Last week we had a mystery plant assailant, chewing discrete chunks out of the juicy midribs of plants such as Hydrangea aspera and Rodgersia pinnata. That mystery remains to be solved, so thinking caps on, please. Mind you, that matter has been referred to the RHS’s Advisory Service, and they don’t know either. Perhaps it’s a really small vegan alien.
This week, we are reverting to form with a Nature Table of plants to identify. See what you make of these.
1 Edited to add
Sempervivum flowers. These succulents have flowers with an almost alien beauty. Each rosette grows for a number of years, and then flowers, but only the once. Having flowered, that rosette dies, and if you’ve given away all the offsets to friends, you’ll be left without. So, no matter how many offsets the plant grows, remember to keep some for yourself.
2 Edited to add:
A white lacecap hydrangea. It is exactly the same as the more familiar mophead hydrangeas – they are both cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla. The small flowers are the actual flowers. The large white ones are sterile bracts.
3 Edited to add:
This caused some head-scratching, but I kno0w it well, having wrestled with it, nursed it to health many times, and eventually composted it. (This one is Felley Priory’s, not mine.) It’s Fuchsia arborescens. It’s probably striking as a large’ish tree, but as a pot plant, it’s interesting to grow, but not interesting enough to buy a second time round, in my opinion. It flowers only on the very tips of the branches, so flowering is sparse, and it gets woody very quickly, so if you try and limit the size, foliage gets a bit sparse, too. But it is interesting.
4 Edited to add:
This is a martagon lily, that wonderful woodlander. Lilium martagon ‘Album’.
5 Edited to add:
This is a Cornus, a flowering dogwood. It looks a little bit like ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’, but I’m just guessing there.
And a closer look:
6 Edited to add:
A Lychnis, but its name didn’t accompany the picture. If I were guessing again, I’d suggest Lychnis chalcedonica ‘Carnea’. ‘Carnea’ means ‘flesh-coloured’.
7 Edited to add:
‘Potentilla’, the email said. Ah, but which one? It looks like nepalensis to me, so I’m going to have a stab at ‘Melton Fire’. Thompson and Morgan have been pushing this for some years, certainly long enough for the plant to be planted and the name forgotten…
8 Edited to add:
Catananche caerulea, Cupid’s Dart. Might be the variety known as ‘Major’. A pretty, but short-lived perennial, needing well-drained soil to persevere.
9 Edited to add:
Diascia personata. Most diascia are relatively tender, and relatively short, good for summer baskets and containers. Not this one. It can grow up to 4ft tall, and it never stops flowering. It comes from South Africa, where it is pollinated by just one species of bumble bee with the right sized tongue to reach the nectar. That bumble bee does not occur here in the UK, so the plant never sets seed. It just keeps on flowering. Mine is regularly in generous flower in December. it’s hardy, too, although somewhat short-lived. A cutting or two is a good idea.
10 Edited to add:
Another hydrangea, but quite different to the lacecap above. This is Hydrangea paniculata, with longer, pointed flowerheads. The cultivar is ‘Pinky Winky’, and the white flowers do, indeed, fade to deep pink at the end of the season. Unlike Hydrangea macrophylla, this is not a woodland edge plant, and it needs full sun to give its best. It flowers best on new wood, so has a different pruning regime to H. macrophylla.
Edited to add: So, how did you do? If you got any of them, have a chocolate biscuit! Well done!