Black, pink and green are the colours in question in this eighth instalment of our series on new plants finding a place on our listing for 2014.
If you like black or nearly black plants, you will like Dianthus Barbatus Monksilver Black, an unusual and very attractive form of the plant commonly known as Sweet William. It forms a compact bushy plant with distinctive, virtually black evergreen foliage and, above that in late spring into summer, clusters of dark maroon flowers that are so dark that they, too, are virtually black. And they’re fragrant, for your added pleasure. Lovely, though it wouldn’t stand out on a dark night, we suppose. Often grown as biennials, these are in fact perennial plants, if relatively short-lived. Worth it, though, however many seasons they last.
You will certainly have heard of Digitalis Illumination Pink. Since taking Chelsea by storm in 2012, this new cross between Digitalis and Isoplexis (from the Canary Islands and which we also grow and sell in its own right) has been deservedly in demand. It has a compact and bushy habit with a semi-evergreen rosette of toothed lance-shaped leaves and spikes clothed with deep pink flowers with warm apricot throats. Very long flowering, which is good news. Thompson & Morgan, who bred this new introduction, stand to do very well out of it and are busy already introducing new colour variations.
Now for Echinacea Green Jewel. There have been so many – perhaps too many – new varieties of Echinacea flooding on to the market in recent years, and green flowers are not to everyone’s taste, we admit, but this Piet Oudoulf introduction might convince even the more reluctant amongst you. Quilled lime green petals surround a flattish and fragrant central cone of darker green, which, set against the backdrop of the equally green foliage, makes for a rather sumptuous appearance. If green’s your thing, this one should be on your planting list.
Rob & Joanna – February 2014