Four Oaks Show Exclusive Report!

from Plants Magazine, England
by Dirk van der Werff
January 27, 2002

Dirk brings this report from the 2001 Four Oaks Show in at the end of 2001 which profiles some of the new plants on the way in the UK for 2002, and of course later in 2003/2004 in Canada and the USA for many of them!
The Four Oaks trade show ( is perhaps the most important showcase in the UK for wholesale nurseries to show their new rare and unusual plants to prospective customers before appearing in garden centres and specialist plant nurseries.
PLANTS magazine ( Editor Dirk van der Werff reports on the plants that caught his eye.
phormiumgolden.jpg (10214 bytes)Liners New Zealand (Tel: +64 9 416 6981) had an excellent range of plants, particularly Phormium, and Phormium
'Golden Alison' attracted the most interest. This attractively striped cream and green plant is a new release for the UK and Europe and is named after Alison Blackman who was killed in the Cape Creek disaster in New Zealand. Astelia 'Westland' was also attracting attention.
scabiosachile.jpg (13127 bytes)Scabiosa
'Chile Black', a real 'in' plant has proved to be a real moneyspinner for specialist nurseries and garden centres in the UK this past couple of years. Proculture's (Tel: +44 (01386 832 839) new selections Scabiosa 'Chile Pepper' and S. 'Chile Sauce'.in different shades of red looked very good and feature on the front cover of their new catalogue.
Frank P Matthews (Tel: +44 (01584 810214) showed the delightfully coloured foliage of Prunus cerasifera
'Hessei' . with purple shoots, and brownish purple and white/pink variegation. This little ornamental cherry plum also features white flowers in the spring. Alongside that was a lovely looking variety of Larix kaempferi called 'Blue Rabbit'.
'Black Lace' with finely serrated black foliage is from the same breeding work that came out of the Horticultural Research International project. Their last variety was Sambucus 'Black Beauty' with pink buds and flowers, this one has white flowers as well as the lovely ornamental foliage. This was previewed for 2003 commercial release on the stand belonging to the Horticultural Development Council. Aline Fairweather's (Free Fax: +44 0800 3765463 stand boasted many good plants but I spotted the new Australian bred Gaura 'Crimson Butterflies'. This has very much impressed me this summer. Dark foliage on a plant that only reached little more than 12-15 inches tall with flowers like 'Siskiyou Pink' make this one a real winner in the UK and further afield once the number of available plants increases.
Nostell Priory Wholesale Nursery (Tel: +44 (0) 1924 862248) showed Buddleja crispa
'HUIMOON 'Moondance',. a lovely looking plant with pale pink flowers and heavily felted grey leaves, and Hibiscus syriacus purpureus 'Variegatus' with deep wine red buds and strikingly variegated foliage.
Hewton Nursery (Tel: +44 (0)1822 840460 had a number of interesting plants on offer including Schizophragma
'Moonlight' as small plants, this despite the fact that this plant was first mentioned in the earliest issues of PLANTS 5 years or so ago. They also had the newer Loropetalum chinensis 'Fire Dance' which has dark foliage and bright pink 'spider' like flowers. Fremontodendron 'Tequila Sunrise' and Phormium 'Platt's Black' had the nurserymen flocking to see them in close-up.
Bob Brown
's Just Must Perennials (Tel: +44 (0) 1386 47337) have some great plants ready for 2002 and an amazing sounding plant which has already had a preview at one of the UK summer shows. That plant is a 'black' leaved Ligularia dentata called 'Britt- Marie Crawford' which has the darkest deep glossy chocolate-maroon leaf tops with dark purple reverses, and large deep orange-yellow flowers reaching 1m tall. This is a SPECTACULAR new plant and is named after the Scottish lady Doctor who found it as a seedling and offered it to Bob Brown - her favourite nursery. Also offered from their new wholesale catalogue is Astrantia 'Celtic Star' with huge intricate white flower heads some 9cm wide. The discoverer, Jim Cave of Fir Tree Farm Nursery has also placed two new Dieramas with Just Must Perennials. Dierama 'Guinevere' has clusters of large white flowers while Dierama 'Merlin' has blackberry / purple red flowers. Thalictrum 'Elin' is a vigorous and tall variety with large purple and cream flowers that I haven't come across before, while the increasingly available Primula 'Elizabeth Killelay', a double gold laced primula is a real beauty. This one is covered by Plant Variety Rights in the US and in Europe. There was also Ajuga reptans 'Ermine' a new sport off A. 'Silver Fox'.
Seiont Nurseries (Tel: +44 (1286 672113) always have a good selection of excellent quality plants on show and among them I spotted Ajuga
'Arctic Fox' which is finally getting good distribution in the UK and also Lavandula 'Kew Red'. An unusual shrub was Melaleuca squamea (a shrub or tree of wet scrubland in Australia) and they also offered Decaisnea fargesii and the newer Geranium 'White Ness'
leycesteria.jpg (11790 bytes)Notcutts Nurseries (Tel: +44 (1394 445445) showed off their latest new varieties including gold foliaged Leycesteria
'Golden Lanterns' (NOTBRUCE), the South African sourced variegated Hemerocallis 'Golden Zebra' with yellow flowers and broadly cream striped strap leaves.
Whiterigg Alpines (Tel: +44 (0257 451021) showed a number of interesting plants. I managed to buy a single plant of Arabis
'Douler Angevine' in the Lake District area of the UK earlier this year and Whiterigg had them in wholesale numbers. Gold variegated foliage with pink flowers makes this a very interesting looking plant for most of the garden seasons. (Do you know where it comes from or its background? It sounds French). They also had plants of Origanum 'Funlover Gold' which was new to me while Thymus nitidus 'Peter Davis' looked good.
David G Ross Nursery (Tel: +44 (1663 732555) offered Choisya ternata
'Brica' which looks exactly like ŒSundance¹ and often seems to share the name 'Moonsleeper' in Europe. (If anyone knows the difference I would be happy to find out). Pennisetum 'Hameln' was new to me as was Skimmia japonica (LUWIAN) 'Wanto' which has orange red flower buds with very dark green foliage and is an extremely compact plant. It¹s sourced from Holland.
cordylinetickledpink.jpg (11783 bytes)West End Nurseries (Tel: +44 (01803 873893) had a queue of people all day looking at their young plants of Cordyline
'Tickled Pink'.a vivid pink foliage would be stunning if they keep that colour as they grow older! This company has spotted the trend for newer plants and featured the recent releases Ceratostigma 'Desert Skies' with gold foliage and sky blue flowers, the recent variegated Dutch Hebe 'Orphan Annie' and the striped foliage of Agapanthus 'Tinkerbell'.
West Kington Nurseries (Tel: +44 (001249 782822) created a stir with Lobelia
'Hadspen Purple', a stronger and more upright grower than other herbaceous varieties. Four Oaks Nurseries (Tel: +44 (01477 571392) produced a dazzling display of summer bedding and container plants which included an upright form of Scaevola and the golden foliage of Petunia 'Lemon Candy' as well as the superb UK bred Begonia richmondensis 'Pretty Flamingo'.
Andre Briant Jeunes Plants (Tel: +44 (01981 590696) had Weigela
'Brigela' (PHOTO page 173), a new variegated sport of Weigela 'Bristol Ruby' and Lonicera nitida 'Edmée Gold' a new gold leaf variety which makes a good groundcover plant. (PHOTO page 151) Coprosmas seem to be everywhere all of a sudden and they showed Coprosma 'Evening Glow'.
heucheraamber.jpg (12582 bytes)Kernock Park Plants Tel:+44 (0)1579 350561 scooped the Best Plant in Show award with Dan Heims
' Heuchera 'Amber Waves', (PHOTO Volume 6 Issue 3 page 103) and the great man was there at the show too! Plectranthus 'Sasha' was a stunning new container plant on show (PHOTO centre pages). Young Plants Limited (Tel: +44 (1789 268114) showed a new variegated, (a really lovely variegation too) Bacopa (Sutera) 'Beano' .

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