Friday, 25 November 2011

My Best New Plants of 2011 (part two)

Part one  of this blog took us up to May, but when I was selecting the photos for the second part I was reminded of just how early my next plant did actually bloom. Lathyrus sativus azureus burst onto the scene late April.
The garden twine in the photo helps to give a sense of scale, but the vivid blue colour ensures that these small sweet pea blooms make a big impact.

I was so pleased to flower Hymenocallis festallis finally that it got its own blog post.

In June we took a short break in Cornwall. The south west of Britain is a hot bed of independent nurseries, and one that was very much on our list to check out was Hill House Nursery in Devon. Just five minutes off of one of the main routes to the south west, this place is a delight! Choosing plants was easy - the difficult bit is deciding which plants you cannot to buy! Amongst the treasures that I left with were the following two plants.
Lobelia laxiflora was the plant that bought this nursery to my attention................
When grown in the ground in full sun this will form an impressive clump (there is a lovely example at Oxfords botanic gardens). Pot grown as I have done it makes a stunning specimen that is easy to give winter protection to (as with all Lobelia, its hardiness is borderline).

The second plant that I left with was Salvia discolor.....................
One of its common names is Blackcurrant sage as the leaves and stems smell of just that - Blackcurrant. Tender again, but well worth a place in any collection.
(I must point out that I am in no way associated with Hill House Nursery, just a very satisfied customer)

I grow Datura metel as an annual, but this year I found seeds to Datura wrightii. Seeds were sown in January and the plant was blooming by mid July. What a revelation this was! Despite the rather thin trunk, the blooms on this are HUGE! Each bloom was over 20cm across, and as fragrant as its far more glamorous cousin the Brugmansia.
As if this wasn't already my Datura of choice from now on, when I emptied the pot at the end of the season I discovered that it has a large tuber. A little research suggests that stored as you would a Dahlia tuber it will be a perennial!

For some reason I have never grown Eucomis before. Which is hard to understand when you look at this close up of E.bicolor.....................

Probably my biggest plant "event" this year was the Bat Flower. This has its own blog here.

Plumbago capensis is another that got its own blog post.

Scadoxus multiflorus is also known as the Fireball or Blood Lily. The tubers of this Amarylis relative were planted up in April, yet it sat there for most of the summer doing absolutely nothing. Then in the space of just seven days, this emerged!
The bloom lasts for a week or so, and is then replaced by the foliage which is best described as looking like a mini palm.

My final favourite of 2011 is Bessera elegans. Of the ten bulbs purchased, seven came through with just four of these producing a flower stem.
 I'm unsure as to where I went wrong, although I suspect that some of it may have been down to the cool summer. I'll try again next year and keep them in the greenhouse maybe.


  1. What a beautiful post. I so enjoy looking at all of these lovely plants. Great photography as ever.

  2. Thank you Lily!
    I can assure you that a lot of my photos go into the recycle bin though.

  3. Great photos! The blue sweet pea is my favourite among all these lovelies!

  4. Thank you Lotusleaf!
    It is grown as food in parts of Italy, Africa and Asia. The seed is also used for making flower in Spain I believe.
    Eating large quantities is not recommended though.

  5. Hello Keith! Wonderful, intriguing flowers, The last one in red is really pretty. Also, I admire your patience in gardening and you have a good selection of plants. Again good job on the bat plant. Enjoy the blooms and your garden!

  6. Waiting for plants to bloom is the only sign of patience that I have! After seven years, my Strelizia finally has a flower emerging!