Plant Profiles

Hebe Rosie

photo: Hebe Rosie

The first pink flowered hardy Hebe introduced to the European trade. Bred and selected by John Tooby in Worcestershire and named after his grand daughter. Hebe Rosie grows to 2.5-3 feet with a 3-4 foot spread after 4 years. A light trim in early spring to encourage new growth a greater flower initiation will help ensure a healthy and long lived evergreen garden plant. Rosie is extremely free flowering with deep pink flowers from late May to first frosts.

Rosie was selected from a batch of 2000 seedlings germinated by John Tooby in 1982 from crosses between Hebe Great Orm, Morning Clouds and James Platt. First introduced to the UK market in July 1991 by The Bransford Webbs Plant Company Rosie has gone on to be one of the industries real winners with in excess of 500,000 plants sold in the UK alone.

Choisya ternata Sundance 'Lich'

photo: Choisya ternata Sundance 'Lich'

This well known variety was discovered by famous nurseryman Peter Catt from Liss Forest Nursery in Hampshire.

"The origin of this very popular plant started its life when I spotted a very small leaf, low down on an old Choisya ternata from which I was taking cuttings. I took the cutting on which this small leaf was and rooted it. When it came into growth I removed the shoot from the top, which encouraged the side shoots. These I also removed. This forced a growth from the leaf that I had spotted which was about the size of my small fingernail and had a white edge. I had envisaged a white edged variegation. To my amazement out came a golden shoot and having cleaned it up in a micro-prop lab, the plant was launched at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1986."

- Peter Catt.

Sambucas Nigra Black Beauty and Black Lace

photo: Sambucas Black Lace

Two new varieties of the elderflower, Sambucas Nigra Black Beauty and Black Lace, so named for their striking black leaves and pink flowers, were developed at East Malling in a ten year selective breeding programme commissioned by Defra.

In partnership with the Horticultural Development Council, Black Beauty was made commercially available to the Horticultural Industry in 1999. Later, following an intensive media campaign, Black Lace was successfully launched at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2003 with appearances in several show gardens, many press articles and coverage on TV.

Since then both varieties have proved popular with the gardening public and sales have extended world wide. In 2006, approximately 186,000 Black Lace plants were sold, of which the UK accounted for 44% of the sales. The relatively new US market was responsible for 49%. Similarly Black Beauty sold in the region of 89,000 plants, of which the UK took 32% and the US, 51%. In both cases the European Union accounted for the remainder of the sales. In the future we hope to bring these plants to the New Zealand, Canadian and Japanese gardeners.