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Family - relatives that surprise.

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From a young age I have expanded my botanical interest from the local wild flowers where I grew up to the plants now in the garden. Some family likenesses can’t be avoided; the Geraniums, Pelargoniums and Erodiums for example, clearly belong in the same family: the Geraniaceae.

Geranium, flower of Purple Haze seedling

Erodium Eishop’s form

But others can come as a surprise, for instance, on my trip to Harlow Carr in September, labels showed that Rhododendrons are in the Ericaceae family; as my daughter would say ‘Who knew?’ Well I didn’t but thinking about the flower form I can see why it is.

This brings me on to a plant I purchased 8/9 years ago from a plant fair in Caerleon, South Wales. I was visiting the eldest girl at university and I went along not expecting to buy anything as it was an Aalpine show. But wandering around there were several stalls selling other choice plants and well it would have been rude not to buy! I made a couple of bad choices, not hardy plants for East Yorks as it turned out, but assured by growers from Cornwall they were tough as old boots I went ahead. They were Irises and didn’t come through the following winter.

At one stall, just generally chatting about the amount of shade and the fact I wanted something different the stall holder offered me a pot with a dark green knobbly bulge emerging from the soil. I can’t remember his exact words but his patter went along the lines of “Now this is an interesting and unusual plant. From China, wood-lander, would do well in partial shade, not fussy”. I had to take his word that it had blue flowers in midsummer and it was only £5.00. I had already spent that and more on the ill-fated iris. But I do like the unusual too, so in for a penny….

It was duly planted in a shady border with ferns and hostas for company and really just forgotten about. For several years I found emerging leaves in March, strongly serrated and a nice shape that filled a space in a border; but no flowers. Then a couple of years ago I lost the label. Both Last year and this, it has flowered, – just a couple of waxy flowers in a pale lilac/blue about the size of a 10p piece. I just had to find out its name so I went through my little red book [where I usually record what I have bought and spent] and I found it.

Deinanthe caerulea.

The RHS describe it as being clump forming, deciduous, rhizomatous, from woodlands in China. It puts it into the family Hydrangeaceae. ‘Well who knew?”. Looking at the flowers I can see the resemblance to the fertile flowers of the hydrangea. As for the leaves, yes indeed they are similar, being 3 to 4 inches in length, deep green, roughly textured, deep veined, cordate at their bases and with serrate margins.

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Comments

 

very interesting, a really good read.

1 Nov, 2020

 

Interesting and informative blog SBG. We learn something new every day. Thanks for posting.
Lovely little wood-lander.

1 Nov, 2020

 

Looks lovely seaburngirl , nice foliage and the flower is one of those that looks better when it’s lifted up, possibly given time it may produce a few more flowers which amongst that foliage would be even more eye catching,thanks for sharing.

1 Nov, 2020

 

I bet you never find another garden with one of those! So glad you found out the name eventually. How very organised of you to keep a record of what, when and how much!

1 Nov, 2020

 

What a great purchase that turned out to be, lucky you taking a chance on the unknown. Your 500 pence is worth ££s.

1 Nov, 2020

 

Thank you for your kind comments glad you enjoyed it. I am hoping to get seed from it one day. nothing this year though.

one of my HPS group hopes I will be able to split it soon as he would like it in his woodland garden.

1 Nov, 2020

 

Interesting blog, Eileen, and what a pretty flower too - especially the close up pic. I can see what you mean about the likeness to hydrangea.
I’m pleased you managed to find the plant label.

1 Nov, 2020

 

That's a little beauty Sbg.

2 Nov, 2020

 

I enjoyed reading your blog Seaburn and pleased you have flowers at last on your "not so new plant! " It just goes to show that all good things come to those that wait!

3 Nov, 2020

 

I did think of hoicking it out but the threat must have made it flower. pity a few other plants don't take heed.

I hope it will be better next year.

3 Nov, 2020

 

A very entertaining blog, SBG! Like others I find it fascinating the links between different plant families! I have often be able to see the rose family likeness in many plants you would think at first belonged there!

Glad for you that your "mystery" plant has at last bloomed for you & I hope it does much better next year as well!

3 Nov, 2020

 

Interesting blog & plant Sbg, glad it has flowered at last, it has a pretty colour & shape.

4 Nov, 2020

 

Interesting read Seaburn and your plant was well worth the cost even with waiting a long time for it to produce a flower.
I like to research my plants and admit it surprises me all the time how many come from the same family, very often ones that one would never believe are related at all....

4 Nov, 2020

 

The Erodium looks like stained glass. What a colorful garden you have Eileen, especially for this time of year.

5 Nov, 2020

 

Some families are clear aren't they and others as I find not so.

I usually have something in flower every week of the year and I am getting more and more plants that serve the wildlife too. I am slowly getting rid of the blousy doubles that don't offer anything for the wildlife in favour of the singles and those that produce viable seed for the birds.

5 Nov, 2020

 

I have also done the same and its definitely made a huge difference, I changed my dahlia's to the cactus variety, bees love them, I keep deadheading and they keep coming so I'm pleased with them also, planted more lavender amongst my roses, I don't cut back until springtime either so providing places for the little critters to overwinter...

5 Nov, 2020

 

Fascinating blog, SBG. I wish I had more shade. Your deinanthe is interesting and a colour to covet. I'm like some of the others and have discarded lots of the doubles , especially the cabbagey roses. No great loss!

5 Nov, 2020

 

I get it. I'm also switching over to native plants and plants that serve wildlife because I don't have to fiddle around with them. That still leaves a lot to choose from.

5 Nov, 2020

 

Interesting blog Eileen. I've always found botany fascinating and one of the things I enjoyed most in my school days was the classification of plants.
I enjoyed seeing your Deinanthe caerulea and can see why it's in the Hydrangea family.
It's easy to see with most plants but one of the biggest surprises I had was when I found out that the Sanguisorba belongs to the Rosaceae family.

5 Nov, 2020

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