Purple Wellies

One woman's musings of plant lust for intoxicating blooms

How Rare is Too Rare?

As a child I used to continually dream about being in the jungle, searching the undergrowth for something elusive. I've done a fair bit of travelling in my time to some pretty exotic places, but I’m not the type to go camping or backpacking - there always needed to be a certain amount of civilisation in place. Therefore I don’t think I could ever of been a plant-hunter. I think of myself more as an armchair plant-hunter.

I always keep up-to-date with new plant introductions, what nurseries stock on their lists so I can see when something new comes on the radar.

That radar was activated back in the summer when I came across a listing for Sinocalycanthus ‘White Dress’. A search on the web throws up literally zero information, although I see it is now listed on a couple of French nursery websites. There is nothing listed in the plant finder as yet. Was this a different name for an old favourite?

I already grow a number of Calycanthus / Sinocalycanthus shrubs (the naming is complex and taxonomists have frequently reclassified them, I’m sure to confuse us more than anything else or keep themselves in work). I first obtained Calycanthus × raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’ having seen it listed in an article a few years before. It competes for attention along with Calycanthus ‘Venus’, Calycanthus chinensis and Calycanthus floridus. These are my jokers in the pack. Flowering through the summer, and resembling a magnolia, they have always fooled the majority of garden visitors, but equally have always sparked interest.

I contacted the nursery in question about C. ‘White Dress’ to try and get more information, or better still a photo. That tactic drew a blank as they didn’t have any photos and couldn’t find a description. They also drew a blank on the web. Hmmm, what to do? Was I going to have to bribe the husband and kids to go on a 200 mile round trip?

Well I managed it. Not quite sure how. I’m the proud owner of a Calycanthus ‘White Dress’  and remarkably I had a flash of that ‘white dress’ as it had a flower fully open. She’s doing well and I look forward to seeing it bloom again in the summer next year. She’s definitely staying elusive as the nursery I brought her from doesn’t list it on their site anymore and there are no other listings for her in this country that I have seen so far. We’ll see if she wants to make herself known next year.

Posted: 09/12/2016 22:38:40 by Pamela Barden