Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sinocalycanthus saga

A few weeks ago, I wrote about various plants I hoped to acquire for my front garden this year. One kind reader emailed me to say that he worked in a garden centre and they stocked two of the plants I was wanting to acquire. One of these was X Sinocalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'. The price was a rather hefty £16.99 for a slender plant in a 3 litre pot but I couldn't resist the temptation and bought it. As the new location wasn't yet ready, it was put with a number of other plants in a sheltered corner of my garden awaiting planting. To my annoyance it died before even being planted! I phoned the garden centre, to complain about the loss, gently pointing out that I wrote a blog read by hundreds of gardeners - no pressure! Not surprisingly, they agreed to a credit, explaining that they didn't have healthy replacement plants. When I called in to carry out the transaction, the guy who originally contacted me was there and generously gave me both a refund and another plant, which although very frail is still alive. (Thanks Paul!) I have no idea whether I will manage to nurse it into vigorous growth.

My freebie!

Coincidentally, during my rather wet visit to Felley Priory on Sunday for the plant fair, I noticed a well-established plant of this in full bloom in the gardens, so when the sun briefly shone yesterday I drove back to take some photographs. This plant is a hybrid between Sinocalycanthus chinensis which itself was only discovered in China in 1963, crossed with Calycanthus floridus. It was raised in the JK Raulston Arboretum in North Carolina and you can read the full information about its origins in this link to Dave's Garden. Common names by the way include Chinese wax shrub and Raulston allspice.

X Sinocalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine' - said to be 10 years old
A closer view of the flowers

Whilst at the garden, I took the opportunity to take a few more photographs while the sun briefly shone, although I did have to shelter from a brief shower for a few minutes under a yew tree - weather!

Paeonia 'Souvenir de Maxine Cornu' - a spectacular tree peony

A corner of the white garden

Euphorbia myrsinites - such a useful plant

Paeonia officinalis 'Anemoniflora Rosea'

Rosa banksia 'Lutea' - always amazes me that this grows just as succesfully in the heat of California - just don't prune it as it flowers on old wood.

Smilacina racemosa - a new plant to me. taking photographs is good as it makes me look up plants that I otherwise wouldn't have bothered with.
And to end with some colour - a vibrant  oriental poppy - anyone know the cultivar name?


  1. Shame about the demise of the original plant but at least you got a replacement and credit back. It is a gorgeous plant, it received lots of press via Hilliers at Chelsea a year or so ago. The name is equally fascinating as it's a mouthful to say (which I proudly say I have mastered!).

  2. Smilacina racemosa might be easier to look up as Maianthemum racemosum. Did you sniff it? It has the scent of old fashioned roses and on a still day can fill quite a large area with it. This year you would have needed to get your nose right into the clump though!


  3. Whilst we are on names, hasn’t the Chinese Sinocalycanthus been merged into Calycanthus? That would make the hybrid simply Calycanthus x raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine'. Easier to pronounce, but a loss to those who have already mastered the pronunciation of the ‘old’ name!

    Do you know if the hybrid brings with it the scent of the C.floridus parent?


  4. Didn't notice a scent on either of those. With a common name of allspice for the Sinocalycanthus one would expect a whiff of something! Chad - thanks again for the comments on names changes - just can't keep up with all these!

  5. I think the poppy is Turkenlos