Saturday, 12 August 2017

Lobelia siphilitica good blue

Lobelia siphilitica ex Kevin Hughes Blue
Despite the unfortunate name (some old medicinal use I assume?) this is a very worthy perennial from the USA - fully hardy and easily grown in any soil as long as not too dry, and the slugs don't seem interested in it.
Lobelia siphilitica ex Kevin Hughes Blue
These are seedlings from a good blue from Kevin Hughes.
£6



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Paederia foetida

Paederia scandens
An unusual subtropical/warm temperate, deciduous, twining climber from eastern Asia. The flowers are very distinctive – they come in clusters in early summer, are more or less tubular, to about half an inch long, pale on the outside and plum purple inside. They may be followed by orange berries.
Paederia scandens
Untried here but worth a go in a sheltered position outside.
£12




Justicia americana

Justicia americana
Fully hardy acanthaceae are relatively rare in cultivation, and most Justicia are tender herbs and shrubs, so this one comes as a slight surprise. This is a rarely grown North American marginal producing heads of pretty violet/white flowers over fresh green foliage for a long while in summer.
Justicia americana and Dichromena colorata
Easy in shallow water or wet soil. Not at all weedy
£6




Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Fuchsia magellanica arauco

Fuchsia magellanica arauco
A very choice naturally occurring form of the popular hardy species with finely crafted flowers on a delicate small leaved shrub. The flowers are typical slender violet and red magellanica, but the sepals are white giving a very classy effect – not even slightly garish.
Fuchsia magellanica arauco
Like most magellanicas this is hardy and adaptable but seems less heat and drought tolerant than most Fuchsias.
£10




Fuchsia magellanica Lady Bacon, left, and arauco
Fuchsia magellanica arauco right, and Lady Bacon. The latter is very similar but paler in foliage and slightly larger in all its parts. I should have some later in the year

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Aristolochia fimbriata

Aristolochia are an on-going fascination of mine. I originally thought I might have a nice little collection of maybe 10 or 20 small hardy species for the National Collections scheme - a nice manageable group - how many could there be?
It turns out that 'a lot more than 20' is the answer, from southern Europe, North America, eastern Asia and even South America. As it stands I generally have only a few at a time for sale but the number is increasing and I'm not short of customers for them.
Aristolochia fimbriata
The peculiar yellow and brown tentacled flowers of this species are rather striking, and the silver veined leaves are good too.
Aristolochia fimbriata
This herbaceous species is possibly the hardiest of the South Americans currently in cultivation and worth a try in a sunny sheltered place, kept dryish in winter.
£8



Sunday, 2 July 2017

Salvia disjuncta

Salvia disjuncta
This is a very distinct almost shrubby sage from southern Mexico with impossibly vivid scarlet flowers among rounded fresh green leaves. In a group with, one might say, almost too many ornamental plants, it really stands out.
Salvia disjuncta
I have received mixed messages regarding it hardiness. The top growth is destroyed by frost but the roots move about quite freely and given a good mulch it might well regenerate. At any rate it's easy from cuttings and is a good pot plant as long as it doesn't freeze through. For well-drained soil in sun.
£8



Soldanella villosa

Soldanella villosa
Probably the easiest Soldanella for the open garden, spreading happily in well-drained but moist semi shade. The nodding flowers are not as elegant as the true alpine species but are a good violet and nicely fringed.
Soldanella villosa & Andromeda macrophylla
Like many Primulas, it performs better with regular division and replanting in fresh soil
£5



Apios americana

Apios americana
An unusual herbaceous climber closely related to Wisteria. The dense clusters of pea flowers are an odd shade of terracotta and produced in summer.
Apios americana
It grows from long strings of (apparently edible) tubers which wander about underground over some distance but not enough to become a weed.
An easy and attractive hardy plant for any well drained soil in sun, best allowed to twine up through shrubs
£8



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