I promised not to keep you waiting for the name of the two plants that have been wowing me this winter.
I am surprised none of you guessed as I’ve mentioned the plants over the last couple of months. Maybe you thought I was implying a shrub, well sadly there isn’t a shrub that flowers all winter here, I really wish there was. Yes Rosa mutabilis flowers into December and this year actually managed blooms in January but it doesn’t flower in the bleak months of January and February, the months when I want some colour to cheer me.
So first is Iris unguicularis, I wrote about it as a plant of the moment on November 26th, not expecting that it would flower almost continuously until now March 7th. There was only a two week period when there were no flowers; my clump is quite new (three years old) and already it has sent out a new clump about 30cm from the original plant. This is the first year that it has flowered so much, I knew it would take a while to establish but it has certainly been worth waiting for, a delicate colour but not a delicate plant it has stood through strong winds and 6 weeks of sub-zero night-time temperatures, but it began flowering before any cold weather had arrived so it isn’t dependant on the cold to start it flowering.
I am sure the Iris will continue to spread and flower even more profusely in years to come, I intend leaving the main plant where it is (I couldn’t bear to not have the flowers next year, but I will move the off-shoot and hope to have a few clumps in strategic places in the future.
I hope with my second revelation that I’m not jumping the gun. I planted Anemone Sylphide for the first time last autumn (at £2.00 for 25 corms from Peter Nyssen not an expensive experiment).
I didn’t soak them before planting although I did soak a different variety that I planted a bit later under the Mulberry; it did rain very heavily soon after planting them so I think I was probably lucky. The growth appeared after about a month and I was surprised and a little worried that it should appear so early. I showed the first bud about to open in January’s GBBD and that first flower lasted more than a month! I call that pretty amazing. Other buds appeared and the group still has lots of new buds waiting to open, I’ll report when the last bloom fades. For something that gives such impact through these dull months I think it must be hard to beat. At the price I paid I would even be willing to consider them an annual. I will plant more next autumn and I’m looking forward to knowing whether they will return for a second and hopefully more years.