Monday, 23 October 2017

Dietes bicolor

Dietes bicolor
A South African Iris relative with extremely striking round creamy flowers with three bold orange and black blobs towards the centre. The plant gradually forms a dense evergreen tussock, very like a Libertia, with the flowers held on wiry sems above.
Dietes bicolor
Although this plant is happy in a wide variety of conditions it will need a very sheltered well-drained site in the UK or a large pot, brought inside for the winter. The parent plant has overwintered fine in a terracotta pot in an unheated tunnel for many years now, but I haven't planted any outside yet.
£8



Canarina canariensis

Canarina canariensis
A tender herbaceous climber from the Canary Islands similar to a Codonopsis but with big red and orange striped bell flowers.
Canarina canariensis
Winter growing but not frost tolerant so needing a cool greenhouse
£8



Monday, 9 October 2017

Solanum umbelliferum incanum

Solanum umbelliferum incanum
A very pretty Californian species combining good sized lavender flowers all summer, and greyish stems and foliage on a low spreading subshrub. Not at all coarse or weedy.
Solanum umbelliferum incanum
This is untried in the UK to my knowledge but is rated as z7 in the USA. Full sun and excellent drainage will probably be the crucial things. If not then it'll be a nice container plant
£8






Sunday, 1 October 2017

Impatiens ugandense

Impatiens ugandense
A gorgeous tall species from (you guessed it) tropical East Africa with large white flowers, delicately marked with pink, and good quality fresh green foliage.
Impatiens ugandense
Not hardy but an easy and undemanding species that requires only frost-free conditions in winter and can be stood outside in summer.
£8



Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Buddleja colvilei large leaf form

Buddleja colvilei large leaf form
B.colvilei is known for its relatively large rich pink bell-shaped flowers - much larger than any other species that I know of. This is a very rare form with large greyish felted leaves up to 20cm long, and is descended from a plant that used to grow against the house at Borde Hill.
Buddleja colvilei
The flowers appear in mid spring on the previous year's growth and can get frosted off in bud, so a very sheltered situation is required in all but the warmest areas.
£18



Abelia (Linnaea) floribunda

Abelia floribunda
A very striking Mexican species with long tubular dusky pink flowers and small rounded evergreen leaves. The lax spreading habit means it might be best treated as a wall shrub, but I rather like it growing through other shrubs.
Abelia floribunda
It does need shelter and warmth to flower well but is otherwise easy.
The sinking of Abelia (and also Dipelta and Kolkwitzia) into Linnaea has upset a few people but it does actually make sense if you understand the science.
£15






Vicia gigantea

Vicia gigantea
This is a good pink form of a Californian native vetch. In the wild a potentially vigorous coloniser but here I've found it no more so than some of the popular climbing Lathyrus such as L.latifolius, and it makes a very nice change from that with its fresh green pinnate foliage and spikes of rich pink flowers.
Vicia gigantea
Even so I'd give it plenty of space somewhere it won't swamp small treasures. Spring flowering - cut it back to the ground after flowering for fresh new growth.
£8



Phlomis 'angustifolia' Toob

Phlomis angustifolia
A very striking Phlomis with the edges of the grey leaves turned up to reveal the white undersides, giving a very smart two-tone effect, especially in winter. The flowers are a clear bright yellow.
This has proved hardy and easy in a sunny well-drained spot.
Phlomis angustifolia
Originally obtained as P.angustifolia, it seems this name is a synonym of P.fruticosa. It's not clear if it's a form of fruticosa or another species but it's a much nicer plant. Nick Macer gave it the varietal name 'Toob' because of the 'toobular' shape of the leaves.
£8



Monday, 25 September 2017

Fascicularia bicolor canuliculata

Fascicularia bicolor & Correa Marion's Marvel
I think most keen gardeners now know about this remarkably hardy (to about -12C) Chilean bromeliad. There has been some confusion about the naming - the F.bicolor bicolor apparently has broader shorter leaves and is generally less hardy and easy to flower in the UK. F.bicolor canuliculata forms a mass of long narrow silvery leaves under a wide variety of conditions in most of the UK and flowers regularly. The only thing it definitely needs is excellent drainage. It doesn't mind drying out periodically or being root-bound, and makes an excellent container plant. It will also grow well in the dry shade of an evergreen shrub as long as it gets sun coming in from the south side, especially in winter.
In the wild it tends toward the epiphytic or lithophytic, growing in rock crevices and in the forks of branches so a raised bed is the obvious place for it. If you have a gnarly old tree I'd definitely give it a go there too - wiring the roots in a fork in the trunk, covering them in moss and giving it some water while it gets established. Try it in the crown of an old Cordyline or on the fibrous trunk of a palm.
These plants are substantial divisions of the plant in the photo
1L pots ~ £8



Saturday, 12 August 2017

Lobelia siphilitica good blue

Lobelia siphilitica ex Kevin Hughes Blue
Despite the unfortunate name (some old medicinal use I assume?) this is a very worthy perennial from the USA - fully hardy and easily grown in any soil as long as not too dry, and the slugs don't seem interested in it.
Lobelia siphilitica ex Kevin Hughes Blue
These are seedlings from a good blue from Kevin Hughes.
£6



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Paederia foetida

Paederia scandens
An unusual subtropical/warm temperate, deciduous, twining climber from eastern Asia. The flowers are very distinctive – they come in clusters in early summer, are more or less tubular, to about half an inch long, pale on the outside and plum purple inside. They may be followed by orange berries.
Paederia scandens
Untried here but worth a go in a sheltered position outside.
£12




Justicia americana

Justicia americana
Fully hardy acanthaceae are relatively rare in cultivation, and most Justicia are tender herbs and shrubs, so this one comes as a slight surprise. This is a rarely grown North American marginal producing heads of pretty violet/white flowers over fresh green foliage for a long while in summer.
Justicia americana and Dichromena colorata
Easy in shallow water or wet soil. Not at all weedy
£6




Sunday, 4 June 2017

Buddleja nivea yunnanensis

Buddleja nivea yunnanensis
This is an absolutely enormous shrub growing to 10ft very quickly and demanding a big space. The leaves are also very big – up to 20-30cm pale grey above, pure white felted beneath and along the stems.
Buddleja nivea yunnanensis
The flowers resemble davidii but the small purple orange eyed flowers are in hefty clusters up to about 30cms long and set in white fluff. All in all a dramatic and remarkable thing.
Buddleja nivea yunnanensis
The down side is that the new shoots and buds have been severely damaged by late frosts so needs a sheltered situation or a mild garden. Easy and undemanding otherwise
£10



Monday, 29 May 2017

Impatiens flanaganae

Impatiens flanaganae
A gorgeous big African species, related to tinctoria but with rich pink flowers and red stems (the colour is deeper than in these pictures).
Impatiens flanaganae
Seems hardy here in the border in full sun with a thick strawy mulch in winter. It actually seems better kept on the dry side - not parched - just well-drained and open
£10



Saturday, 27 May 2017

Hemiboea


Hemiboea subcapitata
Hemiboea subcapitata
I was very excited when I first came across this on Ed Bowen’s Opus nursery website. I thought at first it might be some very classy Abelia relative with long white flowers, marked rich red inside over dark green leaves, but it is in fact a member of the gesneriaceae.
Hemiboea subcapitata
Now, one does not expect gesneriads to be hardy easy-going perennials in the UK but this does appear to be the case here. The easiest up until now have probably been Haberlea and Mitraria but this adds to the list and seems if anything, even more adaptable.

Unlike many choice woodlanders it doesn't appear to need cool moist conditions to do well and, as I've discovered, puts up with rather hit-and-miss watering rather well. It spreads and bulks up well and quickly here. I don't know yet how much cold it puts up with but it seems hardy at least in Southern England. It dies back to rosettes in winter.
Still rare outside specialist collections but destined to be very popular I think.
£10




Hemiboea strigosa
Hemiboea strigosa
This pink-flowered species was being sold as subcapitata by a few nurseries but is obviously distinct, both in the flower colour and the thinner texture of the foliage.
Hemiboea strigosa
It seems just as easy to grow and may even be hardier, judging by the fact that the overwintering rosettes have remained evergreen.
crop failure


Cestrum sp. obtained as parqui purple form

Cestrum aff. parqui purple
A remarkable evergreen shrub given to me by Geoffrey Kibby who has had it in his North London garden for some time and reports that it has never been frost damaged and is very vigorous.
Cestrum aff. parqui purple
The suspicion is that it isn't parqui (sadly it has no evening fragrance for one thing) but the floral display is interesting enough on its own for me.
Cestrum aff. parqui purple
The flowers are essentially mustard yellow but heavily tinted with inky maroon, especially in bud and when they close up during the day, which creates a striking two-tone effect. The leaves are stained black in winter. Probably worth sheltering in colder areas.
£12