Thursday, 9 May 2013

Piptanthus nepalensis

Piptanthus nepalensis
A really striking shrub, notable not just for the acid yellow flowers, but also for the dark green foliage and, once the leaves drop in autumn, the rich lustrous black-green stems (a bit like the black bamboo, as my mate Richard pointed out the other day).
Hardy and adaptable but probably at its best with some shelter. Other members of this group (Laburnum, brooms etc) are real sun lovers, but Piptanthus nepalensis can look a little washed-out in too much heat and drought. It often looks its best in less exposed, cooler, and even semi-shady conditions.
Can be grown as a free-standing multi-stemmed shrub or trained on a wall.
5L pots ~ £14

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


Miniature umbellifers for sunny well drained situations, especially with alpines and low Mediterranean plants, bulbs etc. The leaflets are extremely fine and thread-like and make a neat tangle on the ground with the small white umbels above - like a tiny fennel. Perennial and not even slightly weedy.

Athamanta turbith?
Athamanta 'turbith'
Athamanta vestina?
Athamanta 'vestina'
There is some confusion here. I have labelled my plants by the names on the batches of seed they came in but I have yet to confirm their identity. My information suggests that A.turbith should be taller with slightly thinner leaf segments, which from the evidence at hand suggests that the names I was given are the wrong way round. (nb. vestina = turbith hungarica, so they are going to be very close.) Also, my 'turbith' are slightly older, which might explain their larger size.
Either way they're both jolly nice!

Athamanta 'turbith' : 
3in pots ~ £6

Athamanta 'vestina' : 
3in pots ~ £6

Monday, 6 May 2013

Viola quartet

Surprisingly few violets are well-known in cultivation and leaving aside some of the very tricky species and the all-too-well-known Pansies and Violettas, many are exquisite but easy-going plants of woodland and mountain, especially in Europe, the far East and North America, and they should appeal to anyone who likes Anemone, Primula and Cyclamen.

I suspect that many people, based on their experience of the invasive V.odorata, might be suspicious of these plants. My experience is that almost every group of plants has at least one weedy member, but that violets are no more prone to this than any other group. Some seed about but the seedlings are easily eradicated (or moved) and most show no inclination to run underground.

Viola pinnata
Viola pinnata
Pretty purple violet flowers produced in profusion among a clump of most un-violet-like fingered foliage. This is a European alpine species, almost never seen in cultivation to my knowledge, but which seems very happy indeed here in our sunny raised bed.
10cm pots ~ £5

Viola glabella
Viola glabella
A really gorgeous little golden yellow violet from California (Thanks Dennis) - much nicer, I think, than the European V.biflora. My camera really refuses to capture the rich golden colour properly but the compact shiny foliage and floriferous-ness (phew!) should be apparent. A lovely woodlander. Will probably seed about but doesn't seem to want to run.
sold out

Viola aff. chaerophylloides
Viola - Japanese species
A bit of a mystery this one. I obtained the seed from a seed exchange under various names including chaerophylloides sieboldii, chaerophylloides sieboldii rosea and chaerophylloides x eizenensis Kurenal and the two forms you see above are the kind of things that resulted.
Viola chaerophylloides x eizanensis Kurenal
This paler version has yellowish foliage, turning darker later in the year.
V.sieboldii and chaerophylloides are notable for their jagged palmate foliage so they're in the right general area. Perhaps I should come up with some cultivar names? Whatever they are they are extremely lovely, and seem so far fairly easy in a cool woodsy spot. Once again, they seem to seed about a bit but not to run.
Few to spare so far. Please enquire

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Thalictrum rochebrunianum

Thalictrum rochebrunianum
A fabulous tall species, related to delavayi but larger in all parts, and very fine. For moist cool sites, sheltered from drying winds. Grows beautifully here on the Wealden clay, among Acers, Hostas, Trollius and Dicentra.
5L pots ~ £12

The new growth and seed heads are good too.
Thalictrum rochebrunianum