A few words on some of this year’s catalogue additions. This is just a selection, so please visit the ‘New plants this year’ section for the full list.
We start with Berberis aff. subacuminata NJM 09.165, collected on the highest slopes of Fan Si Pan, N. Vietnam. This has been tentatively named by Berberis expert Julian Harber and forms an evergreen shrub with clusters of yellow flowers in spring over dark evergreen leathery leaves, white on their undersides.
Again, a few more Betula cultivars are added to the extensive range offered. I have a feeling most people still really don’t appreciate the amazing variety and beauty of birch bark on offer these days. I’m starting to plant drifts of subtly differing clones in client’s gardens.
Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii is a relatively new introduction from Chile and adds to the range of desirable myrtles available from that country, though there are more to come…
Carpinus omeiensis KR 280 is a Keith Rushforth collection from Mt Omei, Sichuan, would you believe? Like so many of the Asian hornbeams it makes a particularly elegant specimen with very narrow branchlets, yet is only now available, in small numbers I’d add. The same applies to Carpinus polyneura, described by John Grimshaw as ‘another exceptional new tree to cultivation’.
Carpodetus serratus from New Zealand is most distinct, with strangely attractive foliage, being yellow green with darker veins and looking like it is deficient in something.
Cornus elliptica CMBS 2004.0757 is an Allen Coombes collection from SW China of this evergreen C. kousa relative, though with foliage more like C. capitata, though glossier and with white flower bracts.
The ‘Mountain Correa’, Correa lawrenceana, is a tall and fairly hardy member of the genus. Apart from the masses of distinctive tubular red flowers in summer, the foliage and stems are one of its most appealing features, being tinged with orange brown and beige.
I have never before offered the Chittam Wood, Cotinus obovatus, and for no good reason. It is rarely seen in UK gardens, yet makes one of our finest autumn flowering small trees, being bigger than C. coggygria in stature as well as foliage.
The podocarp Dacrycarpus dacrydioides makes a vast forest giant at home in New Zealand, though is a small tree in the UK where it is usually considered tender. The form I offer has been completely hardy with me, even in a pot outside during the cold of Jan and Dec 2010, showing the importance of provenance!
Collected on the Korean Island of Cheju-do by Paul Barney, Elaeocarpus sylvestris is definitely a ‘new tree’ to be trialled further in the UK, as it has done very well in Dublin so far. Who knows whether we’ll get to see the blue fruit in cultivation, but the new growth colour alone makes it worth growing.
Hypericum henryi subsp. hancockii NJM 10.092 was found by me on an obscure mountain in the far north of Vietnam and represents a new introduction to cultivation. I’ve never been a big fan of vivid yellow hypericum, which is why I collected this, as it has elegant flowers of a slightly lighter tone on a graceful arching shrub to 2m.
I have some superb new Magnolia joining my already fairly large list, some of which are very highly regarded already by leading Magnolia buffs.
Regarded more for the scent of its small deep red flowers than their beauty, the obscure evergreen Maytenus magellanicus is in the catalogue again after a break of many years.
A tree that has never been listed by me before, not through want of trying, and one that is very rarely offered by anyone, ever, is the amazing Meliosma veitchiorum. I have no further supply of these, so get them while you can..
And for those of you who are fortunate enough to enjoy a relatively mild climate, I offer the rarely available Nothofagus moorei. A most distinct evergreen from Queensland that is perfectly at home in the milder western counties.
Whilst spending some time in the furthest SW corner of the Taurus mountains, Turkey, back in 2010, I was fortunate to be able to secure seed of Phlomis lycia, a plant I have wanted to grow for some years. If grown in a very dry position it should show the same amazing intense golden-yellow-hairy summer foliage as it does in the wild.
Regarded by the late Peter Wharton as one of the best new shrub introductions in recent years, Rostrinucula dependens from China is one to watch, preferably in your own garden.
I remember Salix capusii coming in from the cold after a trip to Central Asia by one of my college lecturers, John Whitehead. It has remained particularly obscure for the last twenty-odd years, but its very narrow pale grey-blue foliage and red-brown twigs make it particularly garden worthy.
For lovers of the obscure and botanically interesting, Sorbus ligustrifolia NJM 09.203 was found by me on a mountain ridge virtually on the Chinese border in N. Vietnam. It is rather un-Sorbus like in foliage, being small and relatively thick textured, but the excellent new growth colour is shared by other notable species in the Micromeles group.
Equally rare is Styrax wuyuanensis, a new intro’ from China, making a low growing tree with comparatively large flowers.
As has become the norm in recent years, I offer a few new and desirable Tilia clones to the marketplace; well, as long as the grafting goes to plan…
Amicia zygomeris was once thought to be a bit tender by many folk, though an established clump in my garden here has sailed through recent intense cold, even without a mulch. Anyone who hasn’t seen the foliage on this tall herbaceous plant is in for a treat.
I have Jimi Blake to thank for Lysimachia barystachys ‘Huntingbrook’, which is why I have named it after his inspiring garden. Vigorous at the root, this isn’t for the smallest spaces, but the deep red stems and nodding Clethra-like white flowers are a fine sight.
Recent wild collections by Keith Rushforth bring us Clematis tongluensis, a pretty species, related to C. montana, though much smaller growing and with other distinct and attractive differences.
One of the most desired things at PGP in the last couple of years has been Aeonium hierrense, three of which I have had displayed in a large terracotta pot. It is a superlative species in colour and size of rosette and is worth every effort to grow, which is very easy if you have any form of frost free glass at your disposal.