Tuesday, 20 May 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: Going for Green

Dsc_1527jpeg_2A single colour was all over the place at this year's Chelsea: for once, it was easy being green. The RHS has made concerted efforts to ensure that the flower show is more sustainable, though how well they've achieved that remains to be seen. But the big thing was the number of designers turning to green for its calm, collecting influence - even in flowers.

The horsetail Equisetum hyemale, (pictured here) is a plant I've admired before, but suddenly felt myself coveting for its strong, dramatic structure and punctuating brown markings. Horsetails are takeover merchants, even in the drier soils they'd prefer to avoid, so maybe this is one for a patio pot, providing green impact on the large scale. This is from Knoll Gardens stand: one plant is £7.

Dsc_1474jpeg_2Another green favourite for me is Fritillaria persica "Ivory Bells". When this was first introduced a few years ago it was mega-expensive due to intense demand amongst the tasteful, but nurseries have been working away so that we can all grow it. Each bulb is still a fairly exclusive-sounding £8.75 from Avon Bulbs: I would add that in my experience, Avon's bulbs are in top condition and flower much better than those of some other establishments.

Dsc_1429jpegAs far as brand-new introductions went, this green and burgundy-tinged lily from HW Hyde really drew me, especially after I learned that it was a hybrid between L.nepalense and L.orientale, which have never successfully been crossed before. The nepalense parent gives the striking colouring, whilst the orientale contributes a striking height. The plant is called Kushi Maya and should eventually be available from H W Hyde, though I couldn't find it on their website, it's that new!

Dsc_1480jpegMy last contribution is my favourite - because you could never get me on the subject of green flowers without me having to add in a euphorbia. E. wallichii, Wallich's Spurge, was used by Tom Stuart-Smith in his Laurent-Perrier Garden, despite Don Witton's comments that it is "quite rare in cultivation and a challenge to grow". And if Don says that, I'm taking him seriously.

However, Stuart-Smith's planting plan has influenced Crocus, his plant suppliers, and they have got their propagators working double-time anticipating post-Chelsea demand. So if you fancy having a go at this gorgeous little euphorbia, get on their website now: one plant is £5.95.

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