Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dodecatheon austrofrigidum

Dodecatheon austrofrigidum
Similar to D.dentatum, but with more substantial rosettes of leaves, and with pink flowers on taller stems. Although not the most spectacular, I’ve found this the easiest Dodecatheon to keep in ordinary woodsy garden conditions.
10cm pots ~ £5

Cynoglossum grande

Cynoglossum grande
The lovely and choice (and not at all invasive) Californian hound’s tongue. The flowers are  pinkish or purple changing to blue as they age with a prominent white eye, like a small blue jonquil. The foliage is broad and emerges maroon turning to soft green and not at all coarse.
Cynoglossum grande
This species is basically a woodlander in the wild. Like many Mediterranean climate plants it comes up in winter and flowers in spring so is better with shelter from the worst of the weather. It goes dormant in summer so could be a good one for dry shade. Protect from slugs.
Vigorous young plants ~ £7.00

Monday, 10 March 2014

Rhexia virginica

This is something very special – a very pretty small perennial with attractive foliage and topped with large and beautifully formed rose pink flowers in summer. I imagine the reason we don’t hear of it more is that a) it belongs to the largely tropical Melastomataceae (Medinilla, Tibouchina, etc) so we assume it’s tender, and that b) in the wild, in the Eastern USA, it grows in wet acid heaths alongside Sarracenias so we assume it needs special soil conditions to survive.

The fact though is that, so far at least, it has proved completely hardy and adaptable to ordinary nursery conditions. My slight concern is that it travels a bit underground, but it’s definitely worth a try.
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Gladiolus cardinalis

A completely gorgeous and easy hardy Gladi producing intense scarlet flowers over pale grey leaves. As with flanaganii this is a mountain plant that naturally grows over precipices near waterfalls. In cultivation however it seems happy in any well drained, reasonably sunny spot.
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