Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Captain Charles Louis Hope'

 Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Captain Charles Louis Hope'
This Hibiscus is shaded an interesting colour. Though technically described as 'light lime' it is closer, in certain lights, to a custard yellow or to a 'key lime pie'. The suffused deep rose centre is appealing and much like a beetroot stain on a t shirt might appear at this time of year.
It is a Queenslander and was bred by Alex Scott from a pod parent of 'Surfrider' and a pollen parent of 'Red Stripe', growing into a large bushy shrub with good glossy foliage.
I am intrigued why the name 'Charles' was included in the fore-name as it is not mentioned in the Australian Dictionary of Biography for the 'Honorable' Captain Louis Hope (1817-1894), the so called 'Father of the Australian sugar industry'. This is assuming that this Hibiscus was named in his honour.
 In 1864 Hope erected Queensland's first sugar mill at his property Ormiston on the banks of Hilliard's creek in Cleveland, Morteon Bay, using exploited/indentured labour ie. black slaves from the South Sea Islands while completely displacing the traditional landowners, the Koobenpul people, who left behind as evidence of their culture 'Bora rings' and 'canoe trees'. To his credit, Hope was an enthusiastic horticulturalist, importing thousands of plants for his extravagant garden at Ormiston, which included a scarlet Hibiscus arch of interwoven branches under which carriages were able to shelter. Little remained of the garden by the middle of the 20th century, over-taken in the sub-tropical heat by rampant Lantana and Bougainvillea. It was given a makeover in the early 1980's with a planting of Camellias and Agapanthus.  The garden includes a memorial Cairn to Hope which was erected in 1935. Ormiston House is a fine example of colonial architecture and is open to the public for numerous  events throughout the year.

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