Friday, 23 August 2019

Pelargonium sidoides - the true species

Pelargonium sidoides
A remarkable low growing species with silver/grey leaves and black, honey-scented flowers. It is hardy enough to be grown outside in the southern UK, given a sunny, sheltered, freely drained spot. In 2010 it lost its leaves but came back as strongly as ever to flower late summer and autumn.
Pelargonium sidoides
It seems most of the 'sidoides' in cultivation in the UK are hybrids (probably with P.reniforme) and have wine purple/maroon flowers. The easy way to tell is that the hybrids have main stems and make a  bushy plant much like many popular 'scented leaved' pelargoniums with the flowers on side branches.
Sinningia tubiflora and Pelargonium sidoides
Sidoides on the other hand has no stems at all - the leaves are on long petioles arising directly from the base of the plant. The flowers are on very long (up 40cms), extremely slender stems which also arise directly from the base and radiate out horizontally. The flowers are very close to true black with no hint of purple or pink. Once you have seen the two together the difference is obvious.
£8



Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Sida hermaphrodita

Sida hermaphrodita
A tall leafy mallow with clouds of small pure white hibiscus flowers.
Sida hermaphrodita
An easy hardy prairie perennial for any good soil
£8



Dichroa febrifuga

Dichroa febrifuga
An attractive but tender evergreen woodland shrub with conspicuous heads of pink (or on lime-free soils, blue) star-shaped flowers followed by metallic vivid blue berries - overall very like Hydrangea macrophylla but without the sterile florets.
Dichroa febrifuga
Apparently most of the plants in cultivation are hybrids between the true Dichroa and Hydrangea macrophylla, but none of the Hydrangea's cold tolerance seems to have found its way into the progeny. Strictly speaking should probably be classified in Hydrangea
Dichroa febrifuga
Sadly not hardy enough for most UK gardens but worth a try in very mild sheltered sites and will regenerate from the base if cut down by frost - probably not soon enough to flower though. Otherwise a splendid plant for a cool greenhouse
£16



Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Silphium

A great genus close to the sunflowers that, although often very tall, produce a very compact rootstock and are best displayed among low-growing plants.

Silphium terebinthinaceum
Silphium terebinthinaceum
This and S.laciniatum produce among the biggest, most luxuriant leaves of any hardy border perennial.
Silphium terebinthinaceum
In this case they are huge and heart-shaped (like a Colocasia or Anthurium?) to 12ins across.
Silphium terebinthinaceum
The flower stem is more slender and smooth than laciniatum.
£9



Silphium simpsonii
Silphium simpsonii
A smaller species with simple green leaves and golden flowers
£8



Silphium laciniatum
Silphium laciniatum
Leaves to 2ft long and impressively lobed, like some huge tropical fern. The stiff bristly upright flower stem is a bonus.
Silphium laciniatum
Easy in any fertile, retentive soil, and best at the front of the border where its stature can be appreciated. Perfect for prairie-style plantings.
Out of stock for now


Silphium albiflorum
A very rare Texan species with creamy white flowers. In other respects very like a smaller version of  laciniatum
£9



Thursday, 4 July 2019

Mirabilis longiflora

Mirabilis longiflora
A glorious night-scented species - the fragrance redolent of tropical evenings. (The very long-tubed white flowers are typical of plants pollinated by moths.) A low spreading perennial with rather sticky green foliage.
xeric bed
Very vigorous and easy on the dry chalky raised bed at the nursery, and has established (presumably from stray seeds) in the herbaceous border at the nursery as well. In colder, wetter climates it  would also be fabulous in a big terracotta pot on the patio, right next to where you sit of an evening with your prosecco and BBQ
£8



Centaurea atropurpurea

Centaurea atropurpurea
An easy and long lived medium sized border perennial but not garish or coarse. Ragged tufts of deep wine red flowers emerge from hard sculpted involucres of dark overlapping scales.
Centaurea atropurpurea
The leaves are jaggedly cut with narrow lobes, and the whole plant is edged with silver rime. Suitable for any reasonably well-drained soil in sun.
£8



Iochroma australe

Acnistus australis dark purple
A vigorous and tough South American shrub with nodding funnel shaped flowers in various shades of purple and also white.
Acnistus australis pale purple
Seems remarkably hardy in many parts of the UK, given a sheltered sunny situation and can make a very big vigorous shrub against a warm wall. Hard pruning after flowering is recommended.
Acnistus australis white
This has had quite a few scientific names including Acnistus and Dunalia.
Please let me know which colour you'd like
£15