Monday, June 22, 2015

a few winter Hibiscus

 June is still a good month to have Hibiscus coming into flower particularly if the days are sunny and there is no wind chill factor. The surprising thing is the blooms often take on richer and darker colours and they may last for several days instead of the normal one or two. Here is a small selection of flowers from the past week or so.




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crassula arborescens 'Bluebird'

Crassula arborescens 'Bluebird' (Crassulaceae)

Crassula arborescens subsp. undulatifolia

  For many years I have been successfully growing the wavy leaved form of the 'silver dollar jade' 'undulatifolia' which forms a compact neat shrub to about 60cm. I now grow the 'Bluebird' variety after seeing its used in a bold and effective way by a landscape designer.
I currently have stock in 140 mm pots.
  
'Bluebird' is a famous "el cheapo" record label from the 1930's and early 40's which featured many jazz greats including Fats Waller. Here singing about the positive aspects of winter........there has to be some.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hibiscus paramutabilis

 Hibiscus paramutabilis (Malvaceae)
Yep, it's as bright as the photo depicts, visible from a hundred metres away like a beacon. Fuchsia pink or cerise pink, hot pink take your pick.This Hibiscus is now starting to become more widely known perhaps because it is suitable for a wide range of climates owing to its frost tolerance. Deciduous in cold climates and perhaps not in mild coastal ones. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and note the grub having a chew on both the bud and open flower.
Taking the prefix para to mean allied to, this is a close relative of the other China native Hibiscus mutabilis, that old fashioned garden shrub with the big double flowers which change colour from white to pink. I think it gets called cotton rose. This one does not change colour but may do in cold climates for according to Barbara Perry Lawton in her book Hibiscus (Timber Press) the flower petals open white and darken to rose-pink during the day. It is supposed to grow to about 4 metres but I think 2 might be a more reasonable estimate. Still only available from specialist nurseries, it will no doubt become a popular garden shrub in years to come as it is continually in flower during the warmer months. 
2017 update: I can't get enough suitable wood to take cuttings. Nice flowers but not flourishing.