Climbers 2016

Aristolochia sempervirens has worked extremely well for us on a small piece of roughly south facing wall mixed with Hydrangea anomala ssp. glabra 'Crûg Coral'. Here it fills in the gaps, if there ever are such things, keeping the lower meter or so permanently clothed while displaying its curious yellow and brown flowers through the summer months well into winter. BSWJ13600 is raised from seed we gathered in the south of France.

We found some really interesting plants in the countryside surrounding Medellin, the old drugs capital of Colombia. Rio Nigro was particularly rich in plants that stretched my imagination, although not at an elevation that would be hardy in many cases. Not that would be of a great concern with Bomarea andreana BSWJ14310 as we plant these tuberous rooted twinning climbers under the protection of shrubs in our gardens, where they seem to thrive as long as the drainage is adequate. This collection had unusual rusty-red tubular flowers, a colour that we only saw the once.

We also came across an orange flowering species, which is supposed to be B. andreana BSWJ14376, but from a lofty 3670m at El Cocuy. We had heard of this area how beautiful it was, we certainly were not disappointed. Here it was scrambling up scrub on fairly open mountain sides.

B. hirsuta BSWJ14442 in contrast was well sheltered in the sub-Paramo forest of La Callera. This species should also have orange flowers, although we did not see any in close proximity, only the resulting large fruiting heads.

B. multiflora BSWJ14419 should have yellowish flowers, this was from a different part of El Cocuy, but from a similar altitude. This species usually has larger flowers.

Hydrangea oerstedii BSWJ10750 evokes wonderful memories of our 2004 expedition to Valle de Cocora, an area more renowned for its tall palms. Where we were billeted at an old ranch house just below the dense forest. Where our collecting was only possible on horseback, just as well as it gave us the vantage point to spot young seedlings of this otherwise hidden evergreen climber at 2640m. This species can have red flowers, although our plants have not had the space to flower as yet.

We are also releasing another collection from that same year of H. steymarkii BSWJ10501, but this time from a Costa Rican collection. We were very greatful of the help we received there on our search for Maianthemum, which is how we were given permission to make collections from the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

Passiflora manicata BSWJ14284 could well be from the same plant as we collected from in 2004, in the upper reaches of the Valle de Cocora. Where this spectacular tendrilled climber smothered some low growing shrubs in full sun. Un-missable by the bright red complex flowers with a contrasting central purple ruff adorning the bright green lobed leaves.

Our last offering from Colombia is a puzzler, as it is a new species according to a consulted Solanaceae expert. As it is a Solanum aerial rooting climbing species BSWJ14398, with bright orange fruit held close to the adhering stems. Which were relatively large and conspicuous, especially when compared to the small white flowers.

The so called climbing Dicentra Dactylicapnos ventii WJC13786 is our second collection of this bright yellow flowering species from the eastern Himalayas. It appears to be little known in cultivation despite its outstanding qualities of bearing flowers for a long period on a compact plant with elegant bronzed foliage. The inflated seed capsules are also a talking point.

Our fresh collection of Clematis montana  WJC13712 should also not to be ignored. Our previous collection had a white base colour to the flowers with a purple splash at the base of the sepals, we live in hope.

We have had to alter the name of Holboellia latifolia ssp. chartacea dark flowered HWJK2213d, on account of its deciduous habit after establishing itself in our garden. It is nothing short of remarkable and completely changes the ornamental qualities of this subspecies, as the evergreen looking leaves drop just as the whole plant is coming into flower in spring. For those that are familiar with this species it will not be much of a surprise to learn that the climber is literally smothered in flowers (on an established plant), but without being hidden by the leaves in this subspecies. The impact is similar to a good form of Wisteria.

We should not forget the hardiness either, it is a complete game changer for this species in cultivation, with the prospect of opening it out to a much wider audience. There is a pale pink flowered form too, listed as H. latifolia ssp. chartacea pale flowered HWJK2213c, enjoy.

It will be interesting to watch Schisandra grandiflora WJC13666 WJC13816 develop as our latest collections are from quite a different area from our previous. It is a variable species, which we have grown and valued for many years, with much larger flowers (the name gives that away), but is it not the only species that has highly scented flowers too?

Not forgetting S. aff. grandiflora WJC13817 this is also going to be interesting to watch, as the fruit were dark ox-blood red, so different to our previous collections, as well as yet another remote location.

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Crûg Farm Plants, Griffith's Crossing, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1TU.
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