Thursday, 29 October 2020

Clematis socialis

Clematis socialis
A gorgeous small species of non-climbing herbaceous and somewhat suckering habit - popping up here and there around the original plant, but without being in any way a nuisance. The foliage is narrow and fresh green. The quite large bell-shaped pale violet flowers are classic viorna type. 

Clematis socialis
A very rare plant from the Georgia and Alabama but hardy and easy to grow
£12


Arum

Arums obtained as concinnum Mt.Ida (bottom) and sp. Crete
 
A couple of interesting species from the garden here - neither of them correctly named when I got them and both a bit obscure. 

Arum concinnatum Mt.Ida
Arum sp. obtained as 'concinnum Mt.Ida' is probably a form of italicum (Mount Ida is in Crete - outside the distribution of italicum, so who knows?) It has large leaves with well defined pale markings and a scattering of black spots. The spathes seem to me to be unusually large - up to nearly 1ft tall, are pale and marked with maroon lines. A hardy and prolific plant.
£9


Arum aff.  concinnatum Crete
Arum sp. Crete - possibly a new species according to Peter Boyce. This is a smaller, less prolific plant than the above, with plain green leaves, cream spadices, and pale spathes, touched lightly with brown. Seems to be easy and adaptable.
£9



Aloe cooperi

Aloe cooperi

A fascinating species with fleshy upright foliage and striking orange inflorescences. This is one of the so-called grass Aloes (along with linearifolia and ecklonis) native to the Eastern Cape - these grow in grasslands and die down in winter to just a couple of central leaves. 

Aloe cooperi
Like many South African bulbs, they're cold hardy, but must have a dry winter, so only for the most sheltered spot outside - preferably with some sort of roof from November to March.
£12

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Ribes laurifolium

Ribes laurifolium
Another winter flowering shrub and one of my favourites. Nothing like the blackcurrants to which it is related, this is a low, gnarly, rather picturesque evergreen, producing dangling trails of pale greenish yellow flowers from red bracts in earliest spring. 
Ribes laurifolium Amy Doncaster
Easy-going but probably best with some shade from deciduous trees and shrubs. Grow Cyclamen and Scillas through it. 

Male and female plants are available.
Ribes laurifolium Amy Doncaster (male)
The common male form is known, confusingly, as Amy Doncaster and has more rounded open flowers
£14




Ribes laurifolium female
The female form has denser clusters of flowers with conspicuous bracts. Black berries are occasionally produced
£14



Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Deutzia hookeriana

Deutzia hookeriana

I used to think Deutzias were a rather boring group of shrubs but the cognoscenti know different. It's a surprisingly varied genus and many of them are exquisite in flower. 

Deutzia hookeriana
Hookeriana is one of the best with almost unbelievably finely crafted sugar pink flowers in neat rounded heads in late spring. The overall shape and foliage are also good. Like most Deutzia, and easy adaptable plant. 
£15



Fritillaria hupehensis (monantha in part)

Fritillaria hupehensis, a segregate of the F. monanthos complex

This plant has been in the trade for a while now under a few different names. I got it as F.sinica but apparently the above name is correct, or at least, the best I've found so far. 
It's very distinctive both for its very short stature and its large deep pink/white chequered flowers. Basically the stem is only a couple of inches high and the flower is a couple of inches long. The foliage is deep green. 

Fritillaria sinica Pink form?
Unlike many Sino-Himalayan Fritillaries it is not a difficult plant to grow, although I suspect it would prefer cooler conditions than I can provide here in Sussex. 
A gritty open situation suits it but drought does not. Typical alpine really. 
£8 per pot


Desmodium (Ototropis) callianthum

Desmodium callianthum

A seldom-seen scrambling shrub with subtly variegated clover-like foliage (2 or 3 shades of green) and rich pink pea flowers. 

Desmodium callianthum

Either grow it among other shrubs so it can scramble about among them, or, if you feel motivated, train it against a wall. Either way it makes a very welcome splash of colour in late summer and autumn

£15




Thursday, 3 September 2020

Opuntia scheeri

Opuntia scheeri Lancing, Sussex, UK

An excellent and choice hardy prickly pear with pads about 6-8ins across and forming a solid small shrub quite quickly. The fine evenly spaced yellowish areoles on a sea green background make for a very satisfying effect. Don’t however underestimate the tiny barbed spines which get everywhere. Handle it with thick leather gloves and plant it well away from the path.

Opuntia scheeri and Canna x ehemannii

The parent plant is in a front garden in Lancing, Sussex, in ordinary soil and gets no protection at all. I hear of other plants as far north as Lancashire also doing well fully exposed to the elements. 

Opuntia scheeri

Pale amber yellow flowers appear in spring. 

£10


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