cestrum sp. obtained as parqui purple form

Cestrum aff. parqui purple
A remarkable evergreen shrub given to me by Geoffrey Kibby who has had it in his North London garden for some time and reports that it has never been frost damaged and is very vigorous.
Cestrum aff. parqui purple
The suspicion is that it isn't parqui (sadly it has no evening fragrance for one thing) but the floral display is interesting enough on its own for me.
Cestrum aff. parqui purple
The flowers are essentially mustard yellow but heavily tinted with inky maroon, especially in bud and when they close up during the day, which creates a striking two-tone effect. The leaves are stained black in winter. Probably worth sheltering in colder areas.
£12



Stachys discolor

Stachys discolor
A very beautiful species a bit like officinalis but larger in all parts and with flowers of palest yellow on compact greyish bushes.
Stachys discolor
Hard to explain but this plant has a real refinement compared to many of its coarser relatives and is not even slightly weedy. Easy and adaptable in the border. A real charmer.
1L pots ~ £7




Saturday, 13 May 2017

Eryngium glaciale

Eryngium glaciale
A perfect miniature species with violet flowers, very fine silver-white foliage and bracts - a very rarely offered species from the mountains of Spain.

Eryngium glaciale
For dry sunny conditions - it will probably need protection from the worst of the weather but is otherwise hardy
1L pots ~ £8



Dierama igneum

Dierama igneum
A medium sized species, forming a dense tussock of narrow leaves. The funnel-shaped flowers are of an unusual terracotta hue and held on fine arching stems to about 3ft high.
Dierama igneum
Hardy and reliable.
1L pots ~ £8




New Dianthus


Dianthus ferrugineus
Dianthus ferrugineus
Shocking cherry red flowers appear in tight heads on tall stems above fine grey tussocks of grey leaves in early summer.
Dianthus ferrugineus

For dry soils in sun.
3in pots ~ £5



Dianthus pinifolius
Dianthus pinifolius
A very rare and classy species, producing tight tussocks of pine-needle-like foliage (hence the name). In summer, dense heads of dark ruby red flowers with violet anthers are produced on wiry stems, high above the foliage. For an open site in sun. Seems to need especially sharp drainage and should fare especially well on chalk.
3in pots ~ £5



Dianthus superbus
Dianthus superbus
Much more informal and grassy than most pinks but with exquisite and quite large pale filigree flowers on tall stems in late spring/early summer. The ragged and finely marked flowers are worth looking at closely and are heavily fragrant.
Dianthus superbus
A superb and rarely seen ‘old fashioned’ cottage garden pink - not at all garish or artificial looking.
3in pots ~ £5



Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Heuchera Brownfinch

Heuchera Brownfinch
A change from the endless stream of bedding Heuchera that are so fashionable at the moment – this is very close in appearance to H.cylindrica which is usually available in a form known as Greenfinch. Brownfinch has the same cylindrical flower spikes, but of a rather nice rich red brown, on unusually tall stems. The foliage is attractively silver splashed.
Heuchera Brownfinch
Rare in cultivation, but easily grown in sun or part shade. Keep an eye open for vine weevils, which love Heuchera roots.
1L pots ~ £8



Sunday, 7 May 2017

Iris aphylla

Iris aphylla
A medium sized bearded Iris species from Eastern Europe - an excellent species in the garden, forming compact clumps and always making plenty of rich purple flowers on short stems.
Iris aphylla buds
Also has excellent new foliage - a feature in itself.
Dracocephalum austriacum and Iris aphylla
Easy in the open garden in a sunny well-drained spot.
1L pots ~ £8




Friday, 28 April 2017

Ledebouria Gary Hammer

Ledebouria sp Gary Hammer
I've had a thing for Ledebouria ever since I first came across L.socialis when I was a teenager (Scilla violacea then) because of their interestingly mottled leaves and curious little flowers. It's a mainly African genus with a few species in south west Asia I believe. A few of the South Africans are reputed to be hardy to z7 if kept dry in winter, including this one and L.cooperi. Otherwise they make excellent pot plants for a frost-free greenhouse or stood outside in summer.
Ledebouria sp Garry Hammer
This species produces relatively long leaves with bold black blotches, and spikes of small greyish hyacinth flowers in summer. It is more or less deciduous in winter
10cm pots ~ £6



Saturday, 15 April 2017

Kalimeris incisa Edo Murasaki

Kalimeris incisa Edo Murasaki
A rather choice compact aster relative with flowers that remind me of Anemone blanda - with rich violet rays and yellow centres. The foliage is lush and deep green and the whole plant is of modest size without being a blobby dwarf.
Kalimeris incisa Edo Murasaki
Not fussy about soil or aspect as long as extremes are avoided, and flowering through the summer - usually June to autumn, but it started in March this year!
1L pots ~ £8



Monday, 3 April 2017

Salvia deserta


A rather posh version of the meadow clary from China, with upright plumes of vivid violet blue flowers for months in summer over rosettes of crinkly grey green leaves. 

Very hardy and reliable. For well-drained soils in sun.
1L pots ~ £7