Sunday, December 25, 2011
A flower and a stem, our white winter
This Winter Cherry next to St Anne's Church in Kew Green (the burial site of early Kew directors Joseph and William Hooker) caught Lynda and me by surprise this morning. From a distance I assumed it was a sorbus or some other tree with white berries.
When I saw it was a cherry in flower, I assumed it was a cherry making a big mistake. Didn't it know it was Christmas! Wasn't it aware that the gloomy months of January and February are still to come?
Luckily there was another near the Pagoda, inside Kew Gardens, with a name tag. Turns out it's a cultivar called Prunus x subhirtella 'Autumnalis', well known as the winter flowering cherry.
According to a Telegraph article by Ursula Buchan in 2007, the Winter Cherry flowers 'in flushes' from November to March, only stopping when it's really cold (which it isn't currently). Buchan also likes the autumn colour, which I'll look out for next year.
There are other odds and sods in flower around Kew Gardens: Viburnum, snow drops, and even some very early daffodils. As I mentioned previously, though, the colourful stems of the Cornus have been a revelation. And it's a stem that was the second plant to catch my eye today, the waxy white stems of a rubus.
Rubus cockburnianus has an unfortunate name, at least the way I pronounce it. Let's call it the White-stemmed Bramble. There are a few cultivars but I'm assuming our Kew one is the species itself.
It's a plant you hardly notice in leaf, but come winter its exposed stems are magical in the early morning light. Even in early afternoon today, it was photogenic...
Just a couple of white-coloured plant parts to make up for the lack of snow and frost. While a dusting of snow might be nice I'm happy with the trade off.