Saturday, 30 May 2020

Pasithea caerulea

Asphodeline taurica and Pasithea caerulea
A lightly-built Chilean monocot - unremarkable in every way except for the vivid blue flowers that appear in early summer on tall wiry stems. The rest of the plant consists of fleshy roots and grassy leaves.
Pasithea caerulea
Seems hardy here but needs a well-drained sunny site that doesn't freeze deeply in winter.
£8



Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Fuchsia magellanica Arauco


Fuchsia magellanica arauco
An absolutely exquisite, possibly naturally occurring, form of this popular shrub - always attracts attention with it's finely crafted purple white and pink flowers and neat dark green foliage. It can make a large shrub in time but, like most Fuchsias, responds well to pruning.
Fuchsia magellanica arauco
This is less drought tolerant than other Fuchsia - not good in small containers and definitely most at home in cool moist conditions.
Fuchsia magellanica Lady Bacon, left, and arauco
nb. the variety Lady Bacon (left) is very similar and they can be hard to tell apart, but seen together, Arauco is definitely the more refined plant with better colours, and smaller leaves and flowers. I grow both but I would always recommend Arauco. It just has that certain something that even people who don't generally go for Fuchsias can appreciate.
£10



Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Centranthus ruber First Blush

Centranthus ruber Spring Blush
A very pale rosy form of the common red valerian. Most of us will know this as a colourful weed growing out of walls and stony places - especially near the sea. Mostly it comes in three colours - vivid pink is the commonest, along with some reds and whites. This pale pink form is not one I've seen 'in the wild' (it's not a native UK species) and would make a pleasant addition to the mix.
Centranthus ruber First Blush
As yet, here I've not found many self-sown seedlings but I'm assuming it will get about like the more common forms and will be a nice addition to a dry, sunny wild garden, but don't expect it to be well-behaved.
£6



Canna x ehemannii

Canna x ehemannii
Back again by popular demand - this stunning and pretty much hardy species is huge - up to 10 ft tall and with 18in rich green leaves. The flowers are rather elegant drooping rich pink and trumpet-shaped and are produced from mid summer until winter.
I find most Cannas a bit blousy - exuberant and colourful for sure, but not exactly refined. This one is the exception. It's a choice as anyone could wish.
Canna x ehemannii
Here I grow it in a well-drained soil in full sun with nothing but a pile of straw over the base in winter, which in fact it might not really need. It makes a big clump and is an ideal accompaniment to other big 'hardy exotics' like Zantedeschia Hercules and Tetrapanax Rex
Generous portions - £15



Aristolochia pistolochia

Aristolochia rotunda
An easy herbaceous European species for a sunny open well-drained situation.
Aristolochia rotunda
The seed was obtained as A.rotunda but I am reliably informed that this is pistolochia.
£8



Akebia longeracemosa

Akebia longeracemosa
An excellent smaller species - vigorous but not overwhelming - almost evergreen and with remarkable flowers. These, as is usual for the family, consist of smaller male flowers below and larger female flowers above, but in this case the male flowers are in  a long dangling raceme (hence the name) and the whole inflorescence is a dusky maroon.
Akebia longeracemosa
Very hardy and easy in a wide variety of situations
£15



Monday, 18 May 2020

Buddleja speciosissima

Buddleja speciosissima
A genuinely red-flowered Buddleja no less! Not totally hardy but not much tried yet outside in the UK, so well worth a try in a very sheltered spot with plenty of sun. Otherwise grow it in a really big container and bring in for the winter.
Buddleja speciosissima
Makes a large, lax shrub with clean white felted foliage, stems and calyces.
Buddleja speciosissima
3L pots ~ £15



Sunday, 26 April 2020

Colocasia gaoligongensis

Colocasia gaoligongensis
The Southeast Asian taros (Colocasia species) are very popular right now for subtropical plantings, with their huge tropical looking aroid leaves - often dark and beautifully textured. In this case the leaves are up to about 2ft across, a soft matt green and heavily marked black toward the centre. Yellow arum flowers appear in summer.
Colocasia gaoligongensis
Like many subtropicals (Canna, Dahlia etc), some of them are surviving the winters outdoors in the UK these days but very few are reliably hardy. This is where gaoligongensis comes in as it's reckoned to be the hardiest, and under good conditions (damp and warm in the summer) is a vigorous big exotic herbaceous perennial. It will grow in drier conditions but the leaves will be smaller.
Not letting it get too wet in winter is probably important but here at least, it seems remarkably easy - running around on stolons and potentially filling a large area. Grow it with other big vigorous perennials - nothing too small and delicate, in sun or part shade.
1 L pots £8



3 L pots £12




Epimedium grandiflorum nanum hybrid

Epimedium grandiflorum nanum hybrid
Some of you may know that Epimedium grandiflorum nanum is an exquisite miniature form of this popular species where the new foliage is fresh green, less than an inch across, and broadly edged in maroon, and the milky white flowers, despite the tiny size of the plant, are normal size. The whole thing is only a couple of inches tall. Sadly it also has a reputation for being difficult to keep - I've had it and lost it twice. This is why I was so pleased when I came across this at Marchant's Hardy Plants a few years ago.
Epimedium grandiflorum nanum hybrid
Its a bit bigger than nanum - about 5ins high but more vigorous and easy to keep. In every other respect it seems identical.
Epimedium grandiflorum nanum hybrid
It is still slow to increase though so I'll only ever have a few small plants to sell.
£8



Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Ornithogalum reverchonii

Ornithogalum reverchonii
A choice species from Spain and Morocco with pure white flowers and long grey leaves. More demanding than most European species – needing excellent drainage and some protection from the worst of the weather, but not at all weedy.
£8



Iris attica

Iris attica
A soft yellow form of this exquisite miniature bearded Iris.
Needs a well-drained soil in full sun with other small plants.
£8



Lathyrus bauhinii

Lathyrus bauhinii
Like many vetchlings, it’s very hard to describe the colour of these flowers - turning from creamy to soft pink to dusky mauve. An exquisite pastel combination.
Lathyrus bauhinii
This is a low creeping species - lovely with early bulbs in rough turf and gravel.
£8



Peucedanum verticillare

Peucedanum verticillare
One of the absolute best garden umbellifers, making sturdy upright wine-red stems to well over head height, with whorls of good quality angelica-like foliage and heads of greenish umbels.
The new foliage is glossy coppery red.
Peucedanum verticillare
Best in moist soils but adaptable.
Sadly this is a monocarpic species but it seeds about without becoming a problem
£8



Petasites paradoxus

Petasites paradoxa
Despite some initial scepticism I can report that this is a well-behaved perennial that, unlike other Petasites, does not spread. This seems to be because it doesn’t form long fleshy rhizomes - just a compact rootstock.
Petasites paradoxa
The heads of pale flowers appear before the leaves in winter and early spring and the leaves are broad, not huge, and white beneath. Quietly lovely with spring bulbs – best in a moist semi shady site.
£8



Friday, 27 March 2020

Ranunculus alpestris

Ranunculus alpestris
A true alpine with rounded deep green leaves and good white flowers. Much easier than many alpine Ranunculus – even here in Sussex where most suffer from the relatively hot dry climate.
Ranunculus alpestris
An easy hardy plant for raised beds among rocks.
£6




Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Fuchsia regia reitzii wild collected

Fuchsia regia
This is a Brazilian species with a scrambling climbing habit, making very long slender shoots and broad glossy leaves. The deep red sepals are elegantly recurved and contrast beautifully with the deep purple petals.
Fuchsia regia
Given the chance this can grow high into other shrubs or be trained against a wall. This promises to be a spectacular plant for even the choicest planting.
Large plants - £10