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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

Recent Comments

  • Scabious ‘Little Cracker’: New from Binny Plants

    Graham Rice on 25 Nov 2013 at 03:45 PM

    ScabiousScabious are well known as long flowering perennials, and for being fine valuable not only for their flowers but for the fact that they attract so many bees and butterflies. Until recently, those with cream flowers have tended to be much taller than those in the many other colours which have come on the market in recent years but now there’s a variety which is small enough for containers.

    ‘Little Cracker’ has flowers in the familiar scabious style but opening to white from cream buds. The first blooms appear in June and keep coming until the frosts and although the plants are a little taller than some other recent introductions, at 50cm they are small enough for containers and large enough to make an impact in the border.

    Developed by British plant breeder Peter Moore, better known for his shrubs which include Choisya ‘White Dazzler’, ‘Little Cracker’ enjoys full sun and a well-drained soil. It’s especially happy on the kind of chalky soil that so many perennials find hard to take. Stems can be cut for the house, cut them just as the first florets in the flower head are opening; the stems may need re-cutting after a few days to keep the flowers fresh. Regular dead-heading, or cutting, will increase the flower power of flowers on the plant all through summer.

    In containers, partner ‘Little Cracker’ with other flowers in pastel shades and with contrasting foliage of coleus or begonias in rich reds.

    You can order plants of Scabiosa ‘Little Cracker’ from Binny Plants.



  • Choisya ‘Royal Lace’: New for containers

    Graham Rice on 11 Nov 2013 at 01:10 PM

    Choisya 'Royal Lace': New for containers. Image ©ProvarSince the arrival on the scene of Choisya ternata Sundance (‘Lich’) back in the 1980s, there’s been a steady succession of new choisyas. In June 2009 I brought you news of White Dazzler (‘Londaz'), then in April last year there was Choisya ‘Aztec Gold’. Now, there’s another, ‘Royal Lace’ - and we’ve gone from two varieties to eleven different choisyas in just a few years.

    Basically, the development of new choisyas has sprung from the popularity of the old ones. And, as a result of the fact that they’re especially popular in Britain, where the climate suits them very well, all the new introductions from Sundance until now have been developed in Britain – in fact most have been developed by just two plant breeders.

    This latest, ‘Royal Lace’, was developed by Peter Moore, former propagator at the well known shrub specialist Hillier Nursery and now at Longstock Park Nursery in Hampshire.

    The features that set ‘Royal Lace’ apart are its uniquely neat and compact growth, it reaches only 75cm, combined with its slender golden evergreen foliage and its mass of fragrant white flowers in late spring. It’s similar to ‘Aztec Gold’, but noticeably more dense and compact and so ideal in a container – it would look especially good in a modern garden setting in a blue glazed pot.

    ‘Royal Lace’ enjoys any reasonable soil, plenty of sun but should not be allowed to dry out, especially in a container.

    You can order plants of Choisya ‘Royal Lace’ from these RHS Plant Finder Nurseries.