Many thanks to GardenDrum, which inadvertently answered a lurking plant identification problem I had.
It’s curious, in this day and age of information accessibility, how hard it can be to identify unknown plants. If you don’t have someone to ask, there’s nowhere else to turn. One day we’ll have the horticultural equivalent of Shazam (where your phone can listen to, and identify a song), but meanwhile….
Anyhow, the question arose at Chelsea when I spotted – from a distance, as it was the most conspicuous plant for miles – this foxglove.
The designer of the garden just called it Digitalis ‘Apricot’. He told me that the plants he’d had contract grown for his garden had failed to flower, so he’d had to fly these in the day before the Chelsea opening – from Spain, if I remember rightly.
The name he gave it seemed unlikely. The foliage looked so much more leathery than most of the foxgloves I’ve known and grown, and the colour was so complex that it suggested hybrid origin.
Then GardenDrum posted a piece in its excellent ‘News’ section (excellent, given the number of times I’ve seen stuff there that I can’t imagine accessing in any other way) on the sellout through the UK and the USA of the recently released Digiplexis. Despite the different colouring (check out the other colours here), this was clearly my plant, whose full name is Digiplexis Illumination Apricot.
It turns out that it is a hybrid, between the biennial Digitalis and the shrubby (but unfortunately frost-tender) Isoplexis. The moment you hear that, it makes sense. Everything about it is intermediate, from colouring through to flower form.
Can’t wait for it to get here, though it’ll be yet another plant I’ll have to overwinter indoors.
The other curious thing, while I’m revisiting Chelsea, is that this caramel/biscuit/rust colouring was surprisingly evident in several gardens, and in several different plants, from Verbascums (below – in which this colour has appeared for several years), to Geums (which were perhaps more apricotty) to the new Digiplexis.
I confess I’m a complete sucker for the colour. I just can’t get enough of it.
I was at Chelsea as part of a tour I was leading for Ross Garden Tours. I’m off to Italy in late September, New Zealand in early November and Ireland next June. Why not join me?