In the end, I decided to continue my look at the plants new in the latest RHS Plant Finder which are listed by the most nurseries with just one more: Filipendula 'Red Umbrellas'. Top of the list was Actaea pachypoda ‘Misty Blue’, next came Geranium ‘Midnight Clouds’, then Erodium ‘Freedom’, then came Chasmanthium latifolium ‘River Mist’ and then Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus Superior'.
This is an impressive and very hardy perennial which combines attractive foliage (left, click to enlarge) with colourful heads of flowers.
Both new and mature growth is boldly veined in red, sometimes more fully than seen in the picture. The colour stands out brightly against the paler younger growth then, as the leaves mature and develop, both colours darken to give a deep red pattern on dark green leaves. In summer the flowers emerge, flattish rose pink heads bringing a whole new season of colour (below, click to enlarge).
Here I should say that I have revised this blog post and changed it from when I first posted it. Soon after I originally posted this piece I received an email from Norwegian plantsman and nurseryman Bjørnar Olsen who gave me the full story about this plant. This is the great thing about blogging. If you get it wrong, or don’t tell the full story, someone will put you right. Thanks Bjørnar.
It was not, he tells me, “developed in Holland” as I first thought. This plant has been passed around and sold from Norwegian and Swedish nurseries for years,” he told me, “most commonly under the erroneous name "Filipendula palmata 'Nana'", although I'm almost positive it's pure F. multijuga. No one seems to know where it originated, but my own guess would be that it's something brought back by a Scandinavian botanical garden from a collection trip to Japan, there were several during the second half of the last century.”
He also tells me that it's happy in shade, even in southern Norway where the sun is less powerful than farther south, and that it's also relatively drought resistant. Expect it to reach about 16in/40cm in height. And it looks to me like a great plant.
You can order Filipendula 'Red Umbrellas' from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries.
Thank you for images to:
Foliage: Plant Delights Nursery
Flowers: Bjørnar Olsen