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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

  • ‘Gold Dust’ rosemary: New from Norfolk Herbs

    Graham Rice on 20 Dec 2013 at 01:33 PM
    'Gold Dust' rosemary - a new vigorous variegated form. Image ©Kernock Park PlantsA number of variegated forms of rosemary have appeared on the market in recent years, but none seem to have caught our imagination or proved especially fine garden plants. Perhaps 'Gold Dust' will be different. It certainly has some valuable features.

    Firstly, each narrow leaf is larger than the leaves of most varieties of rosemary, thicker too and with a noticeably heavier texture. Each leaf has a bold green stripe along the centre and is edged in rich yellow-gold creating a sparkling feature.

    Individual plants are unexpectedly vigorous – variegated shrubs are usually weaker than green-leaved types - upright in habit, densely branched and plants should mature to about 1m high and 90cm wide. The fragrance of the leaves is said to be unusually strong and the deep blue flowers are unusually large.

    ‘Gold Dust’ is derived from the rarely seen variety ‘Rex’, and was spotted by Stephen and Julie Head on their nursery, Fragroplants, in British Columbia in 2004. ‘Rex’ is noted for its, vigour and its bold upright look.

    Like other varieties of rosemary ‘Gold Dust’ appreciates plenty of sun and a rich but well-drained soil; it makes a substantial and upright plant, so siting out of strong winds is probably wise.

    You can order plants of Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Gold Dust’ from Norfolk Herbs

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  • Carrot ‘Dara’: Lovely new cut flower

    Graham Rice on 09 Dec 2013 at 09:23 AM
    New coloured carrot for cutting. Image ©FloragranWe’ve all become accustomed to seeing carrots in unusual colours – purple, yellow, white – we see them in the supermarket. But what about carrot flowers in unusual colours, for cutting?

    More and more florists are using flowers of wild carrot, I’ve seen slightly pink-tinted wild carrot flowers growing by the roadside, and I came across seed of a very pale pink-flowered form a few years back. ‘Dara’ is altogether more dramatic – with pink flowers maturing to crimson purple.

    But why would I want to grow a carrot with purple flowers in the first place? Cut flower growers have been increasingly growing wild carrots for cutting as the white flowers, although similar to the popular Ammi majus, are much longer lasting. ‘Dara’ is different; the flower heads of ‘Dara’ open white, then become pink and finally mature to dark reddish purple. The individual plants vary a little in colour, but all move through this same progression of colour and should reach 60-120cm in height.

    It’s recommended that seed is sown in spring to cut the flowers in summer – but in North America carrot for cut flower is treated as a biennial and I suspect it would also be worth sowing seed here in Britain in late summer to flower the following year. Cut the stems when about three quarters of the individual florets are open.

    They should also look lovely amongst roses, and can be allowed to self sow.

    You can buy seed of Daucus carota ‘Dara’ from Plants of Distinction.
     

     

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