Saturday, 27 May 2017

Hemiboea subcapitata

Hemiboea subcapitata
I was very excited when I first came across this on Ed Bowen’s Opus nursery website. I thought at first it might be some very classy Abelia relative with long white flowers, marked rich red inside over dark green leaves, but it is in fact a member of the gesneriaceae.
Hemiboea subcapitata
Now, one does not expect gesneriads to be hardy easy-going perennials in the UK but this does appear to be the case here. The easiest up until now have probably been Haberlea and Mitraria but this adds to the list and seems if anything, even more adaptable.
Hemiboea subcapitata
Unlike many choice woodlanders it doesn't appear to need cool moist conditions to do well and, as I've discovered, puts up with rather hit-and-miss watering rather well. It spreads and bulks up well and quickly here. I don't know yet how much cold it puts up with but it seems hardy at least in Southern England. It dies back to rosettes in winter.
Still rare outside specialist collections but destined to be very popular I think.
£10



Cestrum sp. obtained as parqui purple form

Cestrum aff. parqui purple
A remarkable evergreen shrub given to me by Geoffrey Kibby who has had it in his North London garden for some time and reports that it has never been frost damaged and is very vigorous.
Cestrum aff. parqui purple
The suspicion is that it isn't parqui (sadly it has no evening fragrance for one thing) but the floral display is interesting enough on its own for me.
Cestrum aff. parqui purple
The flowers are essentially mustard yellow but heavily tinted with inky maroon, especially in bud and when they close up during the day, which creates a striking two-tone effect. The leaves are stained black in winter. Probably worth sheltering in colder areas.
£12



Stachys discolor

Stachys discolor
A very beautiful species a bit like officinalis but larger in all parts and with flowers of palest yellow on compact greyish bushes.
Stachys discolor
Hard to explain but this plant has a real refinement compared to many of its coarser relatives and is not even slightly weedy. Easy and adaptable in the border. A real charmer.
1L pots ~ £7