Friday, February 17, 2017

Ceratostigma willmottianum, Chinese Plumbago

Ceratostigma willmottianum  
Chinese Plumbago
 This small hardy shrub is named to honor Miss Ellen Willmott (1858-1934) who in her day was called 'the greatest living woman gardener'. She was fabulously wealthy and during her glittering and spectacular career she sponsored plant hunter Ernest 'Chinese' Wilson who brought back this plant from China in 1910. The electric blue flowers cover the bush during summer and these are followed by bristly "shaving brush" heads of seeds. The leaves are attractively quilted and turn brilliant shades of orange and red during autumn and winter. It is hardy over a range of climates except the very hot and does well in shade under trees.
Dawn Macleod calls it 'that blue-eyed darling' in her book Down to Earth Women (Those who care for the soil) Edinburgh, 1982. Germaine Greer has a soft spot for it as well and gives an interesting insight into the life of Ellen Willmott in the following article:
Country notebook: Ellen Willmott - Telegraph

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