It’s crocosmia season and in gardens, around the shows, in garden centres and at many nurseries crocosmias are opening their fiery sprays. Gardeners with a taste for pastels are sometimes wary of their flaming colours but they make fine garden plants and excellent cut flowers. And there are quite few newcomers this year.
From the breeding work of David Tristram comes Bright Eyes (‘Walbreyes’) in bright yellowish-orange with a rich red eye; a great combination. And it’s sterile so flowers prolifically and throws no inferior self sown seedlings. Look out for it in RHS plant centres.
‘African Gold’ has large, outward facing, golden yellow flowers while ‘Cylvia’ is bright orange with a paler streak through each lobe and a yellow throat, its colouring is noticeably subtle.
From plant breeder Ken Ridgely comes the lovely 'Golden Ballerina' with large elegant, downward-facing, bright orange flowers with slender petals held on 90cm arching stems. ‘Hellfire’ is similar to the well known ‘Lucifer’ but with larger, darker flowers with no yellow parts in the flower to detract from the rich colouring. And the flower stems are stylishly mahogany brown.
The unusually vigorous ‘Paul’s Best Yellow’ has huge, outward facing, rather flat, golden flowers which are strikingly pure in colour and show themselves off well. ‘Salsa’ has orange flowers, upward facing with a striking red ring around the yellow throat.
There are seventeen new crocosmias out this year, and look out for two more which are on the way from Trecanna Nursery. ‘Tamar Glow’ is like a large-flowered form of the familiar montbretia with unusually early orange-red flowers above pleated leaves. ‘Zeal Remembrance’ was raised by the late Terry Jones, all of whose introductions feature the Zeal prefix, and is a very large flowered, early orange.
The big news – though not everyone thinks it’s good news, I have to say – is that there’s a double-flowered red crocosmia on the way. But it’s not out yet.
Here’s the full list crocosmias added to this year's RHS Plant Finder, check there for the sources of each.
Crocosmia Bright Eyes ('Walbreyes')
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'African Gold'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Heligan'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Moses'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Severn Seas'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora Wasdale strain
Crocosmia 'Golden Ballerina'
Crocosmia masoniorum Holehird strain
Crocosmia masoniorum Slieve Donard selection
Crocosmia 'Moorland Blaze'
Crocosmia 'Orange River'
Crocosmia 'Paul's Best Yellow'