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Acacia baileyana 'Purpurea'
Unique and highly ornamental large shrub or small tree for a very sheltered site in full sun. Bright blue-green leaves with new growth deep plum-purple through the growing season. Golden yellow 'Mimosa' flowers in early spring. Easy in a pot, can be hard pruned every year. Takes a fair amount of frost, though is best sited sensibly. My best selling plant by far.
Snowy River Wattle. A most lovely species and fairly hardy too. Foliage on this one is a feathery mass of very, very narrow linear grey-green leaves (phyllodes). Makes a large shrub, covered in panicles of scented, lemon-yellow mimosa flowers in early spring. Worthy of a sheltered location. Very rarely offered in the UK.
Agave atrovirens var. mirabilis F&M 245
One of the very largest of all Agave, forming extremely handsome rosettes over 4m across and 2.5m high. A gargantuan beast from the cool, moist highlands of east central Mexico, this certainly takes a few degrees of frost, but more importantly it will be very moisture tolerant. Very rare in cultivation.
Agave ovatifolia NJM 09.002
The 'whale tongue agave' was officially described in only 2002, this new species from the far north east corner of Mexico is, without question, one of the most stunning of all. Very chunky perfectly formed rosettes, 120cm across by 90cm tall at their maximum, are composed of icy-blue, very deeply scalloped leaves. Proven one of the hardiest and easiest in the garden. Fabuloso!
From the Sierra de Parras in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, this is related to A. parryi, though it has a look all its own. Even at maturity this is a stubby, squat, spiny little beast, with relatively wide leaves compared to their length and a height of only about 30cm. The foliage is bluish-grey with hooked lateral spines. Pretty hardy, but best in a pot.
Agave parryi - Stoneman Lake, AZ
A form of this potentially very hardy species collected near Stoneman Lake, Arizona, 6600ft alt, representing one of the coldest provenances. This form makes large, relatively open rosettes of fairly slim, bright, somewhat milky-blue-grey leaves with contrasting black end spines. Try this outside in maximum drainage, where it should be very hardy.
Agave parryi Large form
Seed collected from unusually large plants, with rigid, broad leaves in dense rosettes of up to 1.2m across at over 7000ft in New Mexico at the North Eastern corner of its natural range. These should cope with cold down to minus 28c if dry, and will do perfectly well outside in the UK in very well drained conditions This is most probably referable to the var. huachucensis.
A most exotic looking large perennial pea from Mexico, with strong growth to about2.5m. Pinnate foliage has leaflets with indented tips, giving a very distinct effect. Highly conspicuous large pale green, but heavily purple-red stained, stipules on the stems and large deep yellow pea flowers in late summer, makes for a striking specimen! Absolutely bone hardy in my experience, even through Dec' 2010, without a mulch. Sun.
Arundo donax 'Macrophylla'
Giant reed. A truly gigantic thing, forming big clumps of blue-green towering foliage to 3m+ high. This is the wider leaved form, good for even more exotic effect, with leaves as wide as a good belt, with long tapering tips. Looks great as a backdrop, or even as a frontdrop if you like that sort of thing. Any ordinary soil in full sun.
Astelia 'Silver Shadow'
A cross between A. chathamica and A. nervosa, making an arresting clump of boldly metallic-silver sword shaped foliage 1m high by a little more across. For sun or semi-shade and a reasonably sheltered position from the worst of winter cold. A bold specimen plant for a pot, though best brought under cover in winter if grown in this way.
A broad leaved robust species forming big clumps of taper pointed, textured, strap-like silver-green leaves to 2m tall in the wild, but more like 1.5m here. A swampy grower in nature, but fine in ordinary soils in cultivation if not bone dry. A fine foliage plant, like a more refined Phormium, this is one of the two hardiest Astelia species and hardier than A. chathamica for example.
Begonia fusca (new)
Originally collected in Chiapas, S. Mexico, this is a very large leaved species of monumental proportions, with leaves up to 1m across on petioles of the same length! Without warmth and tropical humidity they are a little smaller. Large panicles of pale pink flowers, then pink seed capsules. Splendid in a pot stood in shade in summer; brought inside in winter.
Cautleya gracilis from Manipur (new)
This small ginger relative, with red and yellow flower spikes in late summer, was found in Manipur on Shirui Peak at 2500m alt. A more delicate looking species than C. spicata, reaching about 60cm. Rich soil, sun/semi-shade
Cautleya gracilis var. gracilis 'Crug Gold'
A form found on the border of Burma and Thailand near the summit of Doi Phohon-Pok. Up to ten golden-yellow long lipped flowers per inflorescence emerge from red bracts atop leafy stems to 80cm tall in late summer. This hardy ginger relative enjoys a semi-shade position in good free draining soil that doesn't get too dry.
Cautleya gracilis var. robusta 'Tenzing's Gold' (new)
A fine form of this hardy ginger relative with more flowers per stem, usually between 15 and 20. Rich yellow flowers from red tinted bracts in late summer on stems to 50cm. The leaves have most attractive deep-red undersides. Enjoys a semi-shade position in good free draining soil that doesn't get too dry. Mulch over in winter if you live on Ben Nevis, but otherwise hardy if not waterlogged in winter.
Cautleya spicata 'Arun Flame'
A collection of this hardy ginger relative from E. Nepal which has the darkest red stems to about 1m tall. Orange flushed rich yellow flowers emerging from deep-red bracts are produced atop the stems July to Sept and the leaf undersides are tinged purple-red. Enjoying a semi-shade position in good free draining soil that doesn't get too dry.
Cautleya spicata 'Crug Canary' (new)
A selection of this very exotic looking, but hardy ginger relative with striking flower spikes in August, borne atop clumps of luscious foliage to about 70cm. Richest orangey-yellow Roscoea like flowers emerge from deep blood-red bracts. Rich soil in semi-shade.
Cautleya spicata 'Robusta'
A very exotic looking but hardy ginger relative with yellow and red flower spikes in August, borne atop clumps of luscious foliage to about 70cm. Enjoying a semi-shade position in good free draining soil that doesn't get too dry.
Cautleya spicata lutea (new)
Not scientifically recognised as a variety as such, but horticulturally rather different to 'Robusta' having none of the red pigment in the bracts or pseudostems. Masses of luscious foliage on stems to about 70cm, topped by yellow Roscoea-like flowers emerging from green bracts in August. Quite different. Forms clumps in rich soil in semi-shade.
Dracunculus canariensis (new)
Quite the opposite of the stinking D. vulgaris, this white flowered elegant beauty from the Canary Isles is generally smaller to about 1m tall. The slim white spathes with a pale yellow spadix inside are borne above the divided green foliage in spring to early summer. A winter growing species, dormant in summer, therefore needing cool glasshouse conditions. Rarely offered.
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