Monday, 5 November 2018

Plant of the Month November 2018

Buddleja auriculata (Weeping sage)

Family: Scrophulariaceae
Origin: South  Africa
Location: South Glasshouse border
Accession: 2018

B. auriculata is an evergreen shrub to 3m, with lance-shaped, dark green leaves, white beneath, and small orange-centred, white flowers in dense panicles in autumn and winter. The flowers are strongly fragrant with a scent which has been compared to Chanel No. 5. It is not hardy below -10 °C, so best grown against a south-facing wall. In the UK, the shrub is often planted as a source of nectar for late butterflies and bees.
Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Plant of the month October 2018

Coprosma rugosa
Family: Rubiaceae
Origin: New Zealand
Location: Australia/New Zealand
Accession: 2012

Coprosma rugosa, also known as the needle-leaved mountain coprosma, is a stiff erect evergreen shrub up to 3m tall. It has many interlacing wide-angled twigs bearing clusters of pairs of very narrow leaves. It forms extensive thickets in grasslands and forest margins in lowland to subalpine areas on moraines and river terraces. It has inconspicuous flowers followed by abundant small pale blue berries in autumn, the seed of which is widely dispersed by birds. It is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and is wind-pollinated. It is very hardy and suitable for hedging.

Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Plant of the month September 2018

Heliconia bihai
Family: Heliconiaceae
Origin: Central & South America
Location: Tropical glasshouse
Accession: 1982

 Heliconia bihai is an erect herbaceous plant up to 5m tall with leaf blades to 60cm, native to northern South America and the West Indies. It is typically pollinated by bats and hummingbirds. Its flower is an inflorescence with 7-12 upward-facing bright red bracts which hold rainwater used by birds and insects.

Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Summer Gathering 2018

Farewell to the Curator (2nd right) from members of the Committee

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Plant of the Month August 2018

Solanum laciniatum (Poroporo, Kangaroo Apple)
Family: Solanaceae
Origin: New Zealand, SE Australia
Location: Australia/New Zealand
Accession: 2012

S. laciniatum is a large evergreen shrub to 3m or more, with pinnately-lobed juvenile leaves 30cm long and smaller lance-shaped adult leaves 15cm long. Its light purplish-blue flowers, 5cm wide, with broadly triangular petals, are followed by egg-shaped bright orange-yellow berries, 2-3cm long. All green parts of the plant and the unripe fruit are toxic; the young foliage contains a series of steroids which are of commercial value as raw material for the manufacture of contraceptives. It is not fully hardy, and is short-lived even with frost protection, but is easily propagated from seed.

Thanks to Maggie Gowland for photographs.