Ranunculus - Sympytum
Plant names highlighted in green have images attached, click to view.
Ranunculus ficaria cultivars (all £3.75)
These are Lesser Celandines, which can be a bit invasive. (Just making sure you knew.)
var. aurantiacus Rich orangey fowers, leaves marked silver and black.
‘Aglow in the Dark’
‘Elan’ Pale yellow petals, regular double.
‘Ken Aslet double’ White, grey backed petals, regular.
‘Art Nouveau’ Unusual wavy outline to the leaves - they look almost lobed. Rarely seen. Thanks to Ruth Boundy.
‘Ragamuffin’ A seriously weird mutant, a full double in which the ‘petals’ are thick and leafy in texture, yellow and dark green. Strangely attractive.
‘Witchampton’ Silver mottled leaves, ordinary yellow flowers.
Ranunculus ficaria ssp. chrysocephalus £4
So different we’ve separated it. A gigantic, yellow flowered celandine, giving the impression of a (not very) small Caltha, but flowering in early spring. Thanks to Olive Mason, who gives it garden room among the very choicest snowdrops and aconites, where it seeds around benignly. ‘Pulls up easily if it gets in the way’ she reassured me.
Rodgersia ‘Buckland Beauty’ £5
Big bold leaves, flowers a strong clear pink, going over to dark red. One of the very best.
Rodgersia ‘Kupfermond’ £6
A very good, recent German variety, not often seen. Long, upstanding inflorescences of pink flowers; bold coppery tinged foliage.
Rodgersia pinnata ‘Jade Dragon Mountain’ £6
Spinners’ selected clone from Roy Lancaster’s collection L1670. The flowers are in a dense head on really dark stems, and age from cream as the buds open through pink to red. A first rate plant.
Rodgersia pinnata ‘Superba’ AGM £5
Bold foliage, bronzy pink when young, red tinted later, and bright reddish pink flowers on red stems. Very lovely, for moist soil in sun or part shade. Take note, ye who care, these are divisions, not the variable seedlings so commonly offered.
Rodgersia ‘Stoke Gabriel’ £6 NEW CULTIVAR NAME
A very good new find, never before offered. The foliage is pseudopinnate, in the manner of R. pinnata, clean dark green with excellent red petioles. The flowers are white in an elongated, rather arching inflorescence, again on a red stem. In flower, the contrast between the white, the dark green and the red is what catches the eye. A vigorous thing (OK its a Rodgersia, of course it’s vigorous). Selected by Heather Booker in North Devon. Her erstwhile National Collection (only the National aspect of it is erstwhile, the collection is going strong) is perhaps the finest and most useful Rodgersia collection anywhere. Stoke Gabriel is on the Dart, downstream of Totnes. Heather and her husband used to keep a boat there, and rode down from the Ilfracombe area by motorcycle to sail it - that’s nearly 100 miles without leaving Devon.
Rohdea japonica ‘Talbot Manor’ £5
Thick, upstanding evergreen leaves in Aspidistra fashion, rather variably white striped. For humusy shade. Reputedly capable of producing boring flowers and nice berries. Some plants, as Sarah says, are rare for all the right reasons. I reckon it’s a man’s plant…
Romanzoffia tracyi £3.75
Tidy cushions of dark, shiny round green leaves all through winter and spring. Lots of pure white flowers in spring. Summer dormant. Easily spread by lifting its small tubers when dormant. It comes from moist cliff habitats on the Western seaboard of the USA, and appreciates a moist, well drained soil in at least partial shade. Easy, and like nothing else.
Romulea bulbocodium var. leichtliniana £3.75
Shamefully neglected little Mediterranean irid, flowering in spring and increasing at the corm. This form has yellow centred white flowers, dark veined on the backs (important since the flowers open only in the sun). Summer dormant of course.
Romulea bulbocodium late £3.75
A more typically violet flowered form from Rannveig Wallis, useful and distinctive in its very late flowering, April or May.
Romulea engleri £3.75
From Morocco, with deep violet, yellow throated flowers in April, normally. Easy and prolific in a pot, I don’t see why you shouldn’t try it outside in a sink, etc.
Romulea monticola £3.75
South African winter grower with clear yellow flowers in late winter. Few.
Romulea tabularis £3.75
South African winter grower, normally flowering in March here. The large flowers are a lovely light lavender, with a soft yellow throat.
Rudbeckia triloba AGM £5
Our favourite Rudbeckia by a long way, and quite unlike the familiar fulgida types. A much branched plant to 1m, covered in small yellow, brown centred daisies in late summer to early autumn. Generally a good perennial, but easy from seed if you do lose it after flowering.
Salvia clinopodioides? (‘Michoacán Blue’) £4
Rather dense cylindrical heads of smallish, rich blue flowers in whorls, from September. Cut back by frost, but can sprout from a tuberous rootstock underground. Best in a pot with winter protection, but survived last winter without heat. Imagine our surprise… This Mexican plant first went around in Salvia circles as ‘Michoacán Blue’: the identification as clinopodioides is, I think, still tentative.
Salvia confertiflora £5
Red-brown, hairy inflorescence of crowded orange flowers, to excellent effect, from late summer until the frosts. It’s a tenderish plant from Brazil, best planted out for the summer and overwintered in the greenhouse from cuttings taken in early summer. 1m.
Salvia corrugata £5
Dark green, tough, very deeply veined leaves, rusty beneath. Luscious dark blue flowers, best and earlier on plants overwintered, but needing protection in most areas. From Ecuador.
Salvia greggii , microphylla and x jamensis (their hybrid) forms - all £5
These share the familiar wiry bush form, eventually topping 1m, quite hardy (certainly up to bad winters in the Cotswolds - that makes Sunderland look subtropical, you Northern cynics) given sun and perfect drainage. Tidy them up in spring, once you know what’s what. A few cuttings as an insurance are always wise.
microphylla ‘Newby Hall’ has scarlet flowers, combining brilliantly with the pale green leaves, and has a good hardiness record – it’s the old stalwart that used to be labelled ‘grahamii’ in British gardens.
x jamensis ‘La Luna’is a soft cream.
x jamensis ‘Maraschino’ is a rich cherry red, from summer to late autumn, floriferous and rather tough (thanks, Grace!) – raised by America’s ‘Sultan of Salvias’ Richard Dufresne.
x jamensis ‘Sierra San Antonio’ is floriferous; large rich cream lower lip, pink tube and red upper lip and throat - the colour scheme is sliced strawberries with clotted cream. Very pretty indeed.
Recently introduced is ‘Nachtvlinder’(that’s Dutch for ‘moth’ and, metaphorically ‘a night owl, someone who has fun at night’ as somebody eloquently explained to us).
We’re so impressed by its many, reasonably big, dark purple flowers. Also new for us is Robin Middleton’s ‘Peter Vidgeon’, with a vigorous habit and substantial flowers of a uniform, strong,slightly lilacy pink.
Salvia involucrata ‘Hadspen’ £5
Proves hardy in a sheltered position in southern English gardens. Makes a big clump of stems to 1m or more, topped in autumn by spikes of deep red-pink flowers, larger and darker than in ‘Bethellii’, with a tuft of pink bracts at the tip.
Salvia leucantha ‘Santa Barbara’ £5
A bushy plant with white wooly stems; flowers with furry purple calyces. In this form the corolla is purple too. Overwinter inside.
Salvia ‘Mulberry Jam’ £5
A red-pink flowered involucrata hybrid reaching 1.2m when suited, and fairly hardy, although late to regrow when cut back by hard frosts. Brittle-stemmed, and best grown in a sunny, sheltered spot.
Salvia nemorosa ‘Carradonna’ £4
Superlative form of the classic smaller herbaceous species. Good purple flowers on very dark stems. 60cm.
Salvia pratensis ‘Indigo’ AGM £5
A tough, hardy, floriferous, entirely herbaceous species; dark violet blue in this form.
Salvia ‘Silke’s Dream’ £5
First-rate recent hybrid (darcyi x microphylla) with long spikes of orange-red flowers, summer to autumn. Reasonably hardy given sun and good drainage.
Salvia ‘Phyllis’ Fancy’ £5
A fine leucantha hybrid, rather like a much-improved ‘Waverly’. It reaches about 1.5m, with very many small fuzzy white flowers, the visible ends increasingly tinted lilac as the season goes on; August to the frosts. Quite new, but is looking to be remarkably hardy in better drained southern gardens.
Salvia uliginosa AGM £5
Far and away from anything else listed here, this is a tall, freely running wetland species from temperate South America. The flowers are sky blue, at the end of the summer, before it dies back to ground level in winter. It’s usually hardy round here, especially if the soil isn’t too wet in winter.
Stout perennials for the border, all with smart pinnate leaves and bottle-brush flower heads late in the summer. Generally best in full sun and a moist, fertile soil. See The Plantsman for June 07.
Sanguisorba ‘Burr Blanc’ £5
Graham ‘Marchants’ Gough selected this tenuifolia-influenced seedling. The flowers are white from green buds, in
inflorescences rather shorter than the usual for tenuifolia. It seems to last longer in flower, too.
Sanguisorba canadensis £5
Tall and stately, approaching 2m in flower with long slender white inflorescences on red stems in September.
Sanguisorba dodecandra £5
Rarely grown but attractive species from a small region of the Italian Alps. Droopy white catkins, smart rather blueish leaves. 1m.
Sanguisorba ‘Pink Brushes’ £5
Just a few to spare of Coen Jansen’s excellent hybrid. It’s a tall, upstanding one with substantial foliage and long, thick, droopy bright pink tassels, presumably derived from hakusanensis. The best of its type.
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Cangshan Cranberry’ £5
The first of several forms of this useful, diverse, red flowered, geographically widespread species. Collected in China by Dan Hinkley, it has ovoid flower heads on thin wiry stems to 2m on some soils, usefully late in the year, typically September to October.
Sanguisorba officinalis early form £5
June flowering, about 1.6m tall with ovoid maroon inflorescences and well textured pinnate leaves. Passed around in the UK as stipulata which, bluntly, it is not. I rate it highly.
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Martin’s Mulberry’ £5
A very fine tall officinalis, self supporting and tidy. Midseason dark red globby heads.
Sanguisorba officinalis from Mongolia £5
The first to flower, normally from early May, and short at under 1m, this rather delicately textured plant was collected as seed in Mongolia by Paul ‘Edulis’ Barney.
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Red Thunder’ £5
Medium height, floriferous, in later summer.
Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Tanna’ £5
The classic, fine-textured, densely running, 30-40cm tall miniature form of this bobbly red-flowered species.
Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. parviflora £5
Very like the previous plant, but the leaflets are even narrower and held more or less horizontal even when the plane of the leaf is inclined steeply upwards. This all sounds rather technical but the effect is very beautiful.
Sanguisorba tenuifolia var. purpurea £5
A nice plant, but to optimists the name implies really dark purple flowers. They are purple, but at the red-pink end of that difficult colour. 1m-ish. Late flowering with us.
Saruma henryi £4
Very hairy light green leaves and a long succession of soft yellow Asarum-like flowers (spot the anagram.) Ideal for a reasonably well drained soil in light shade. One of those irritating plants that will seed around a bit but doesn’t germinate when sown in a pot.
Bold, arisaema-like aroid, very late into growth and horticulturally similar to the better known S. venosum. Bold pedate leaves, with attractive pale, almost glaucous green petioles heavily blotched purple. Long, horizontal, spotty spathes before the leaves in spring: stinky.
Saxifragafortunei ‘Conwy Snow’ £3.75
White flowered mini-fortunei selected by Keith ‘Aberconwy’ Lever.
Saxifraga fortunei ‘Mount Nachi’ £4
Another nice (and normal-sized) form, with bronzed foliage, brown even, and good sized inflorescences of contrasting white flowers.
Saxifraga fortunei ‘Wada’ £4
Larger copper tinted leaves, and taller in flower, reaching 50cm.
Saxifraga nipponica ‘Pink Pagoda’ £4
Evergreen hairy leaves in low mounds. Lots of pink flowers in 30cm inflorescences. For moister shade.
Saxifraga stolonifera ‘Hime’ £4.50
It’s the classic ‘mother-of-thousands’ type with round, hairy, red backed leaves in rosettes, a spike of white flowers and plantlets on sinister thready red stolons. But this Japanese cultivar is selected for its miniatureness (miniaturality? – either way, George Dubya would be proud of me). Few, rather surprisingly.
Our native, violet flowered Autumn Squill. From cultivated stock originating on the South Devon coast. Flowers in high summer here. For rock garden etc where it seeds around benignly.
Scilla hohenackeri BSBE 811 £3.75
30cm winter grower with impressive puplish blue flowers with reflexed tepals, in early spring, like greilhuberi but better. Makes a good clump. Hardy, from Kurdistan.
Scilla hughii £5
An island endemic closely related to peruviana. Purple buds open lilac-blue. Increases by bulblets on the roots.
Scilla hyacinthoides £6
Quite a large bulb, with a basal rosettes over wuinter and a slender spike of light blue flowers on top of a very tall stem, in spring. Dryish summer dormancy. From an old Archibald collection in Turkey.
Scilla lingulata S&F253 £3.75
The 10cm spikes of light blue flowers emerge with, not before the rosette of tongue shaped leaves, in September. A tightly clumping bulb. Leave in one pot for several years - a good dense colony looks a treat.
Scilla persica £3.75
Lots of small soft blue flowers in a big airy spike to 30cm tall. More delicate than the imposing heads of
peruviana, but still one of the large species.
This variable Iberian / North African species is a large, winter growing, more-or-less summer dormant bulb, hardy in a sunny place which dries out in summer. Flowers are many, in large, pyramidal inflorescences in spring. The larger the bulb, the bigger the inflorescence. I’d like to emphasize that these are divisions (a slow process) not open-pollinated seedlings which would be easy to raise in quantity, but very dubiously true to type.
S.p. var. elegans £5 - dark violet flowers.
S.p. var. venusta £5- attractive long, hanging bracts; many small light blue flowers.
Scutellaria maekawae BSWJ 5557a £4
A low-growing woodland skullcap from the mountains of Honshu. The purple-blue flowers are small but plentiful, in dense clusters.
Scutellaria scordiifolia 'Seoul Sapphire' £4
Bright and cheerful, with heads of rich violet flowers. Bushy and reaching 15cm. For a more sunny position.
Sedum glomerifolium £3.75
A very rarely seen Ethiopian species, with minuscule rosettes of succulent blue-green leaves on thread-like stolons, making a dense carpet. It looks good cascading over the edge of a pot. The flowers are insignificant. An alternative angle on this plant is that it’s a rather tender weed. Bits break off and establish far too easily for comfort, and it can become an (arguably benign) glasshouse weed, although this has not happened here. Certainly not fully hardy in colder gardens. I’m not inclined to let this go to our friends on the West Cornwall coast or Guernsey, but with suitable caution, it’s a nice thing. Very shallow rooting, it could combine well in a pot with summer growing bulbs.
Sempervivum calcareum ‘Extra’ AGM £3.75
Recommended to us by Howard Wills (National Collection) as the ultimate calcareum, and we’re well impressed. Pale bluey green leaves, neatly tipped red-purple, as you’d expect, but it’s something about the neatness and crispness of the rosette’s form that sets it above its peers.
Sempervivum ‘Green Ice’ £3.75
One of the hairy arachnoideum types; neat in form, pale green with a delicate ‘frosted’ look (that’s as in ‘lightly covered by tiny ice crystals’, not ‘mashed to boiled cabbage by freezing’.)
Sempervivum ‘Greyfriars’ £3.75
Red-pink tinted rosettes, but with a curious dusty grey quality to it as well.
Sempervivum ‘Othello’ £4
Huge dark red (in sun) pseudo-echeveria rosettes. Some people are amazed that it’s a sempervivum at all.
Sempervivum ‘Red Delta’ £3.75
Smaller, cobwebby rosettes, still a good red.
Sempervivum ‘Squib’ £3.75
We thought at first it was always going to have tiny rosettes, but it doesn’t. However, it’s a really fine red, strongly coloured for a remarkably large part of the year. Thanks again to Howard Wills, who rates it highly.
Serapias lingua £6
Mediterranean climate orchid with browny-purple flowers which stick their tongues out at you in early spring. Not hard to grow with a dry summer dormancy, and increasing quite quickly.
Sidalcea reptans £5
A creeping, pink flowered wetland species from the American West. Rarely seen in cultivation, where it forms a spreading patch with 30cm flower spikes in summer. Serious herbaceous groundcover.
Sidalcea 'Wensleydale' £5
An old border variety, rarely seen nowadays. The flowers aren’t huge, but they are a lovely warm colour, right at the red end of pink (or vice versa, I suppose) and there are plenty of secondary inflorescences branching off below the main spike. Thanks to Kevin Marsh for material which goes back to old plants in the garden at Bressingham, a good provenance for a plant which Alan Bloom wrote about in the 50s. I believe it’s a Canadian, not Yorkshire variety, so why the name? Must be cheese, Gromit.
Siphocranion macranthum £4.50
A clump of branching stems, to 20cm, have hairy leaves which become purple as the season goes on, looking really velvety. Bright, rich purple flowers like a narrowly tubular snapdragon, in autumn. Very distinct. For a moist-butwell- drained soil away from bright sunlight.
Smilacina see Maianthemum (at least for now… I don’t think the fat taxonomist has sung yet)
Speirantha convallarioides £4
Dark green leaves and fragrant flowers, white as white, in late spring. Less spready than Lily of the Valley, but similar in scale, and quite closely related. For humusy shade.
Spiranthes ‘Chadd’s Ford’ £5
The world’s various Lady’s Tresses orchids share the classic dense, parallel sided inflorescence of small white flowers. What they differ in in size and growability. This is at the big and growable extreme! The plant reaches 30- 60cm tall when in flower in autumn: a clear half of that height bears flowers which are sometimes fragrant. It’s a wetland plant from Delaware, and thrives on a moist but not waterlogged soil, with plenty of organic matter. It increases freely, in part by plantlets which form overwinter on root tips (yes, really).
Stachys macrantha 'Violacea' £4
A violet-pink colour form of the big, tough, attractive herbaceous border species.
Stachys ossetica £4.50
Large, pale creamy yellow flowers; dark green textured leaves. 30cm. Very different, very beautiful. Sun and good drainage.
Stemmacantha centaureoides £4
Once settled, makes stout clumps of cornflower-like foliage, with big pink heads surrounded by brown papery bracts. For dry places in sun. The plant long known to gardeners as Centaurea ‘Pulchra Major’. Just a few.
Sternbergia sicula ‘John Marr’ £4
Classic bright yellow flowers in early autumn with rather short, narrow, curved, slightly greyish green leaves. Easy in a sunny spot in the rock garden, trough or raised bed. Selected years ago by Simon Bond, from a John Marr collection. The headlines: good flower, tidy little leaves.
Stipa gigantea ‘Gold Fontaene’ £5
Ordinary S. gigantea is a grand grass, with its airy, oaty flower heads lasting well into winter. This is just the same, but even taller and with slightly broader inflorescences. Has reached 2.5m with us. Sun and... space.
Symphytum 'Angela Whinfield' £4.50
A low-growing, light red flowered hybrid which spreads well but not manically. Really beautiful in bud, and pretty good the rest of the time too. From the lady herself, bashful about the name but those around her insist.
Symphytum x uplandicum 'Moorland Heather' £5
The classic monolithic hybrid in a fabulous rich deep purple, the same colour throughout the life of the flower so there’s no fussy two-tone effect. Not a runner, but an ineredicable clumper.
Symplocarpus foetidus £6
The Skunk Cabbage of the American Northeast is a real hard nut compared with the western and Asiatic Lysichiton species. Like them, it's a wet-ground plant in nature, but is certainly trickier to establish in the bog garden and for us grows well in large pots of ordinary potting compost, watered only adequately in spring and summer, fairly dry in winter. Very early into growth and flower, with snow and soil frozen hard, the spadix heats up to prevent freezing. The ground-level spathe is short and leathery, dirty green flecked red-brown. It's a fascinating and rare curiosity in cultivation, rather than a great beauty. These are divisions of a plant we've grown for years.
For all those interested in South African plants we've also put all our listings of South African
bulbs and plants onto one website we've called South African Bulbs at Desirable Plants.
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