Sunday, August 11, 2013

An annoying plant!

A year or so back, Digitalis 'Illumination' was introduced with a fair share of horticultural razzle dazzle. Hailed as a great new perennial, it won the RHS Plant of the Year Award at the Chelsea Flower Show 2012. I have to say I fell in love with it immediately. I do like foxgloves and this one was truly classy with bold flower spikes and a luminous colour! It was created by Charles Valin, plant breeder at Thompson and Morgan. He crossed together the familiar biennial foxglove,  with a shrubby relative from the Canaries, Isoplexis canariensis, although this has since been reclassified as Digitalis canariensis, so maybe its not quite so surprising. It is said to be hardy and perennial, with a long flowering season.

The original show plant 2012

Back earlier this spring I was delighted to find plants of 'Illumination Raspberry', one of the three in this series, in our local garden centre. Since then it has been growing in a large pot in my tiny garden. Its very lush, has masses of healthy green leaves, drinks gallons of water but as yet shows no sign of flowering. I wonder if other gardeners have been more successful than me or is this another victim of the rush to micro-propagate new plants and flood the greedy plant market? I've yet to see any flowering in gardens as the impressive perennials they are claimed to be! Maybe I'm as gullible as anyone.

My plant 2013 - not a flower in sight!