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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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Digitalis ‘Goldcrest’: New foxglove hybrid

Posted by Graham Rice on 23 Aug 2010 at 01:34 PM

Digitalis,obscura,grandiflora,Goldcrest. Image: ©FarplantsAt the end of last year, on New Year’s Eve in fact, I highlighted some perennials to watch for this year, some exciting newcomers to look out for in nurseries and garden centres in 2010. So, have they arrived, are they available yet? Over the next few weeks – interspersed with news of other new plants - I’ll be bringing you news of two that have certainly arrived, and two still mysteriously missing from our nurseries.

Let’s start with the digitalis with Digitalis ‘Goldcrest' (left and below, click to enlarge), created by David Tristram, one of our most thoughtful plant breeders. He also developed the breakthrough Helleborus Walberton’s Rosemary (‘Walhero’) that was so impressive just inside the main gate at Wisley back in the winter and spring.

‘Goldcrest' is the first hybrid between the relatively uncommon Digitalis obscura, with rusty or sometimes pink-tinted yellow flowers, and the more familiar primrose yellow flowered D. grandiflora. Digitalis obscura brings its rusty colouring to ‘Goldcrest’, but it’s a Mediterranean plant, from Spain, and Digitalis,obscura,grandiflora,Goldcrest. Image: ©Farplantsappreciates sunny summers, warm winters and good drainage. By contrast, the larger flowered D. grandiflora grows in eastern Europe, and is more adaptable and much hardier.

In combining qualities from both parents, ‘Goldcrest’ has large honeyed gold coloured flowers on self-supporting upright stems, each flower speckled on the inside and with hints of red on the outside. It’s also sterile, and in never producing any seeds the plant responds with an unusually prolific display. Ideal in a large container where you can appreciate the intriguing colouring, it’s also big and bold enough for a sunny border.

Digitalis ‘Goldcrest' is available from these RHS PlantFinder nurseries and in a few good garden centres around the country.

Still not in nurseries: Leucanthemum ‘Banana Cream’ (left, click to enlarge) Leucanthemum,Shatsa daisy,Banana Cream,Walters. Image: ©Perennial Resource/Walters Gardens. All Rights Reserved.This yellow form of the familiar Shasta daisy is short and self-supporting, but not too dumpy, branches well and has rich yellow flowers that fade to pale yellow. I assure you it’s superb. But, as far as I can tell, there’s still no nursery is listing it. An opportunity for an enterprising nursery.


asj said:

Very dull colouring - don't like this one.

on 27 Aug 2010 at 05:05 PM

Graham Rice said:

Sorry you don't like it, asj, I wonder if you'll change your mind when you see it real life...

on 05 Sep 2010 at 03:03 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

I like it - imagine it growing next to something with dark purple foliage. The contrast would be quite lovely.

on 07 Sep 2010 at 09:05 AM

Graham Rice said:

That's a great idea, Miranda. Perhaps in front of Physocarpus 'Diable D'Or'which has purple foliage but amber shoot tips which would match up the colouring of 'Goldcrest'.

on 08 Sep 2010 at 04:16 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

That's just the plant I was thinking of, Graham, but I couldn't bring the name to mind at the time. I shall look out for this Digitalis 'Goldcrest'.

on 08 Sep 2010 at 05:35 PM