Paederota - Pulmonaria
Plant names highlighted in green have images attached, click to view.
Paederota lutea £4
A small, properly alpine Veronica relative with yellow flowers. From the Julian Alps: rare, both in the wild and in cultivation.
Paeonia emodi £9
Divisions of a classic white flowered species, quite tall, with airy foliage. Traditionally placed with ‘feet in shade and head in sun’. Sorry about the price – there’s work and years (well, decades) involved in getting the stock of these things built up.
Paeonia ‘Yellow Emperor’ £15
One of the splendid Itoh hybrids, crosses between tree paeonies and herbaceous species. It behaves like a herbaceous paeony, but leaves very short twiggy stems above ground when dormant. The flowers are semidouble, upfacing in a lovely lemon yellow, streaked red on the petal bases inside. Even the older Itohs are still in great demand, and this one is much harder to get hold of than, say, ‘Bartzella’.
Paesia scaberula £5
This low growing, freely spreading New Zealand fern can be as choice a garden plant as it can be a manky weed on a scruffy industrial site in NZ. Strongly winter dormant, the very finely cut, rather stiff, light green fronds are a picture as they emerge in spring. It stays attractive all summer, reaching no more than 30cm in height, and is sometimes pleasantly scented. It prefers an open soil in a sheltered position. Not bone-hardy here, and can be decimated by the worst winters, so a good idea to keep a bit as a spare in the cold greenhouse.
Papaver Super Poppy series £5
American hybrids of, supposedly, complex parentage. In horticultural terms I’d sum them up as oriental poppies with thicker, tougher, glossy petals which means the flowers last longer, much longer in some varieties – we’ve had a flower last 10 days in a polytunnel in hot weather! This is a very good feature. This year we can offer ‘Medallion’ (deep dull reddish purple, rather Patty’s Plum-ish), ‘Bright Star’ (long lasting very bright reddish pink), ‘Snow White’ (grey buds open white with maroon basal blotch), ‘Viva’ (lovely warm red-pink, very rarely offered, perhaps the prettiest of the lot).
Paradisea lusitanica £5
Fine upstanding spikes of good sized, pure white, flared trumpet shaped flowers in early summer. Good fertile garden soil in sun or part shade. Height approaches 1m with us.
Parochetus communis £3.75
The tenderish, freely and densely running brilliant blue pea. Keep a little bit on the dry side in a pot in the greenhouse overwinter if your garden gets much frost. It soon gets going again!
Pelargonium oblongatum £4
One of the tuberous winter-growing South Africans, but easy to grow if you know how. It flowers right at the end of the growing season in late spring to early summer, as the leaves die down. The flowers are big and plentiful, creamy yellow in this form with red veining on the upper two. We grow it in a pot of very freely draining compost, and don’t repot every year. We keep it in our almost-but-not-quite-frost-free conservatory, and water freely over winter except during cold spells – the big leaves wilt easily and tell you when to water! We stop watering it entirely as the leaves die off, even if the flowers are still going strong, and give it a hot dry summer.
Pelargonium ‘Renate Parsley’ £4
Such a choice little hybrid with hairy grey leaves and small bicoloured flowers, the upper petals wine red, the lower very pale lilac. Long flowering.
Pelargonium rodneyanum £4
Another tuberous species, but this Aussie is perfectly easy, and hardy with us given very good drainage. Low and a bit spready, with lots of bright purple-pink flowers over a long summer season. Strangely uncommon.
Pelargonium sidoides £4
Small maroon flowers over silvery foliage – very pretty. Survives the worst winters here under unheated glass.
Peltoboykinia watanabei £4
Deeply lobed, shining green peltate leaves up to 30cm across; creamy flower spikes; height around 40cm. A handsome foliage plant for a cool, moist position – if you have a depressingly high rainfall you can even grow it in sun, as they do to good effect at the Garden House.
Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Rosea’ £5
Up to 1m tall in good ground, making a very dense clump with slender spikes of pink flowers. Very attractive - used in quantity in the long borders at Rosemoor.
Persicaria alpina (polymorpha) £5
The best of the tall white species, we reckon. Big panicles of white flowers, ageing pinkish. Can reach 2m when established. It does not run (honest, guv!), and is not picky about soil. Few.
Petasites paradoxus £4
As a rule, never trust a butterbur if you’ve less than half an acre to plant it in. This is a true exception, and beautiful to boot. Dense clumps of silvery foliage to 40cm. Small heads of gently fragrant flowers in late winter, before the new leaves.
Phegopteris decursive-pinnata £4
The Japanese Beech Fern. Gently spreading clumps of soft, pale green fronds, curled in at the tips and edges during spring, to excellent effect. A delicate-looking but easy little fern for a woodsy spot.
Petrocosmea kerrii ‘Crème de Crûg’ BSWJ 6634 £4
A rosette-forming gesneriad with pure white flowers over apple green leaves in summer. For humusy shade, and not tremendously hardy; probably best in a pot, overwintered fairly dry in the not-quite-frost-free greenhouse. Very lovely. I remember a conversation with Rachel ‘Aberconwy’ Lever about our respective successes and failures with asiatic gesneriads. They grow lots of alpine petrocosmeas superbly – they die for us – but on kerrii she thought it was ‘a bit cabbagy for us – more your sort of thing’! But it’s impossible to take offence - nice people, great nursery. (And she’s right…)
Phlox glaberrima ‘Morris Berd’ £4
A nice bushy herbaceous thing, with big pink flowers all over, rather than on top of the clump. Horticulturally, it’s ‘Bill Baker’ with bigger flowers.
Phlox paniculata cultivars
‘David’ (£4) is highly satisfactory, a very floriferous, clean, opaque white. Fine figure of a man...
‘Mary Christine’ (£4) is perhaps the scarcest of the variegated cultivars, tricksy to propagate and rarely seen. It has a clean white variegation with good sized pink flowers, much like the colour of the old indestructable passed on from one cottage garden to the next. The variegation varies a little from shoot to shoot, although is far from random; reversions are occasionally seen and should be removed. We gave our original plant to Sarah’s Mum quite a few years ago, and she has come to think very highly of it. Thanks to Beeches Nursery and Kevin’s turbocharged plantsmanship.
‘Monica Lynden-Bell’ (£4.50) is very pale pink from dark buds, and is shorter than some, around 60cm. All have the classic summer evening fragrance. And what a good year 2013 was for them!
Phyteuma scheuzeri £4
Rounded heads of deep blue flowers all over a compact mound of narrow, pointed leaves in May. Rock garden.
Phyteuma spicatum £4
Cylindrical white flower spikes make the Spiked Rampion look very different to the more familiar blue, roundheaded ones.
Pimpinella major ‘Rosea’ £4
Here, however, it’s the clean pink flowers which are memorable. 1m or so in flower, but delicate. Easy.
Pinellia cordata £3.75
A small tuberous aroid with lovely silver veined leaves, somewhere between a cyclamen and Arum italicum. You’d think the rather dingy flowers might smell of a dead animal, but actually smell quite pleasantly of a dead pineapple.
Pinellia pedatisecta £4
Another pretty summer growing species. Slender soft greeny yellow spathes to 30cm in early summer. Not a dangerous bulbil maker! Shade.
Plectranthus excisus £5
Forget the look of the tender species, and think of this as a hardy Coleus. The leaves are interesting - some gremlin has bitten the tip off each and replaced it with one that’s too small. Dies down completely in winter.
Polemonium foliosissimum ‘Cottage Cream’ £5
Tall, self-supporting creamy white variety. Very tall says Sarah. Entirely self-supporting say I, being suspicious of sticks. We’re both right.
Polemonium ‘Hannah Billcliffe’ £5
Notably large flowers, starting lilac and ageing to a pale pinkish, giving a bicolored effect.
Polemonium ‘Lambrook Mauve’ AGM £5
Mauve flowers over an exceptionally long season in spring and summer. Tough, compact, slightly spreading, up to 50cm tall and not prone to mildew. This is a plant which is common for all the right reasons.
Polemonium ‘Sonia’s Bluebell’ £5
One of the most distinctive and sought after of the many hybrid polemoniums. Elegant, rather nodding, cup shaped flowers in clear blue. It’s the colour of the Scottish bluebell (harebell to us southerners). Less prone to mildew than many.
Polemonium ‘Theddingworth’ £5
Tall, upstanding with rather large lilac flowers. OK, it’s another hybrid Jacob’s Ladder, but very rarely seen and, to us, particularly good. From the Thorpes of Theddingworth, a wonderful place name, with the sound of a Saxon treasure dug laboriously out of East Midland clay.
Polygonatum humile £5
A very short, densely spreading plant with rounded leaves crowded on the 5-10cm stems. White flowers in spring. Some rather taller things are often seen under this name.
Polygonatum x hybridum AGM £4.50
Another example of a plant which is common for the best reasons. This hybrid is the usual Solomon’s Seal of gardens, in this clone quickly making a dense, almost weed-proof patch of elegantly arching flowering stems with all the grace of the species. About 60cm tall. No berries, unfortunately. For a rich, moist soil, best in light shade.
Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Betberg’ £5
A form of the previous with a dark flush to the stems and leaves, especially when young.
Polygonatum kingianum yellow-flowered £10
Long greenish-yellow flowers, ageing properly yellow, hang in the axils of brown-tinted leaves. It will climb (well, scramble) given the opportunity. Not very hardy. Modest numbers of this very special thing. The name is extremely dubious. What’s new…
Polygonatum odoratum ‘Flore Pleno’ AGM £4.50
Classic Solomon’s Seal, with interesting double flowers. 30cm here. It bulks up beautifully in a rich moist soil.
Polygonatum aff. sibiricum DJHC 600 £5
Dan Hinckley collected seed from a plant in Sichuan, which had blue fruits, narrow leaves up to 12cm long, and which reached 3.9m in height through the lower branches of a larch. With us, the flowers are brown. These are divisions of one of the seedlings he raised. Quite how to make it grow this tall remains to be seen – I think a shrub for it to scramble through (the ends of the leaves twist round as if they want to help it cling to other plants), adequate summer moisture and TIME are probably what’s needed.
Polygonatum verticillatum ‘Rubrum’ £4
Narrow leaves in whorls on vertical stems, with little pinky red flowers in the axils. There are impressive tall forms of the species around – a huge clump of a white flowered form at Rosemoor is taller than me. This is a division of a really big form grown in Germany. Pot grown pieces are never going to be huge. You need to get them into the ground and let them settle.
Polygonatum yunnanense Og 94047 £5
Greeny yellow tubular flowers, flared at the mouth, hang in pairs under the arching 20cm stems. Most loveable, and spreads pleasingly. Very popular with all who see it. Unidentified for years, then two names arrived at once. Mr Ogisu decided it must be a distinctive, outlying population of acuminatifolium, and we published his cultivar name ‘Wolong’ here last year. Unbeknown to us, Aaron Floden, a meticuluous American taxonomist who is working on Chinese Polygonatum had just resurrected the old name yunnanense, which species everyone seems now to agree this plant belongs to.
Polygonatum zanlanscianense £8
A suberb, distinctive and rare species. The name is much commoner than the true plant, sadly. Late to emerge in spring, this is a tall (over 1m) species, with leaves in whorls on stout stems, and are rather more substantial than those of verticillata. There are lots of small purply brown flowers in the axils. Trouble is, some nurseries have imported other species (usually not even verticillate ones) under this name from China, and have blindly repeated it. Credit to Crûg Farm, I have to say, theirs is the right plant (as, of course, is ours...)
Polygonatum sp. SBQE 310 £4
Unidentified, seemingly unidentifiable Chinese miniature. It’s very pretty, with wiry 10cm stems exploding out of nothing in May, carrying little flared, pink bells, followed by red berries. Freely spreading for a woodsy soil.
Polypodium calirhiza ‘Sarah Lyman’ £7
Starting the genus with an offbeat American rarity isn’t so logical, but that’s the alphabet for you. This is a pleasantly bipinnatifid form of a rarely grown species from California and Oregon, which originated, I believe in the Napa Valley. It differs most strikingly from our European species in its habit of losing its leaves decisively in summer, before the new ones grow in autumn – after all, it comes from a Mediterranean climate. One to try where summer drought is an issue? Just so you know: the name calirhiza is a relative newcomer. It was previously considered part of californicum, but proves to be an allotetraploid (and hence a true-breeding species) derived from the hybrid between narrow-sense californicum of the CA coast, and glycyrrhiza of the Pacific North West (a genetic parallel with the origin of our native interjectum.) If you’re not clear now, you probably weren’t bothered anyway. Nice (and rare) plant.
Polypodium cambricum ‘Pulcherrimum Addison’ £4.50
A nice form of our native lime-loving species, which is fine on all but the most extremely acidic garden soils. The fronds are bipinnate, i.e. divided once more than normal, have quite a neat, substantial look and tend to be held quite upright. The young fronds are curved in at the edges. Very distinctive. Found on Whitbarrow, a massive lump of limestone above Morecambe Bay, in 1861.
Polypodium cambricum ‘Richard Kayse’ £5
Bipinnate, but much less so, and flat as anything, giving a lovely lacy effect. First found near Cardiff in the 17th Century and recollected in the late 20th century from the type locality, and is presumed to be the original clone. One of the first we grew, having picked it out, quite naively, from Martin Rickard’s erstwhile National Collection of the genus, without knowing its rarity and the great price it attracted back then (we learned that the hard way before we left). Still our favourite.
Polypodium glycyrrhiza ‘Malahatense’ £4.50
Bipinnatifid, sterile form of a North American species, found in British Columbia. The pinnae towards the tips of the young fronds in autumn somehow seem unusually long and distinct, like little fingers reaching out. They say the rhizomes taste sweet - I’m yet to be convinced.
Polypodium vulgare ‘Trichomanoides’ £7
There are relatively few mutant selections of this native species, favouring acidic soils in the wild but not fussy in the garden. This is perhaps the most extreme form of any species. The fronds are divided not once, but four times, so the whole thing has a frizzy look, a bit like curly parsley. Very occasionally you get a small normal-form frond, which we tend to tweak out with its rhizome. It does not have the provenance safely to label it as the 19th Century classic ‘Trichomanoides Backhouse’, but to my eye it’s indistinguishable.
Polystichum x dycei AGM £6
Not quite a rarity, but very seldom seen, this sterile experimental hybrid is an unusually tall (can reach well over 1m if suited) and very shapely Polystichum for a wide range of more or less shady garden conditions. The whole bearing of the fronds is elegant.. With proliferum and braunii as parents, it’s no wonder this is a classy plant.
Page link to Primula / Primroses
Prosartes maculata (Disporum maculatum) £4
A branchy little woodland plant with rough, rounded leaves and spotted cream flowers. The North American Disporum species have been returned to the genus in which they were first described, Prosartes. I occasionally contribute articles to the ‘blogs’ section of the Plant Heritage Devon website, and you can see a full explanation of why this name change is important there.
Pulmonaria ‘Benediction’ £5
We’ve broken our ‘no Pulmonarias cos nobody buys them’ rule. ‘Benediction’ is not only so very good - a rich true blue with nice round spots, it also remains quite hard to obtain.
Pulmonaria ‘Darkling Thrush’ £5
Our own find, a chance seedling spared from being weeded out along with the rest for its splendidly brown-tinted foliage in late winter and early spring. The leaves are elongated, with contrasting round white spots. It is likely to be the offspring of longifolia ‘Ankum’ and a saccharata, probably ‘Leopard’. The flowers are the usual dull violet longifolia type. Very positive (covetous, indeed) responses from quite a few people who know their lungworts encouraged us that it was worth distributing with a name. No wisecracks about Hardy perennials please.
Pulmonaria ‘Elworthy Rubies’ £4.50
A very good dusky pinkish red, with well spotted dark green leaves, flowering from late winter. Much less coarse than any rubra I know, with more attractive leaves and better flowers, but probably has rubra as a parent. Impressive. Thanks to Jenny Spiller (what a good eye for a seedling she has.)
Pulmonaria ‘Open Skies’ is having a sabbatical. It will return.
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