Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Persicaria tenuicaulis

Persicaria tenuicaulis
A choice little woodlander – unlike any of the other common species. Slowly spreading to make a colony of stocky little plants with small silvery green leaves, and in spring, makes short spikes of pure white flowers with black anthers.
Adaptable but best in moist but well-drained woodsy soil in shade.
Never even slightly weedy. In fact, keep an eye on it or it might get lost.
1L pots ~ £6



Monday, 19 December 2016

Salix gracilistyla Mt.Aso

Salix gracilistyla Mt. Aso
Maybe the idea of a pink flowered willow sounds a bit kitsch but I promise you this one carries it off very tastefully indeed. This is a naturally occurring form of gracilistyla (not chaenomeloides as was originally thought) and can be quite a substantial shrub in time, very much like its relative the black willow (melanostachys) but with greyish twigs and leaves.
 Salix gracilistyla Mt. Aso
An easy and adaptable willow in any retentive soil in sun or part shade
5L pots ~ £23




Saturday, 10 September 2016

Manettia cordifolia

Manettia cordifolia
An extremely pretty small herbaceous perennial climber from Brazil with lots of 2 in pure scarlet tubular flowers in late summer and autumn. Cultivation information is a little scarce but American sites seem to agree that this will grow in USDA z8 and as I grow quite a lot of z8 plants here I’m pleased to give it a try.
Manettia cordifolia
Even if it ends up being one of those plants that needs bringing in in the winter it will be worth it because its modest size and the fact that it dies down completely to tuberous roots in winter makes it very easy to handle. An ideal small vine for decorating shrubs or putting on a trellis.
1L pots ~ £8



Monday, 15 August 2016

Lonicera hirsuta

Lonicera hirsuta
A honeysuckle from North America with broad green leaves and heads of golden flowers subtended by a pair of rounded bracts.
Lonicera hirsuta
A lovely and rare woodland climber.
3L pots ~ £12




Lobelia laxiflora angustifolia

Lobelia laxiflora
A spreading perennial with fresh narrow foliage topped in summer with tubular orange and yellow flowers.
Hardy here. It might suffer in a very cold year but otherwise a reliable border perennial. This has a reputation for running but I’ve not found it excessive.
1L pots ~ £7



Friday, 15 July 2016

Aucuba himalaiaca dolichophylla

Aucuba himalaica dolichophylla
A slow growing and compact ‘spotted laurel’ up to about 4ft high with attractive narrow dark green foliage, lightly spotted with yellow. This is a male clone with striking dark red flowers in conspicuous branching sprays in early spring.
Aucuba himalaica dolichophylla
For exactly the same conditions as the common species but much choicer. Many thanks to Nymans for the original plant. aka Aucuba chinensis angusta
1L pots ~ £9



Lonicera sempervirens Cedar Lane

Lonicera sempervirens Cedar Lane
A brilliant species producing 3in long tubular vivid red flowers from early spring until well into summer. The foliage is not evergreen (contrary to the specific epithet) but is a rich soft purple when it first emerges, and the top-most pair form a dish around the flowers. Fully hardy and easy in a sunny spot on a wide variety of soils. Much better than x brownii, which for some reason is usually recommended over sempervirens.
Lonicera sempervirens Cedar Lane in a Pyracantha
Grow it in a Pyracantha and make an ersatz Embothrium!
1L pots ~ £12




Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Strobilanthes angustifrons (aka Pteracanthus or possibly Goldfussia)

Strobilanthes angustifrons

A relatively tall sub-shrubby species almost unknown in cultivation it seems - the name is very much in doubt too. Nonetheless an interesting species looking somewhat like a Weigela out of flower but with rich purple flowers in late summer.
Strobilanthes angustifrons

Hardiness is uncertain but there has been a good-sized specimen in the walled garden at Wakehurst for some time now. (The foliage in the photos is of a Philadelphus)
3L pots ~ £12




Dichromena (aka Rhynchospora) colorata

Dichromena colorata
An unusual little sedge to about 12ins high, with prominent white bracts beneath the heads of flowers - a bit like an umbrella grass (Cyperus) but with conspicuous 'flowers'. This is a wetland plant from warmer parts of the USA, often seen growing with Sarracenia (pitcher plants) in the wild.
Dichromena colorata
In cultivation it is easy to grow in shallow water but likely to need some protection from intense cold, and shallow water that warms up quickly in summer.
Clump-forming - not invasive.
10cm pots ~ £7




Forsythia suspensa Nymans

Forsythia suspensa Nymans
Forget about the garish yellow blobs you see about the country through February and March - Forsythia has several much choicer and less overwhelming species to offer. Suspensa is in effect a giant winter jasmine (to which it is related) that can be trained in as a climber, or allowed to drape itself among other vigorous shrubs, or pruned in summer to make an arching shrub.
Forsythia suspensa Nymans
The flowers are large and nodding and pale yellow and scattered along the branches, which, in this variety, are dark purple. Really quite choice!
3L pots ~ £12




Tuesday, 7 June 2016

New shrubby Lonicera

What a fascinating genus Lonicera is. Most people I guess think of the climbing honeysuckle but there are at least as many non-climbing shrubby species, and a very varied bunch they are too. Almost all are easy and hardy in a variety of situations.

Lonicera chaetocarpa
Lonicera chaetocarpa
An unusual and very un-honeysuckle-like non-climbing species with pairs of funnel-shaped pale yellow flowers in a large bristly papery pinkish or yellowish calyx, which persists around the orange berries. 
The leaves are rich green and bristly. Very easy and hardy.
sold out already!


Lonicera myrtillus
Lonicera mytilloides
A very different species with small rounded leaves and rosy white urn-shaped flowers - almost like some sort of ericaceous shrub (hence the name). Also makes red berries.
Lonicera myrtillus
Compact and easily pleased
1Lpots ~ £10




Thursday, 26 May 2016

Salvia hierosolymitana

Salvia hierosolymitana
One of the big Mediterranean clary sages with rosettes of large basal leaves and tall branching sprays of mauve pink, hook-shaped flowers.
Salvia hierosolymitana
Fairly cold tolerant but from the Middle East so needing a very well-drained hot sunny site.
1L pots ~ £7



Ledebouria cooperi

Ledebouria cooperi
For a long time I thought this plant was called Ledebouria adamii. Anyway, a charming little South African bulb with brown lined leaves and rich pink flowers. It builds up quickly into a nice dense pot-full.
Ledebouria cooperi
Not really a cold hardy plant - it's best kept dry in winter - but I hear claims that it can do well in a sheltered, sunny, well-drained spot outside in milder areas. Perfect undemanding plant for a terracotta pot in an alpine house or stood outside for the summer.
10cm pots ~ £5



Two new dates for your plant hunting diaries

To add to previously announced dates, this summer, Brighton Plants will also be at :-


Garden House Specialist Plant Fair
A surprisingly large and beautiful country and kitchen garden emerges from behind a narrow Brighton town house. Quite remarkable
The Garden House
5 Warleigh Road, Brighton BN1 4NT
Saturday 4 June, 11am to 5pm
£2:50 – children free


Plant Fairs Roadshow
Hall Place & Gardens
Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent DA5 1PQ
Sunday 3 July 2016, 10am – 3pm
free entry

Hope to see you there

Friday, 13 May 2016

Tradescantia bracteata and ohiensis

The hardy North American Tradescantias are one of the few groups of plants that will grow almost anywhere in the garden (without becoming a nuisance) and which has almost no major pests or diseases. Mostly of course people grow the cultivars, but as you might be aware by now, I tend to prefer the wild species.

Tradescantia bracteata
Tradescantia bracteata
This is a remarkably choice low compact species with substantial violet flowers on short stems.
Tradescantia bracteata
Quite variable
1L pots ~ £7



Tradescantia ohiensis
Tradescantia ohiensis
A much more graceful, slender species than we are used to, with pale green grassy foliage and soft lavender flowers over a long period in summer.
Tradescantia ohiensis
1L pots ~ £6


Monday, 9 May 2016

Rhodotypos scandens

Rhodotypos scandens
This vaguely Rubus-like shrub is in fact most closely related to Kerria but in this case the flowers are fresh pure white with only four petals and the fresh green leaves are attractively textured. A very lovely arching shrub for almost any conditions. The shiny black seeds are also a feature in late summer.
3L pots ~ £14




Two Unusual Aquatics

Saururus chinensis
Saururus chinensis
A curious, somewhat aroid-like aquatic perennial making a leafy colony in shallow water or wet mud. This is a better looking plant than the more common S.cernuus - the inflorescence is a creamy white spadix, but with a conspicuous white bract. Hardy and vigorous but much better behaved than its other relatives, Houttuynia and Anemopsis.
1L pots ~ £8



Sagittaria graminea
Sagittaria graminea
A pretty miniature 'arrow-head' with narrow spatula-shaped leaves, and submerged linear leaves. The simple three-petalled flowers are produced through the summer (nb. the upper picture shows male flowers, the lower, female).
Sagittaria graminea
Hardy and vigorous and ideal for colonising an area of shallow water or wet mud. Although short in stature, this plant does multiply freely by stolons.
(I bought the original plant as graminea but it could well be S.platyphylla)
bare-rooted plants ~ £4 each