Monday, 28 July 2014

Silene regia

Silene regia
One of the Fire Pinks - so called because of their habit of appearing quickly after fires in the woods of eastern USA.
Silene regia
The flowers are plentiful, of good size and intense scarlet, and produced on slender plants of about 2ft tall. They actually thrive best in dry shade, or at least, they like semi shade, and do not appreciate badly drained soils.
1L pots ~ £6



Cissus striata

Cissus striata
There are not that many evergreen climbers hardy in the UK, and this South American vine is decidedly borderline but worth considering for sheltered sites, especially in shady spots. It's a close relative of the Virginia Creepers and Boston Ivies (Parthenocissus sp) but with neat glossy leaves and far less rampageous and being evergreen of course, it does not colour up in the Autumn. The plant in the picture grows on the front of the house where it is a bit too exposed. In this situation it behaves as a herbaceous climber, being more or less cut to the ground in hard winters. Even so it has always come back in spring and clothes the porch wall very nicely every summer. In warmer climates it gets a lot bigger and makes pale flowers and black berries. It can also be grown as a house plant.
3L pots ~ £12




Sunday, 20 July 2014

Philadelphus aff. delavayi

Philadelphus aff. calvescens
Philadelphus are sometimes unfairly dismissed as rather coarse and unwieldy, mainly after experience with the common Mock Orange, P.coronarius but there are many good choice species out there with good foliage and more manageable habit. They flower relatively briefly in late spring/early summer but with that fragrance they are highly desirable.
I can't even remember where I got the cuttings of this one. It's clearly one of the delavayi calvescens or melanocalyx types with their strongly textured foliage and contrasting dark calyx (remarkable how much difference that makes to the look of the flower) but in this case the flowers are unusually elegant with pure white filaments. The fragrance is just as good.
This is an easy adaptable, medium sized arching shrub for sun or semi shade.
3L pots ~£12




Sunday, 13 July 2014

Habranthus tubispathus texensis

Habranthus tubispathus texensis
A pretty and resilient species with simple Amaryllis style flowers at intervals through the summer, golden yellow inside, red out. They have thrived and seeded about in the tunnel for the last five years, unprotected from the cold and subject to my somewhat sporadic watering. I've not tried them outside yet.
These came to me as seed from a seed exchange labelled Zephyranthes atamasco which they clearly weren't. I've only this year found out what they really are. Aka H.texanus.
10cm pots ~ £5




Carduus defloratus

Carduus defloratus defloratus
A choice and not very spiky thistle from the mountains of southern Europe. Relatively large and rich pink heads develop on 12-18in branching stems in summer over simple basal rosettes.
Carduus defloratus defloratus
Not at all weedy. For well drained soils in sun. I have two subspecies here, differing mainly in the shape of the basal leaves:- ssp. defloratus has somewhat broader leaves than ssp. argemone.
1L pots ~ £5