Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 23 September 2016

Unusual Front Gardens #24: Keep it simple


I don't usually go for coleus, but these three simple pots round the corner catch my eye every time I go past them.

They're placed below a window at the end of a drab drive, with colours that blend with each other well and also complement the brickwork of the house. This photo was taken on a dreary day and their fieriness helps to lift the gloom.

I think they're fabulous, how about you?



Latin without tears


Coleus is another plant which has undergone a name change recently, though like aster it remains as the common name and is considered to be a synonym of the genus Plectranthus

Most of the coleus we grow as ornamental plants are classified as Plectranthus scutellarioides. I haven't found the meaning of Plectranthus yet, and scutellarioides means it resembles the genus Scutellaria. This genus name is derived from the Latin scutella, which means a small dish or bowl and describes the appearance of the fruit's calyx.

Update September 24th: Diana left a comment which illustrates the joy of blogging. She's found the meaning of Plectranthus for me:

Plectron = spur and anthos = flower. From: Plantzafrica website
The website adds the words plectron and anthos are Greek in origin.

14 comments:

  1. Stunning, I could almost start liking Coleus having seen that photo!

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    1. Hello, welcome to Veg Plotting. Coleus were in the 'not to be touched with a bargepole' category until I saw these. Shows we must never say never ;)

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  2. I like coleus and think that these look rather good, I especially like the middle colour. Flighty xx

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    1. Flighty - I've been thinking about how those pots would look if they had the same plant in each of them. I don't think it'd look quite as good as that threesome does now.

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  3. Plectron = spur and anthos = flower.
    from http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/plectranambig.htm

    I find it hard to see those vivid leaves as related to Plectranthus TIL.

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    1. Fantastic - thanks for the extra information Diana. I'll update my post with a link to you :)

      I think you saw Anna's (Greentapestry) example the other day? If you compared the leaves of these with the one she posted about, then the similarities begin to show. I've a couple of other Plectranthus waiting in the wings to show you in a future post. As ever, we're in the hands of the DNA specialists re plant classification these days.

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    2. PS I am the proud owner of a brand new RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Plants, 4th edition just out. It confirms coleus is now classified as Plectranthus. I'm glad I have it, as the online information I consulted for this post is contradictory!

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    3. I have a future post on the Chelsea Physic Garden - where they nicely explain GRRRumble they've renamed that!

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    4. OK http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/125/#b
      Aromatic leaves, spikes of flowers, mint family.

      I only know of 2 South African species with variegated leaves, both in my garden.
      The tropical exuberance of coleus colours comes from SE Asia.

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    5. Lots of plants seem to have had a name makeover recently. I'm finding it hard to keep up Diana! BTW Dave Garden's post is one of the articles I'm referring to when I said the online information is contradictory. When I look up coleus or Solenostemon scutellarioides in my RHS Encyclopedia, both refer onwards to the entry under Plectranthus. As this was only published a couple of weeks ago, I'm taking it as the most up to date position I can find on the right name. NB Missouri Botanical Garden also confirms this: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a547.

      This plant has been extensively hybridized into a myriad of cultivars, where explosions of colour and variegated leaf forms are actively looked for. The result of that work is what I'm seeing round the corner, whereas I think you're looking at native species in your garden?

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  4. I grew coleus for the first time in ages this year and used it in tubs with other plants. Thet were effective and I will grow them again next year.

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    1. I'm changing my mind about them Sue, based on this example. They may be tender for our climate (but can be overwintered indoors if you have the space, which I don't), but they last for ages.

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