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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

Three new heleniums: to be unveiled at the National Collection

Posted by Graham Rice on 11 Aug 2010 at 12:40 PM

Helenium,Gelbe Waltraut,Hartmut Rieger,NCCPG,National Collection,Special perennials. Image: © Hartmut Rieger. All Rights Reserved.Three new heleniums will be unveiled this weekend when the Plant Heritage National Collection holds its annual open days at Special Perennials near Crewe. Two of the newcomers were raised in Germany and one in Cheshire, in their various ways all three represent significant steps forward.

National Collection holder Martin Blow told me about them.

“The first, ‘Gelbe Waltraut’ (top, click to enlarge), is a seedling from the old favourite ‘Waltraut’,” he explained, “and is a beautiful clear, pure yellow with a high quality flower with a solid circular outline. Gelbe is German for yellow. Flowering from late June into the autumn it only reaches about 2-21/2ft/60-75cm tall. The flowers are numerous and create a dome of colour above the leaves. The cone is light tan in colour and complements the petals admirably. It was raised by Hartmut Rieger at his wonderful collection of Heleniums in Germany.

Helenium,Oldenburg,Hartmut Rieger,NCCPG,National Collection,Special perennials. Image: © Hartmut Rieger. All Rights Reserved.“Also from Hartmut Rieger is ‘Oldenburg’ (right, click to enlarge), which arose as a chance seedling in his garden. It is unique in its pale orange colouration with deeper orange backs to the petals. The petals are curled at the edges giving a bicolor effect. About 5-6ft/1.5-1.8m tall, it makes a welcome addition to the back of the border flowering from early August through September.

"The last of the three is ‘Blanche Royale’, raised by Ray Clarke from Macclesfield in Cheshire who has also raised many Hemerocallis. ‘Blanche Royale’ (left, click to enlarge) is the result of deliberate crosses using many of the best varieties around at the Helenium,Blanche Royale,NCCPG,National Collection,Special perennials. Image: © SpecialPerennials.com. All Rights Reserved.moment. The plants are about 21/2-3ft/75-90cm tall and develop a mass of blooming stems - the plant was selected for its flower power. The petals have a deep yellow ground with streaks of warm rich red radiating from the brown cones. Flowering starts in mid July and continues through September.”

With their wonderful colouring and, in two cases, their relatively dwarf and manageable habit they all look very tempting.

All three will be unveiled to visitors to The National Collection of Helenium Cultivars at Special Perennials at Hankelow in Cheshire this coming weekend (14 & 15 August, 12-5pm) when orders can be placed for delivery next spring. Check the Special Perennials website for details and directions.

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