Monday, June 5, 2017

Anchusa caespitosa

 I never stood a chance of not growing Alpine plants, my very first book when we were first married was the Collins Guide To Alpines By Anna N Griffith from my mother in law and then my mother gave me Alpines for trouble free gardening by Alan Bloom. Anchusa caespitosa was in both books, with a coloured plate in Collins Guide to Alpines and I wanted to grow it way back then and I still have a hankering for it. Of course it is never seen on seed lists any where and it is not on the approved plant list anyway for Australia. I had better do a weed risk assessment for it.
Both of these photo's were taken in New Zealand, the top picture was in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens glass house, hence the bars, and the bottom photo was at the New Zealand Alpine Garden Soc. show held each year in September in Christchurch, an excellent show.
Walking along a back lane close to where we were staying in Christchurch, before all of their earthquakes, we came across a small plant sale with Anchusa caespitosa for sale, the lady had about 10 plants for sale at $3.50 each, a pittance for such a rare plant. I explained to her it was a very rare plant and she replied but its so easy to propagate, you just pull a clump apart and cuttings must have a heel and you let it dry out for a few days like Sedums and then you pot the cuttings up, and they nearly all grow.
The Alpine Garden Soc. Encyclopaedia of Alpines says Anchusa cespitosa syn. A. caespitosa is from the White Mountains of Crete on dry limestone slopes. The choicest alpine anchusa. Beautiful large 1.2cm wide blue forget-me-not flowers with a white eye and bristly strap-shaped deep green leaves. Introduced into cultivation in 1930s and it is still a rare plant as it is by no means easy. I guess no one has told the lady in the lane way in Christchurch. I do apologise for the quality of the pictures but they are scans form my old photo's.

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