Monday, 20 August 2012

Dipelta ventricosa

Dipelta ventricosa
A gorgeous and very choice member of the Abelia group. A tall upright deciduous shrub, as easily grown on chalk as on acid soil, in sun or part shade.
Dipelta ventricosa
Beginning to flower in late winter, the main display is in mid to late spring. Attractive deciduous leaves and peeling papery bark. Fully hardy. rare, I think, only because it's slow to propagate.
4L pots ~ £14

Mirabilis longiflora

Many gardeners will be familiar with the so-called Marvel of Peru (M.jalapa) usually grown as a summer bedding plant in the same way as Dahlias. It is frankly a rather garish plant (in my opinion) best known for the way its flowers change colour with age. Our species are much nicer and come from the deserts of western North America. They should be quite cold tolerant but like the Penstemon we offer, needing the absolute maximum of sun and perfect drainage. Definitely worth a try on thin chalk soils. Some protection from winter rain would not go amiss. Failing that try them as patio pot plants.
Update - both these species came through last winter completely unscathed on our chalk bed. Multiflora came up quite early, behaving like a normal herbaceous perennial and put up with some harsh weather. The longiflora are just emerging as I write, in May, but look strong.

Mirabilis longiflora
Mirabilis longifolia
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 bushy perennial with rather sticky green foliage.
xeric bed
Very vigorous and easy on the dry chalky raised bed at the nursery, and could well be hardy enough to survive the winter outside (USDA zone 7) in a sheltered spot with rain protection. If not would also be fabulous in a big terracotta pot on the patio, brought in for the winter.
Update - ours are re-emerging in our dry raised bed, along with several seedlings! Definitely worth trying outside then, at least in dry sunny sites.
1L pots ~ £8