Didiscus coerulea 'Blue Lace'

Posted: Monday 19 August 2013
by Adam Pasco

While exploring the trial ground I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful blue lace flower. How had I never noticed it before?

Blue lace

What a wonderful world of discovery we gardeners live in. With the current edition of the RHS Plant Finder boasting over 75,000 plants, we'll never be short of choice - I'd need a few lifetimes of gardening to get know even a fraction of these.

That's why it's good to get out and about around the country whenever possible to see what other people are growing. Last week I was invited to explore the seed trial grounds at Mr Fothergill's, near Newmarket, where they grow almost every variety of seed they sell to ensure purity and check performance. They also grow promising new varieties alongside existing varieties, to fully evaluate them before choosing the best to introduce.

While exploring the trial ground I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful blue lace flower. How had I never noticed it before? This lovely half-hardy annual belongs to the family Umbelliferae and is listed in several seed catalogues as Didiscus coerulea 'Blue Lace'. (Some catalogues list it as the plant’s synonym, Trachymene coerulea).

It has the same airy growing habit as Verbena bonariensis, with flower heads at the tips of almost leafless branched stems. Didiscus shares the same long flowering season as verbena but doesn't reach the same height, only growing to about 60cm. Bees and butterflies were loving the sweetly scented flowers, which can be cut and brought indoors, and I've made a note to grow some myself next year.

Checking through seed companies online, I've also found one company selling an attractive mix with pink, rose, white and lavender flowers called Didicus 'Madonna'.

Have you discovered any new flowers this year that you could recommend to me and other gardeners? Or perhaps some of your old favourites are worthy of more exposure. Do share your discoveries below, as I'd love to hear about them.

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happymarion 22/08/2013 at 14:57

One of my birthday presents was Kalanchoe "Bronze Sculpture" which is commonly known as the Paddle plant but this one has bronze colored tips to the succulent flapjack like leaves. It is a beauty and well named. I shall bring it into the conservatory when the frost comes - all six pots of it since it had to come out of its pot and be divided as soon as I saw it. Not only is it a new wonder to me it looks like a best seller for plant sales for charity. Incidentally it has yellow flowers in the spring so just right for my Golden jubilee year.

kaycurtis 05/09/2013 at 03:06

What a lovely little plant, you can be sure that half the country will be growing them next year, including me. I love so many plants it would be hard to pick out one but the Rose called Rachel is delicious perfume wonderful and looks like a ballerina frilly dress, no good for bee's but delightful all the same but my lavender more than makes up for it, Bee's buzzing round it all day long.