Thursday 29 September 2011

Coruscating coleus

in Graham Blunt's garden, Nutley, New Jersey
In my so far quick look at the October issue of The Garden I notice that Nigel Colborn's opinion piece discusses his liking for coleus and the issues of taste in gardening that they raise. Travelling around the eastern states this month I was astonished by the wonderful array of coleus cultivars that are available there and widely used to add great richness to the garden display. As with many sumptuous foliage plants they clearly thrive in the pseudo-tropical heat, humidity and (at least latterly) wetness of the east coast summer and make stunning combinations possible. Such richness and diversity in summer bedding may not be a viable option for us in England, with our cooler summers, but there's no problem growing coleus here. Tasteless? I don't think so.
Coleus is the English name for plants derived from what has been known as Solenostemon scutellarioides, a southeast Asian plant with variably coloured and marked foliage. The cultivars are still often known as Coleus blumei, but botanists now place Solenostemon in the genus Plectranthus, so Plectranthus scutellarioides is the correct name for all these fabulous forms. I was not able to ascertain the cultivar names of most of the clones I saw, so here I've only indicated the garden in which I saw them growing.

around the fountain, Bartholdi Park, Washington D.C.

'Alabama Sunset' in Graham Blunt's garden, Nutley, New Jersey

'Religious Radish', at Wave Hill, New York

at Wave Hill, New York

'Inky Fingers' in Graham Blunt's garden, Nutley, New Jersey

'Red Velvet', at Wave Hill, New York

at Frelinghuysen Arboretum, New Jersey

1 comment:

  1. I’ve been growing coleus plants indoors and out for quite a few years. Although they seem to be rather delicate, they are actually quite hardy. And so, they’ve been adding wonderful colors and texture to my home décor as well as to my garden. I utterly adore them.


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