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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

Coreopsis ‘Redshift’: New for 2010

Posted by Graham Rice on 10 Jun 2010 at 12:29 PM

Coreopsis, Redshift,Big Bang,Darrell Probst. Image: ©Walters GardensThere’s been quite a flurry of new coreopsis appearing in nurseries and mail order catalogues recently. Some, like the Coloropsis Series and Punch Series, are intended for summer containers and are not hardy. But others like the Big Bang series are tough as anything – as tough as our old friend C. verticillata. And they come in some exciting new colours. Latest on the scene in the Big Bang series is ‘Redshift’.

The Big Bang series was developed over many years by intercrossing a range of species collected in the wild in the southern USA by plantsman and breeder Darrell Probst (better known, up to now, for his work on epimediums). Back in Massachusetts in the north east, where it’s a lot colder than here, he worked on bringing exciting new colours to hardy coreopsis. The plants in the Big Bang Series can take temperatures down to -20C/-5F. Yes, they’re tough. The cool yellow ‘Full Moon’ was the first, ‘Redshift’ is the next.

When they first open in summer the flowers of ‘Redshift’ are creamy yellow with a bold deep red zone around the eye. Then, as autumn approaches and temperatures begin to cool down, the red colouring seeps along the length of the petals until the whole flower is deep red. It’s like having two different varieties growing together. The flowers are about 5cm/2in across (not 4in/10cm as one catalogue states!), and the plants reaches 60-75cm/24-30in in height.

All the varieties in the Big bang Series have cosmological names. First there was ‘Full Moon; ‘Redshift’ (not ‘Red Shift’) is named for the optical effect caused by the expansion of the universe which makes distant objects take on a red colouring. Others on the way include ‘Galaxy’, ‘Cosmic Eye’, ‘Half Moon’, ‘Star Cluster’ and ‘Venus’.

You can order plants of Coreopsis ‘Redshift’ from Hayloft Plants and also from Dove Cottage Nursery.

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