Monday, 25 August 2014

Have you seen these?

A small selection of some of the more unusual plants we currently have available......
Quercus dentata 'Swamp Pygmy'

Think of oaks, think of large trees on a grand scale, however this miniature is ideal for the modern garden, rarely attaining more than 2.0 metres when fully grown. It forms a small, gnarled deciduous shrub with new growth a delightful soft copper-red. At it's best in autumn when the leaves turn a glowing scarlet red. The pin-oak is not tolerant of alkaline soils, preferring a retentive, acid one. Certainly a talking point!

Typhonium roxburghii

Aroids have long been popular with Arisaemas, Arums & Arisarums now widely grown. Typhoniums have always been slow & tricky, however this Chinese species has proved very strong growing, multiplying well in a woodland garden. We first received it as Typhonium alpinum, which it definitely was not. Some research led us to this species. The radial leaves emerge in spring with a velvety sheen, taking on purple overtones as late summer progresses. The lurid red spathes appear at ground level during early summer, smelling of rotting flesh, which attracts the insect pollinators. Our photograph shows the developing seed pod in its papery sheath. So much easier than those tricky Arisaema's.

Blechnum brasiliense

Although not likely to be hardy, this small tree fern from Brazil is well worth the effort to protect, possibly in a cold greenhouse in winter. With time, it will form a stubby trunk up to one metre. Arching, thick textured glossy fronds. Most startling is the new growth with is a rich coppery-orange, continuously produced throughout the year. Could make an ideal pot feature for several years. Prefers a sheltered, sunny spot.
Prostanthera walteri

This small, rounded bushy evergreen from Southeastern Australia is an unusual choice for a warm, sheltered garden. Woody stems with small, mint scented leaves. Reliably flowers twice a year, the first flush from February to May, the second flush during August & September. Most noticeable for it's trumpet-shaped soft jade-green-blue flowers with violet veining, there is certainly nothing like it colourwise. 

Acanthus sennii

Recently introduced species from East Africa, hardy in very mild gardens, but a world apart from what you would expect of the normal Bears Breeches. This forms a woody, upright shrub with intensely spiny, rather holly like, glossy green leaves. Late into flower, often October onwards, it has spikes of scarlet-red flowers for several months. Always likely to be scarce as it is so slow to propagate. Probably best cossetted in a cold greenhouse.