A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Dichroa febrifuga & Friends
Monday, September 01, 2008

Today Rosemary almost turned on the furnace. She felt cold. Many of my multipetalled English Roses have buds that probably will not open if the cooler weather persists. But some of my roses surprised me, opening up and perfuming the garden as an almost last gasp before the smell of decaying falling leaves of the season that is upon us takes over.

Dichroa febrifuga is a half-hardy shrub that is related to hydrangeas. We have it in a pot under the cherry tree. We are going to take our chances this year and we are going to plant it in the ground. The blue flowers are followed by metallic blue berries. It is native to Nepal eastwards to southern China and into south-east Asia. The specific epithet febrifuga is in reference to the use of the plant as a febrifuge, acting to reduce fever.

There are two unlikely companions here made so by scanning them together. Rosa 'Ferdinand Pichard' like most roses prefers full sun while Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' grows best in partial shade. Notice the little florets of the hydrangea that resemble tea saucers. This is the only hydrangea that looks like this.

Not far from the dichroa I have a few smaller hostas. One of my favourites is Hosta kikutti var. leuconata.. The leaves are narrow and elegant and have startling white undersides. Before the flowers open the scape looks like an exotic bird. This hosta blooms late in the season and its flowers are lovely.


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