Thursday 29 April 2010

New foliage at Wisley

After a meeting in Surrey last night I had the chance to spend the morning at the RHS Garden, Wisley, which is in all the magnificence of late spring. So many flowers to look at, but here are three foliage plants that caught my eye.

I have grown Paeonia lactiflora 'Madame Gaudichau' for years, valuing it for its uniquely dark foliage in spring, but it is surprisingly seldom seen. It is not a free-flowering plant, nor are the flowers particularly special, so it probably loses out in this way for those obsessed by flowers, but it deserves a place in the garden for its foliage alone.

Cornus controversa is a beautiful tree in all its forms, although best known for its white-variegated clone 'Variegata', the well-known 'Wedding-cake Tree.' I had not previously seen this one, 'Candlelight', which seems to have been introduced by H. Kolster Kwekerij of Boskoop in about 2003. The new growth is a very striking pale yellow, looking particularly good with a dark background. It becomes green in due course, apparently.

Iris x pseudata 'Kinshizen' is a representative of a group of hybrids made between Iris pseudacorus and I. ensata, incorporating good features from both these species. (Why the current trial of these moisture-loving plants is on a raised bed in full sun on the Portsmouth Field is a mystery - surely somewhere more amenable could have been found to trial them properly.) At this time of year it has wonderful greenish-yellow leaves that would look superb in the bog garden or rising from a pool; an internet search suggests that it has rather interesting, peachy-coloured flowers. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be commercially available as yet in the UK.

1 comment:

  1. That emerging foliage of the peony would be wonderful among the strong clear yellows of early primroses. I do wonder whether the foliage becomes ratty like those of other herbaceous peonies later in the year.


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