Episode six of what’s coming this season has got two nice shrubs and a grass for your delectation. We do like bottlebrushes (the shrubs, not necessarily the cleaning implements, though they have their merits too) so are pleased to be growing some Callistemon Perth Pink, which is a rather lovely variety of bottlebrush native to Australia, with a nicely rounded, slightly arching habit and willow-like evergreen leaves. The striking flowers, which appear in late spring into summer, are a refreshingly original shade of soft pink. The park superintendent of Perth named it after the city, which seems a good move on his part. A sunny sheltered spot will suit it best, but, as it is a sport from Callistemon Salignus, Perth Pink should be pretty hardy, only requiring protection in the harshest of winter conditions.
Chasmanthium Latifolium is returning to our lists after a temporary absence, and about time too.We call this grass the mini-bamboo because of the appearance of its stems and leaves. The flower/seed heads are large and oat-like, hence the common name of Sea Oats. It’s also known as Spangle Grass, which is just a wonderful name. This grass looks terrific in a tall pot in which it will stand proud and not flop all over the place, which is very obliging and well behaved of it. We do like it and find it pretty much trouble free. The leaves turn golden yellow in winter, after which you can cut it back, which is pretty much all it will demand of you.
One of the best bits of news for this coming season is that we are listing Clethra Ruby Spice. From the United States, where it is known as the sweet pepper bush, this delightful variety is an absolute stunner of a shrub. The glossy green foliage is nice, but its big moment is those 6 weeks in mid to late summer when it is covered in dark pink flower spikes like so many clove-scented candles. We have grown Hummingbird, the white-flowered variety, for some years but have not until this year been able to offer Ruby Spice other than on an occasional basis. It’s lovely! Exquisite in appearance and in its scent when in full flower. It is puzzling to us why you don’t see Clethras on a more widespread basis in this country: we’ll just keep on doing our bit for them, anyway.