Spring is without a doubt my favourite season of the year, BUT having said such, I love Winter! I love the cold, almost sharp intake of breath on a cloudless, sunny day, as I traverse one of two local cataract trailways, my head abuzz with some of the new plant selections I hope to introduce to the nursery in the coming garden season. This is the other main excitement of Winter. It is the anticipation of what is yet to come.
Allow me to introduce a trio of new friends that I made over the past month. I am confident that they will all be coming to reside on the benches of Cedar Spring Nursery in the coming months. The first photo shows precisely the reason I am so excited to be able to offer 'Anemone 'Wild Swan!' If you read this blog, you will know that I have a thing [or, yes, you might wish to refer to it as an obsession, the choice is entirely yours to make, dear friends!] with the colour blue. I am usually quite demanding that it be the 'truest' of blue, but in this case, I am willing to bend.... but just a wee bit!
First discovered by Elizabeth Macgregor, in her Scotish garden nursery, and thought to be of hybrid origin, this beguiling beauty, with its large satiny white flowers, with their central boss of gold, veers into the 'sweet baby Jesus' zone with the stunning periwinkle blue coloration to the reverse of a defined 'trio' of its petals. Thought to be a cross between Spring and Fall flowering species, it provides week upon week of bloom from mid Summer through to frost. I have been after this one since it won the illustrious Plant of the Year at Chelsea in 2011 - not so much for the win, but more to add more periwinkle blue to the garden!
A woodland garden can always use more ferns, and likewise, a Collector border can also use more new and unusual selections. Athyrium 'Godzilla', a chance sporeling found at the trial gardens of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina, fits the bill perfectly. It's name 'Godzilla' befits is enormous size, given that it is a 'painted Japanese fern' first and foremost. Capable of reaching a height of 1m and a spread of 2m, it will demand placement where it is allowed to fulfil these staggering measurements. Wine infused stems, carry ghostly silver infused fronds that will act as a beacon in the partly shaded woodland garden.
I have been enamoured of the genus Deutzia ever since I planted D. 'Magicien' along the side of my house, in front of a menacing central air conditioning unit that I wanted more than anything to make disappear via a 'living' wall of sorts. It easily did the trick, spreading to am imposing 2m a 1m inside of two years. Coarse green foliage clothes branches that are an alluring cinnamon colour, [bark actually exfoliates with age] and June brings forth masses [and here I mean hundreds] of tiny magenta buds that open to reveal gorgeous two tone flowers - creamy white insides with magenta reverses, excepting a thin white picotee edging. Smashing! But that was 'Magicien' which remains very difficult to locate in hort commerce.
'Yuki Cherry Blossom' appears to be a miniaturized version in all of his parts! With a diminutive stature of 0.65m at most, this is a perfect selection for those with a smaller property! He offers the same delightful two tone flowers, and from the looks of this photo, they too will smother his branches when in bloom. He likes full sun, and will offer a rich wine foliage display as Summer fades to Fall
With his blue and green Summer tones, Heucherella 'Cracked Ice' [the crossing of Heuchera and Tiarella] won out over a slew of other new 'Heuchs' to bombard the market for 2015. I will take Heucherella over his more popular cousin any day! Larger and pleasingly rippled leaf surface, more veining, a higher heat tolerance, prettier flower scapes..... but that's just me. So, the blue and green Summer tones are great, but in Springtime there is a sublime silvery pink overlay, with even more dramatic veining. What is there not to love about this trickster of colour! His compact habit makes him worthy of the front of a border, or as a container selection, where his icy beauty can charm and beguile, and maybe, just maybe, remind gardeners to the fact that..... wait for it...... winter is indeed coming!
And there you have it...... the first of my annual sneak peeks as to what I hope will be new friends not only for me, but for you as well!