Part 3 of this occasional series covers the spectrum of summer flowering including, as it does one early summer Amsonia and two late flowering Anemones.
First, the Amsonia. The parent species is a native of the United States all too rarely seen over here: Blue Ice is a spectacular plant with erect stems clothed in dark green willowy leaves and, in early summer, clouds of starry blue flowers. It puts on a second star turn in the autumn when the foliage colours golden yellow. We have grown other Amsonias before and are particularly fond of A. Hubrichtii. But this is a nice one too, staying on the compact side at around 18 in.
Late-flowering Japanese anemones bring fresh colour to late summer and autumn with their delicate cup-shaped flowers. Rotkäppchen (or Red Riding Hood, as you may know her) has semi-double dark rosy pink flowers, probably the deepest of any anemone. For a number of years we grew the rather similar Pamina and probably sold more of that variety than any other Japanese anemone. We expect Rotkäppchen will be equally popular.
This next one is a bit of a cheat really, as we were selling Anemone Andrea Atkinson at the end of last season. But it is new to the RHS Plant Finder list for 2014, so that’s our excuse for including it here. The lovely Andrea forms a strong bushy plant and sports beautiful single pure white blooms. In some profusion, it has to be said, and over a long flowering period: we were mightily impressed by her performance compared with other whites we have grown in the past.
And here is another trio of plants we will be offering in the coming season – nice to be thinking of such things as the wind and rain continue unabated outside the office window!
First up is Adenophora Gaudi Violet. Part of the same family as campanulas, with which they share some similarities, adenophoras are commonly known as lady bells, which is rather sweet as a name. This brand new variety will push up nice upright flowering stems clothed, from mid to late summer, with pendent bells of a pretty violet blue. Lovely.
Agapetes Ludgvan Cross is an evergreen shrub of arching habit which will amaze and delight from spring into summer with its clusters of pink urn-shaped flowers with striking crimson veining just like some particularly exotic kind of chinese lantern. It will need protection from sub-zero temperatures, but it’s worth the effort. This is definitely one of those ‘ once seen never forgotten’ plants which, as suggested above, merits taking the effort to fleece it in cold winter weather or have it in a pot which can be brought in from the cold.
We like agastaches for their highly aromatic leaves and long flowering period and Agastache Raspberry Summer is another good one. This bushy upright plant, a recent introduction, has spikes of deep raspberry pink flowers from midsummer to the frosts. It’s a Terra Nova introduction and the photo is courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries. Agastaches are best in the sun and like a well drained soil, especially in winter. They are a magnet for bees and other flying insects, which is another good reason for growing them.
Rob & Joanna – December 2013
We promised in our last post to provide previews of plants new to our listings in 2014, so we thought we had better get a move on before the year in question arrives. For starters, then, here are three of the newbies coming next season.
Our first new plant is Abutilon Lucky Lantern Tangerine (spot the commercial series name – aren’t they awful?). This is a new compact form of abutilon originally raised in Australia with a lovely bushy habit and a proliferation of open bell shaped flowers in a beautiful shade of peachy orange or, as the name would suggest, tangerine. As it is sterile, it just keeps on blooming pretty much from late spring through to the autumn. It’s really very new to the market: as usual, the States seem to have got it before we did. But here it is and it’s a beauty.
Next up is Achillea Walther Funcke. Not shy or retiring, Walther makes a bold statement with his silvery feathery foliage topped, from early to late summer, by flat flowerheads made up of multitudinous brick red or burnt orange florets with yellow centres. These fade to an interesting terracotta sort of shade. Walther will quickly establish a strong clump. Nice chap. Some achilleas can get a bit floppy in wet or windy weather, but this one seems rather sturdier and shouldn’t cause problems of this kind.
And finally in this first preview we have Aconitum Royal Flush. Aconitum offers great value as a strong bloomer in that difficult late summer period: this is a shorter variety with two aces up its sleeve – larger than normal deep but clear blue flowers and leaves that come up a fetching shade of red in spring before maturing to glossy green. This variant on Aconitum Carmichaelii was bred by the legendary Bob Brown who runs the nursery Cotswold Garden Flowers near Evesham.
So there’s your starter for ten. Lots more really interesting plants coming up. We hope, if we can keep up the momentum, that these previews will be coming online thick and fast. They will need to, if we are to post them all before the season starts!
Rob & Joanna – December 2013