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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Recent Comments

  • Rediscovered agapanthus and a new echinacea

    Graham Rice on 24 Sep 2008 at 05:15 PM

    The good people at Camolin Potting Shed in Co. Wexford in Ireland have been scouting for good new plants again – and they’ve updated me on their latest findings.

    First of all they’ve rediscovered a lovely agapanthus in Holland. Called ‘Blue Stripe’, as you can see from the picture (click it to enlarge it) each palest blue petal has a dark blue stripe through the middle. Originally selected by plantsman Richard Fulcher and introduced in 1993 by Bicton College in Devon it’s great to have this distinctive variety back.

    They’ve also picked up ‘Virgin’, the latest echinacea from Piet Oudolf. With their double row of rays, the large white flowers are very full and their striking green cone makes them especially striking. What’s more, they’re fragrant. Reaching about 60cm, they’re short enough not to need staking but not so short that they lose their elegance.

    You can order these newcomers at the Camolin Potting Shed website.


  • New ligularias on the way

    Graham Rice on 19 Sep 2008 at 08:51 AM

    I just thought you might like to see a glimpse of these new ligularias on the way from Canada. Raised at Les Jardins Osiris in Quebec, these ligularias have been selected for their extraordinary range of foliage colours and patterns. They're unlike anything I've ever seen though I'm not sure that all those in the picture will ever be introduced,

    So far only one is available here in Britain, ‘Osiris Fantasie' (second row, far right), with two more on the way. Look out for them.

    Ligularia ‘Osiris Fantasie' is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.



  • Rare chance to see new plants at Wisley

    Graham Rice on 16 Sep 2008 at 09:26 PM

    There’s one place you can go this week to see masses of new plants. Just a short walk from the RHS garden at Wisley, in nearby Wisley village, is Deers Farm, a trials area which is not normally open to the public – but on Thursday and Friday this week it is.

    And on show there you’ll find some fascinating trials which include plenty of new varieties which will be coming into garden centres and mail order catalogues soon. There’s a hydrangea trial - I was there today and they look amazing, a real spectacle. There are abelias, invaluable summer and autumn flowering shrubs with an intriguing number of variegated varieties. Most of the honeysuckles, to be honest, are past their best but the phlox are starting to rebloom. And the berberis, coloured leaved forms of Berberis thunbergii, are looking good with their golf, bronze and variegated leaves.

    There are annuals on show too, some Clematis viticella, even pumpkins and rhubarb. But those hydrangeas… they really are impressive.

    And everything is labelled so can make a note of your favourites, check the RHS PlantFinder and see what’s available now. If your favourites are too new to be in the RHS PlantFinder, you may have to check next year’s edition.

    You can check how to get to Deer’s Farm at the entrance to Wisley garden… Or, coming from the A3, drive past the Wisley garden entrance and about half a mile farther on look for the signs on the right. The trials are open from 11am-3pm


  • The first variegated acanthus

    Graham Rice on 08 Sep 2008 at 01:00 PM

    Some gardeners like variegated plants, some hate them – and this new variegated acanthus is probably more likely to split opinion than most plants.

    Found in a garden in Tasmania, tested in Oregon and propagated by tissue culture for distribution around the world, it is available for the first time this year in Britain. It’s the first variegated form of good old, dependable bear’s britches, Acanthus mollis, that I’ve seen.

    ‘Tasmanian Angel’ has the usual bold rich green foliage but in spring each leaf emerges with a broad and irregular creamy yellow border which becomes white as the foliage enlarges and matures. Then as the mound is looking its most dramatic bold upright spikes of pale pink flowers emerge. Click on the images to see more detail.

    Less vigorous than the normal green leaved species - which is no bad thing – plants will still reach 90cm/3ft wide while those extraordinary flower spikes will stretch to 1.2-1.5m/4-5ft. A little shade will help prevent scorch.

    Acanthus mollis ‘Tasmanian Angel’ is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.