Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Sweet and The Soft

Last Saturday we attended the monthly meet of our local HPS chapter and the guest speaker was Colin Ward, owner of Swines Meadow Farm Nursery which is not that far from us (but we have yet to visit, oops!) and we know sell many rare and unusual plants. We bump into him quite regularly through the many plant fairs that we attend so it was extra nice to see and hear him do a talk for our HPS chapter.


Now we were aware that he will be bringing plants with him during the day to sell. What we didn't expect though was that he will be bringing with him many unusual and beautiful plants that are already of a good size. That was a very nice surprise and with so many tempting goodies we had an unexpected plant shopping afternoon! More about our HPS purchases in a separate post but one of the plants we got from him is a very beautiful Mahonia that is new to me.

Now I'm a big Mahonia fan and mention the genus to me and I'm already all ears and on full attention. So when he highlighted and showed this plant I knew instantly it had to go home with us.

Now this Mahonia looked very familiar to us, similar in appearance to the ones we have already and even blogged about before. But not quite..

Mahonia eurybracteata 'Sweet Winter'
It is Mahonia eurybracteata 'Sweet Winter'. It looks very similar to the more well known Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis 'Soft Caress' but the leaves are not as cut and delicate looking, broader with slight curve or twist to them. Also it is supposed to be more robust and a better performer than the latter.

Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis 'Soft Caress'
Both Mahonias however are not spiny and are friendly to the touch (and vision).

The specimen we got looks fabulous already. Time will tell how it will perform and no doubt we'll be giving updates on how it does, and how it compares with the other.

So here you go, another lovely Mahonia to keep an eye out for!

Mark :-)

30 comments :

  1. 'Sweet Winter' is new to me as well. Thank you for the introduction! I'll be looking for it because I'm a little disappointed in the performance of 'Soft Caress' (although I do love its foliage).

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    1. Hopefully you'll get hold of this one there soon Gerhard :) Although the name may possibly be different there as this one I think has been given by Dutch nurseries

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  2. I remember looking about for 'Soft Caress' when it was named Chelsea's plant of the year. I liked both the foliage and the flowers (in my favorite color) but there were none to be found in my area and no information as to whether M. eurybracteata could survive in our climate. A pity...

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    1. I hope you can get hold of of this one or the Soft Caress soon Kris, and try it in your location. It'll be interesting to see if it tolerates warmer summers because potentially it can :)

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  3. "Slight" curve or twist? Those things are curvy! Alas, this is not a genus that I'm very familiar with, since it's not quite cold-hardy enough.

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    1. It's possible that only this current set of leaves are very curvy Alan, perhaps consequent new growth won't be that curvy :)

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  4. Oh yes, that I'd very interesting. I will definitely be looking for that one, nice score!

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    1. Very nice Loree, really pleased to get hold of one :)

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  5. I didn't know about non-prickly mahonias! I learn so much reading your blog.
    btw you MUST visit Colin's nursery, lots of plants to look at, a nice cuppa and you might even find an interesting planter. I came home with an enamel bucket - perfect for cut flowers :-)

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    1. We're long overdue a visit to Colin's place Celia, we ought to soon really :) I can just imagine how many more treasures he has lurking in his polytunnels!

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  6. It's a beauty! I'll be looking for it as well as I've never met a mahonia I didn't like!

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  7. It is very nice, a new plant to lust after!!

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    1. Perhaps something for your garden in Spain Lisa :)

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  8. From the photos, I prefer that slightly heftier leaf to Soft Caress. Nice to get a size that has an immediate impact. Score!

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    1. They're both pretty and worth having Denise :)

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  9. You have just bought a virused form of "Soft Caress".!! It needs to be destroyed immediately-I will collect it this weekend and do the deed :-)

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    1. Lol! Happy to refer you to Colin instead Don :)

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  10. That was a very useful post, and very timely too, as I had heard about 'Soft Caress' ( news takes a long time to reach us here!!) and have wondered how it performs, and how hardy it is. Do I sense a little negativity from you and from comments that it is not a robust performer ? I do like 'Sweet Winter' and can see how it would fit well into an exotic planting scheme.

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    1. I do like Soft Caress a lot Jane, and I highly recommend it. Some gardeners are reporting that it's not as fast growing or robust as they hoped it would be but it's still early days really since they were mass produced, could be tissue culture variability or they are the sort of plants that are just slow at first. It's not fast growing in our garden but it still is a very pretty plant. One specimen however has grown very well and is racing ahead of the others.

      It's nice though that Sweet Winter is out now, another mahonia friendly to the touch as for awhile it seemed only Soft Caress was the only one that was like this that's readily available. Get both if you get the chance :)

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  11. Sounds as if a trip to Colin's nursery is both necessary and likely to be expensive! That's another mahonia for the list, I think I prefer the foliage to 'Soft Caress', though I can see why having both is desirable...

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    1. I'm sort of gearing myself for that possibility Janet :) Do get both if you get the chance, highly recommended!

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  12. You have my fullest attention. I want to hear how you get on with your new Mahonia.

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  13. Oh I do miss going to HPS local meetings as I always used to come home with some excellent plants. I bought 'Soft Caress' in February this year and have still to make my mind up about it. It is planted in a container and although I initially feared for its life it has perked up in the last couple of months. I've not heard of 'Sweet Winter' and will be interested to hear how it does for you.

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    1. Might be time to rekindle your attendance to HPS meetings again Anna? :) Will keep you all updated how Sweet Winter fares, and hopefully your Soft Caress will put on good growth next year.

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  14. Well. Who'd have thought? As someone who doesn't like mahonias - you may have converted me. At least to these two. Dave

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    1. The Priory is harking for these two Dave :)

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  15. Best wishes for all your mahonias! Soft Caress is in my garden and, although it is beautiful, it has not yet won my heart by flourishing. It had a hard time with our bitter cold winter last year. But it did survive, so I am hoping it will be better established after this year's growing season and be ready to flourish in 2015.

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    1. Hopefully your Soft Caress is just biding its time and will put on fast and fab growth next year Debs :)

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