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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

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Alstroemeria ‘Mauve Majesty’

Posted by Graham Rice on 04 Sep 2009 at 07:00 PM

Alstroemeria 'Mauve Majesty' - bred at Cornell University. Image: ©Cornell UniversityMost of the altroemerias we see in gardens and as cut flowers were bred in Europe as are most of those in the current trial at Wisley. But over at Cornell University in New York, a breeding programme is developing some excellent varieties.

‘Mauve Majesty' is the first from the Cornell programme run by Dr Mark Bridgen who introduced a number of good varieties from his previous base at the University of Connecticut, including ‘Sweet Laura'.

His newcomer reaches 60-75cm/2-2.5ft tall, ideal for both the perennial border and for cutting, with a long and prolific season of vivid mauve flowers, shading to cream in the centre, and boldly streaked in crimson. Derived from the familiar favourite Alstroemeria aurea and a large-flowered purple seedling that Dr Bridgen has never introduced, to ensure that the seed germinated the embryo had to be removed in the laboratory and grown on in sterile conditions before being moved into a pot.

One other feature of Dr Bridgen's alstroemerias is that they are unusually hardy -‘Mauve Majesty' will tolerate winter temperatures down to -23C/-10F or even -29C/-20F with a deep mulch. We may never get winters that cold in Britain, but when some alstroemerias are noticeably tender it's comforting to be able to depend on this one.

You can read more about Alstroemeria 'Mauve Majesty' in the Cornell University Chronicle.

Alstroemeria ‘Mauve Majesty' is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.



Mark Bridgen said:

Thank you for highlighting one of our newest garden Alstroemeria cultivars!  I am pleased to see that it is being offered in the UK.  We have introduced several Alstroemeria over the years, but in my opinion, this cultivar is our best.  This year we are introducing Alstroemeria 'Tangerine Tango' which is also a winter-hardy, garden variety.  I hope that it reaches the UK soon too!

on 06 Sep 2009 at 11:02 AM

Graham Rice said:

Thanks Mark, I'm really looking forward to seeing how your varieties perform in the trial at the RHS garden at Wisley over the next few years.

on 17 Sep 2009 at 08:31 AM

Nerinist said:

Not all of Dr Bridgen's Alstroemerias have proved equally satisfactory in my garden ~ 'Freedom', which was widely available a couple of years ago is definitely not hardy, whereas 'Sweet Laura' does seem to be

on 16 Nov 2009 at 11:28 AM

Graham Rice said:

Thanks Nerinist, interesting. I have to say that when I  looked at Mark's varieties in the trial at Wisley they were not looking as good as some of the others. But it's only their first season and assessment hasn't even started yet.

on 16 Nov 2009 at 11:54 AM