October is off to a mild start this year and this gives some of our rarer plants at Nymans a chance to shine.
In our Indian summer border we have a rare shrub called Rostrinincula dependens whose delicate mauve flowers have just started to open upon pendulous racemes.
If the weather stays fine the flowers should open fully serving as a nectar bar for insects and providing contrasting flower form and colour in the border.Here it is mingling with pink Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’, Aster ‘Purple Cloud’ and the variegated grass foliage of Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’.
As the summer eats into autumn, rarities from our Chilean plant collection have a final flourish.Greigia sphacelata is a rare pineapple relative from the Chilean Andes with architectural foliage.
Our specimen was planted 3 years ago and flowered for the first time this year in September. The flowers are rather lost at the base of the foliage but I’m hoping that the flowers will ripen into fruit (known as chupones in Chile) as they are said to be sweet and delicious. Fingers crossed!
Another Chilean rarity is Myrseugenia leptospermoides which is a small, evergreen, shrub in the Myrtle family that is endangered in it’s native habitat. This year it flowered prolifically.
The close-up below shows it flowering and fruiting simultaneously. This plant has provided us with quite a few seedlings that I hope to transplant to other locations in the garden.
Also from Chile hails a plant called Bomarea caldassii. This twining perennial climber is related to Alstroemeria. It’s stems will snake their way through the lower branches of trees and shrubs and then terminate in a multi-flowered head of bright scarlet tubular flowers. Exotic and hardy.
Our job as gardeners is to try and locate the many and diverse plants we grow in their best locations for them to perform but it does help if the weather can give us a helping hand, extending the growing season for as long as possible.
Author: Jon Keen, Gardener.