Thursday, 2 January 2020
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. 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 as long as it has enough water
Another North American that certainly deserves to be better known. Forms colonies of upright stems with fresh green rounded leaves ultimately developing an almost Euphorbia-like inflorescence of tiny white flowers subtended by silvery white bracts. At this stage the whole plant has a pale silvery sheen.
Not invasive. Has a lovely fresh peppermint fragrance too, and can be used in the same way. Any soil.
A handy woodlander for perhaps a wildish part of the garden – the leaves resemble a creeping buttercup being lobed, dark green and marked with silver – very attractive when they appear. Copious white flowers in broad cymes in spring give a beautiful frothy effect.
Not weedy but likely to seed about a bit.
The Carolina Jessamine - a gorgeous small evergreen climber from the southern states, and lightly built so not too overwhelming in small spaces. The parent plant has come through the last two winters in Sussex with little frost damage but since it flowers early on last year’s shoots it’s essential the shoots survive the winter so as much shelter as possible is recommended. Otherwise an excellent choice for a large container or unheated greenhouse in colder areas.
Now for something completely different – this is a low-growing perennial with short spikes of scented white flowers, distinctly tinged with scarlet pink - quite unlike the more familiar Gaura lindheimeri.
The habit is spreading, like Zauschneria so not to be trusted with small plants but excellent for a stone wall or sunny raised bed. Easy and hardy.
A lovely big Centaurea type of thing. White flower heads with violet stigma over jagged lobed deep green foliage.
Unlike the more familiar annual safflower (C.tinctorius) this is a robust perennial and despite being Spanish is a hardy evergreen.
A splendid herbaceous border plant - ought to be much better known.
A very pretty and understated plant found growing among the grasses and other herbs under Eucalypts over large parts of south-eastern Australia, where it is very adaptable.
In the UK it will be less adaptable (shade in England is not like shade in New South Wales) but given a well-drained soil and sun or light shade it is quite hardy and the delicate mauve flowers on tall, slender arching stems (to 3ft high) give a fresh, light effect in the border.