In addition to importing/propagating other people’s plants, we can’t help but to tinker, and doing things the old-fashioned way creates its own opportunities for finding new plants.
Digitalis ‘Smyles’ A sterile hybrid of thapsi and lutea, but with much larger flowers than any other lutea hybrid we’ve seen – these are nearly purpurea sized. Very much like a super-sized ‘Glory of Roundway’. Smyles is my son Myles’ nick-name.
Eucomis ‘Rhode Island Red’ Some years ago we were excited to acquire a plant labeled pole-evansii ‘Purpurea’, only to be disappointed when it turned out neither too pole-evansii nor too purpurea. In an attempt to do better, we crossed comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ onto pole-evansii and grew out a couple of hundred seedlings. This plant stood out for having dark foliage, and avoided the floppy flower tendencies of comosa with sturdy stems and massive infloresences. Regrettably not as tall as pole-evansii , nor as hardy as comosa, but we’re still trying for a 6′ purple one- stay tuned.
Geranium pratense ‘Pale Reiter’ A seed strain developed here from a chance, pale flowered seedling of ‘Victor Reiter, Jr.’. Pale, near white flowers, deepening to pale pink, especially in heat, over purple infused foliage.
Geranium pratense ‘Ghost Reiter’ The seed strain counterpart to ‘Midnight Reiter’ developed here from ‘Pale Reiter’ – shorter, darker foliage, slower, but with near white flowers. Difficult to offer annually, but really fantastic contrast.
Geranium xoxonianum ‘Superstar’ Some of you know that I used to work for TV star Sean Conway. While there, I was always looking for a better seedling from ‘Katherine Adele’ – one with more complimentary flowers. I never found it, but, on a visit to his garden a few years later, found this seedling growing in the floor of one of his greenhouses. It has darkly marked foliage, and near white flowers – an improvement, we think, on ‘Katherine Adele’, so we cheekily named it in Sean’s honor.
Hydrangea aspera ssp. sargentiana x involucrata The aspera section of Hydrangea offers some of the best foliage in the genus, as well as involucrata‘s ability to bloom on new growth – who wouldn’t want to combine them? This still un-named plant is a gesture in that direction, with large, felted foliage, furry stems and exfoliating bark a la sargentiana, and dramatic, involucrata-esque buds. We’re still madly sowing out seed from this section, and have all sorts of permutations on the theme, and are working toward striking, re-blooming, garden-worthy plants. We’ve begun posting picks of some hybrids to our Flickr stream.
Kniphofia ‘Hot Sex Wax’ Surfers will know the molten mass of the pool of board wax forgotten, and melted, on the dashboard. This Knip has a very similar Dr. Zogg’s effect, a liquid sheen noticeably unlike the usual matte surface of Knip flowers. A shorter selection, to 30″ or so, with grassy foliage and repeat bloom.
Kniphofia ‘Nose Job’ We love ‘Toffe Nosed’ for its sophisticated umber-cum-cream color scheme, but always wished it was a re-bloomer. Kniphofia pauciflora is one of the best bloomers, with successions of bloom throughout the season. A deliberate cross, ‘Nose Job’ has echoes of ‘Toffe Nosed’s color scheme, with a vigorous, re-blooming habit. Somewhat more tender than ‘Toffe’.
Kniphofia ‘Sailor’s Warning’ A good red, comparable to ‘Coral Glow’, but a tad darker, we think. Narrow, grassy foliage, and July bloom on 30″ stems. The name? It’s always redder in the morning. We have many Knip seedlings we’re evaluating, and hope to be able to offer some distinctive, re-blooming plants in the not-too-distant future.
Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Ed’d Red’ Persicaria amplexicaulis is a summer stalwart, and yet few selections are available in this country. Taunted from afar by all those cultivars listed in the Plantfinder, we began to try and come up with our own, domestic, alternatives. This is one. Darker than ‘Firetail’, with fatter, squatter, tapers.
Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘S’cunnet Pink’ S’cunnet is an old poeticism for Sakonnet, the south-west corner of Little Compton, where the nursery is located. This selection is a saturated pink, far deeper than the anemic ‘Rosea’, and really, really good with Eupatorium cannabinum ‘Flore Plena’.
Sanguisorba ‘Midnight’s Child’ Sanguisorba from seed are either frustratingly uniform or maddeningly elusive, and finding distinctive plants isn’t as easy as one might imagine. Still, they’re quite in vogue in the UK and on the Continent, and we’re convinced they’re plants with a bright future here. ‘Midnight’s Child’ is a seedling from Dan Hinkley’s collection DJHC142, and has the great virtue of staying as dark in flower as in bud, and its color holds for many weeks. It’s the darkest selection we’ve seen. We continue to select Sanguisorba seedlings for closer evaluation, as well as import named clones, and will continue to expand our offerings.
Thalictrum ‘Ivy Hall’ A spontaneous seedling of rochebrunianum and flavum glaucum found here a decade ago. Unlike others of this same cross (‘Elin’, ‘Anne’ ‘Tukker Princess’), ‘Ivy Hall’ is smaller and more manageable in the garden – to 4′ or so- and its foliage has a purple flush. Sterile, and slow to propagate conventionally, so very few available in any given year.