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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

  • Colourful new fragrant antirrhinums

    Graham Rice on 20 Mar 2014 at 04:38 PM

    Antirinca Antirrhinums are both colourful and fragrant.Most gardeners enjoy antirrhinums but the familiar traditional types have been joined by a number of colourful and interesting new varieties, such as the Antirinca Series (above, click to enlarge). At once it’s clear that they’re different.

    Upright in growth and reaching about 30-40cm, the rich, dark green foliage is tightly packed on the stems and is the ideal background to show off the flowers – which are unique. We’ve seen antirrhinums with flared flowers before, but nothing as colourful and striking as these. And one thing that’s often forgotten is that bees, familiar with the traditional snapdragon flower, find it very difficult to pollinate these flared flowers and the result is that each individual flower lasts much longer before fading and so significantly extending the display.

    Each flower is in fact bicoloured, with a patch of dark contrasting colour in the throat. There are four colours in the series: Bronze Apricot (above centre, click to enlarge) has apricot-and-peach flowers with deep orange centres; Peachy has pink and pale apricot flowers; Rose (above left) has pale pink flowers with a deep pink centre; Yellow Maroon (above right) has yellow flowers with contrasting red centres. In addition to the lovely colouring they’re all scented.

    These are ideal plants for sunny containers, nip off the individual flowers as they fade and when each spike is over cut it off just above the leaves to encourage more to develop. These plants are raised from cuttings so there will be no annoying off-types.

    You can order plants of Antirrhinum ‘Antirinca’ from Dobies (order by 11 April), from Suttons (order by 11 April) and from Thompson and Morgan (order by 31 March) and you well also find them in good garden centres.
     

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  • Agastache ‘Arcado Pink’: New from Plants of Distinction

    Graham Rice on 10 Mar 2014 at 12:35 PM
    Agastache 'Arcado Pink' flowers in its first year from a spring sowing. Image ©FleuroselectIn recent years, more and more agastaches have appeared in catalogues and many of them are very good plants - but few seem have really taken off and become widely popular. Perhaps this one will prove to be the exception.

    This is a first year flowering perennial - if seed is sown early in spring it will flower from summer into autumn – and, as can be seen in the picture (above, click to enlarge), it’s extraordinarily productive. The following year it will start to come into flower earlier.

    The spikes of vivid purple-pink flowers open over a long season above fresh green aromatic foliage and are unusually attractive to butterflies, bees and many other beneficial insects. Plants reach about 2ft/60cm and branch well from the base to create a mass of flowers. They’re good for cutting, too; cut when the spikes are about half open and be sure to add flower food to the water. They should last about ten days.

    ‘Arcado Pink’ is best in full sun and in a site that where the soil is fairly well drained. Good drainage will help ensure that plants overwinter well and start into growth early to begin a long summer and autumn display. Agastache ‘Arcado Pink’ has been awarded Fleuroselect Approved Novelty Status.

    You can order seed of Agastache ‘Arcado Pink’ from Plants of Distinction.

     

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