Thursday, June 3, 2010

Plectranthus "Mona Lavender"

At GRDN the other day, I asked Susanne, the owner, whether she would be getting any plectranthus in...She didn't know this one, but found it in a catalogue after I'd waxed lyrical about its virtues, and called today to tell me she had some waiting for me.

The plectranthus genus is native to South Africa, and the Mona Lavender cultivar was born at Kirstenbosch, the national botanical garden in Cape Town.

My mother's garden is home to several native species, from groundcovers to massive shrubs, all happy in shade and dappled shade, making their late summer flowers at the same time as the autumn anemones (like mine, below) when most others have given up.

Here we plant it as an annual. It grows tall, about eighteen inches plus, and puts out gorgeous lavender flower spikes, conspicuous against dark leaves, in late summer, lasting for weeks and weeks, if not months. They last well indoors, too, as cut flowers, and are an imposing alternative to impatiens impatiens impatiens, when shade intimidates us and makes us run for what we know. Pink pink pink white pink.

I haven't grown it for two years (as evidenced by these photos: 2008, pre-all-red-terrace) - couldn't find it last year - and will have to find some space. I think the terrace's denizens may have to expand to the building's stoop; rotate some things out there every now and then. I'm stuck with the lilies, which are now 6' plus, and can't be moved, the hosta is taking over the world, and I'm beginning to look at the Japanese forest grass with a jaundiced eye.

I could have worse problems.
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