When I got home and began reflecting on the visit, it occurred to me, not for the first time I might add, that no matter what HPS event I attend, whether it’s a lecture, garden visit or just a chat with fellow members, I always learn something. It might be something new about a plant I know well, a plant I have never seen before or something that really makes me think.
On this occasion I saw some black rose hips. Black rose hips? I have never seen them before! As usual now, Google came to the rescue and I think it must have been Rosa spinosissima (syn R. pimpinellifolia), which is descibed as having purple-black fruits. I think I have seen this plant at Sissinghurst but in flower not fruit.
Another plant caught my eye and I had to squeeze between two minibuses to see it. Again I had no idea what it was but, on this occasion, another member helped me out with an identification, Dodonaea. The hopbush, Dodonaea viscosa, is a highly variable evergreen shrub widespread across the southern hemisphere. One cultivated variety develops purple leaves when grown in direct light and I think this is the one I saw, D. viscosa ‘Purpurea’. It is available here and, although not reliably hardy, I’ll be keeping an eye out for it.
A potted Pinus patula was remarked on by several members. I have a very similar specimen but mine doesn’t look so good. I took note and with a bit of judicious pruning, a new pot and some TLC I plan to get mine up to scratch.