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CUBG Alpine Diary: July 2013 Living with a heatwave

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Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 08 September 2013, 06:13. Go to bottom of this page.

Contribution from Margaret Young 07 September 2013, 15:23top / bottom of page
unknown New Zealand shrub

Diary Quote from July 2013

New Zealand beauty

"In the first two weeks of this month, a sparse leguminous shrub bucked the trend with cascades of bi-coloured lilac and purple small blooms. Under the flowering arches, a label indicated a 1956 planting of Carmichaelia enysii. It fooled us: this Carmichaelia is a true dwarf of 10 cms, whereas our shrub grows to 1m 60cms. Perhaps it is a Notospartium species? This certainly needs further investigation."

It is hard to tell from the photo, but might this plant be Cordospartium stevensonii ?

Cordospartium stevensonii could grow much taller than 1.6m but perhaps it is waiting for a growth spurt!

Contribution from Tim Ingram 08 September 2013, 06:13top / bottom of page

That is a wonderful flowering plant on the CUBG Diary! It certainly looks like Chordospartium stevensonii to me, or perhaps one of the very close Notospartiums. I had a plant of the former from the estimable Graham Hutchins (County Park Nursery) many years ago, but it has never flowered freely. He speaks of it growing to 2m in his garden, and it is about the same with us. It sounds well suited to the Cambridge climate with hot summers and dry winters. If it flowered reliably like this every year it would one of the finest small leguminous trees for the garden! Graham found it fully hardy, but his garden is on the north-eastern outskirts of London, and Bean describes it as a plant for southern gardens (and also says that it didn't thrive at Kew when first introduced - so finding the right conditions must need care. But there must be very few gardeners who have ever tried it. Bean also describes the Notospartiums as flowering very freely but being relatively tender at Kew; these are variously described as having pink to purple flowers so perhaps could better identify the plant at CUBG?). In the wild C. stevensonii is extremely local and rare (Graham Hutchins gives river valleys of Marlborough in the North-East of the South Island where it can reach 8m). It is included in Carmichaelia by some botanists, as is Notospartium. I wonder what experience other gardeners have with these (and with other NZ relatives). They are fascinating plants. Any New Zealand members looking in?

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