Monday, 29 June 2015

Talbotia elegans

Talbotia elegans
A bit of an obscurity this one - this is a member of the southern hemisphere family, the velloziaceae, and is probably the hardiest of them. They are particularly known for being among those plants that look dead during the dry season but miraculously revive when the rains come. (Sometimes included in the genus Xerophyta, meaning 'dry plant'.)
Talbotia elegans
This is a dense, tussock-forming plant with rather fibrous leaves – green above, purple under. Pretty white flowers appear on fine hair-like stems in summer. Probably best in an unheated greenhouse, but I've not tried it outside. Although it will take low temperatures it should probably be kept dry in winter. The leaves will look dead but will revive in spring so don’t cut them off unless they get really tatty. For well-drained soil in sun.
10cm pots ~ £6



Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Iris sintenisii and lactea


Iris sintenisii
Iris sintenisii
An absolute jewel. I recommend clicking on the picture and looking at a larger size to see the delicate blue patterning on the falls. A semi woodland species in the wild but quite adaptable on any well-drained soil, in sun or semi shade, and without too much competition.
1L pots ~ £7




Iris lactea
Iris lactea
A graceful medium-sized western Asian species with beautifully marked violet and cream flowers. In the wild it grows in well-drained sunny conditions which might lead us to imagine it doesn't need much moisture, but in fact good flowering depends on plentiful water in spring.
3L pots ~ £7



Carthamus dianius

Carthamus dianius
A lovely big Centaurea type of thing. White flower heads with violet stigma over jagged lobed deep green foliage.
Carthamus dianius
Unlike the more familiar annual safflower (C.tinctorius) this is a robust perennial and despite being Spanish is a hardy evergreen. Splendid herbaceous border plant - ought to be much better known.
1L pots ~ £7



Monday, 22 June 2015

Spiraea densiflora splendens

Spiraea splendens
The Spiraeas are a another group that is unfairly ignored due to a few nondescript but all too common representatives but S.splendens is a neat little shrub with small rounded pale sea green leaves and vivid pink flowers.
Spiraea splendens
Very pretty indeed, and easy too, given sun and free drainage. Thanks to Dennis Carvalho once again, for the seed.
1L pots ~ £7



Amsonia hubrichtii

Amsonia hubrechtii
I first saw this some years ago at Kew and was very impressed with the very fine delicate foliage, turning golden in autumn. Further research told me that it doesn't do very well in the UK because it's not warm enough here in summer. Happily I'm here to tell you that isn't the case.
Amsonia hubrechtii
Arguably the best of the Amsonias – a relatively small species (to 18ins high) with very fine fresh green foliage which can colour up amazingly in the autumn in shades of gold, russet and maroon. The soft mauve flowers are just a very pleasant bonus.
Amsonia hubrichtii autumn foliage
Easy to grow anywhere in sun but does best on a sunny well-drained soil.
1L pots ~ £6



Armeria welwitschii

Armeria welwitschii
An unusually big, almost shrubby thrift from Portugal - exactly like the common native seaside plant but scaled up in every part, with tough sea-green 3in leaves and bright pink flower heads on wiry stems (please note - the flower colour in this photo is not pale, it's over-exposed. This is one of those plants whose flower colour is so saturated that it tends to wash out when photographed.) Easy in any sunny well-drained situation.
1L pots ~ £5



Monday, 15 June 2015

Impatiens oxyanthera Milo

Impatiens oxyanthera Milo
Another to add to the list of good hardy Impatiens. This one is notable for its creamy white flowers tinted with flesh pink inside (and with a few black spots for good measure) among broad fresh green foliage.
Impatiens oxyanthera Milo
Runs underground a bit so maybe not with small delicate things.
Reputedly very hardy.
1L pots ~ £6



Titanotrichum oldhamii

There's been a lot of excitement over the last decade or so, about hardy plants that belong to what are normally assumed to be tropical groups. The palms, bananas, Zingiberaceae and Impatiens are already becoming well known. Next I'm sure will be the Begonias and Gesneriaceae. This is one of the latter...
Titanotrichum oldhamii
Classic gesneriaceae - sturdy basal rosette of fleshy crinkly leaves and stems of foxglove like flowers emerging from the centre. The flowers are a very striking bright yellow, deep red inside, and the leaves are purple on the reverse.
Titanotrichum oldhamii
Not well tried outdoors in the UK, but the main problem overwintering temperate gesneriads usually is not the cold so much as keeping them dry in winter, This doesn't seem to be a problem in this case. Titanotrichum is best in a moist woodsy soil, and it is imperative that it does not dry out in summer, or else the flower buds will turn to tiny tubers (gemmae). A solid and vigorous woodland perennial - so far at least...
Rare and in short supply.
1L pots ~ £8



Sunday, 7 June 2015

Anisodus luridus

I have a bit of a thing for the Eurasian Solanaceae - mandrakes and henbanes and deadly nightshades and their kind. I'm not sure why. They are not gernerally things of uncontroversial beauty and generally have a somewhat malevolent air that befits their toxicicity. On top of that they tend to be rather coarse perennials with cryptically coloured flowers.
Anisodus luridus
Still - to me they have a certain something. Obviously don't grow them if your children or pets like to snack on the vegetation (but on the other hand, if we started excluding plants because they're poisonous we wouldn't have much to choose from, would we?)
Anisodus luridus
This species used to be called Scopolia lurida and I think it's the original source of the pharmaceutical scopolamine. The plant overall resembles an aubergine plant and the flowers are about an inch across.
Hardy and easy in any reasonable soil in sun or part shade. Dies down to a hefty tuberous rootstock in winter.
3L pots ~ £7



Tuesday, 2 June 2015

New Catalogue


Asclepias exaltata
Asclepias exaltata

Just to draw attention to the newly updated catalogue available to download online or order through the post for the measly fee of two first class stamps! (There is always a link to the catalogue in the panel top left of my web site.)

Impatiens oxyanthera Milo
Impatiens oxyanthera Milo

As usual almost everything here is difficult or impossible to source elsewhere, and new things are added all the time.

Dipelta ventricosa
Dipelta ventricosa

I update the paper catalogue two or three times a year, and it has many more varieties than here on the blog so it's well worth checking regularly.

Hugueninia tanacetifolia suffruticosa
Hugueninia tanacetifolia suffruticosa

Thank you

New Abelias

Abelia are very popular with gardeners - especially the perhaps too well known hybrid grandiflora. It is quite a varied genus though including evergreen and deciduous species, hardy and not so hardy, early and late flowering species, some with jasmine-like fragrant flowers and others with larger, more colourful but scentless flowers. (To reflect this diversity the group has recently undergone taxonomic revision, which I am generally in favour of, but for the time being I'm using the old system.)
I was given cutting material and young plants of several Abelias from Peter Catt last summer. Some are already ready to go.

Abelia engleriana
Abelia engleriana
Soft mauve pink lightly scented flowers, with clear orange markings inside, over a long period in summer. A medium sized arching shrub to 6ft, evergreen in mild localities but deciduous in cold winters. Best with shelter.
1L pots ~ £8



Abelia schumannii
Abelia schumannii
Very like engleriana but smaller and hardier and with paler flowers, less orange inside.
1L pots ~ £8



Abelia sp. from Peter catt
Abelia sp from Peter Catt
Very excited about this one. I need to get the source details from Peter. Soft rosy white flowers with orange inside among relatively large (2in) very shiny foliage (Abelias are not known for their attractive foliage.)
Abelia sp
Has so far proved very vigorous and easy, but hardiness has not been tested.
1L pots ~ £8



see also Abelia floribunda and Abelia triflora