Saturday 14 May 2016

Pictures of dicentras

The genuine Dutchman’s Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria  flowered in early April
Last week a photographer came to take pictures of my National Dicentra Collection for a glossy magazine. They will be published at dicentra time next year.
Unfortunately different dicentras flower at different times and professional photographer Neil had only one visit. At least he was lucky in that several cultivars of the most popular species of Dicentra formosa were in their prime. Even so, the various varieties of this Dicentra formosa mature in a staggered sequence.
Neil had his work cut out as conditions for photography were poor. The sun shone brightly and the wind was strong!

Neil does not know I sneaked a picture of him at work

My advantage is that I am there all the time! To wet your appetite I am taking the liberty to post some of my new pictures taken this year. Where I know what they are I have given their name! I keep nice seedling variations of Dicentra formosa and some remain anonymous!
They sometimes have to fight it out 
One of the golden forms. To me it looks like permanent chlorosis
'Adrian Bloom’ one of the best reds
Some call it ‘Pearl Drops’ some call it ‘Langtrees’. It has an excellent constitution and has a long season
This was given to me with no name by famous Yorkshire gardener Nancy Boydell and that’s what I call it.
Neil came when Dicentra peregrina was in its prime
It has magnificent foliage
Another strange mixture 
Dicentra canadensis is known as squirrel corn
Dicentra cucullaria ‘Pink Punk’ starts into flower
'Stuart Boothman' has very nice foliage
My personal favourite. I brazenly call my own seedling ‘Roger’s Pink’ although salmon sometimes seems more appropriate
‘Bacchanal’ generally acclaimed as the best red
I pulled this seedling out of a mixed up clump last month
 Now where did I take this picture – I might then know its name

You can tell I am besotted with dicentra with nine previous posts. To some extent my blog is my own personal dicentra record as I have no other.
You can find more kinds and cultural information by clicking the links

This takes you direct to my first six articles
And this to my more recent three

You can do a more refined search by using the search boxes. The box at the top takes you direct to most relevant articles. If you scroll right to the bottom of the blog roll the search box gives a more detailed prioritized list of every mention.

For example if you insert ‘spectabilis’ in either box you will find Dicentra spectabilis


  1. I have a couple of dicentra that I have forgotten the names of - maybe I should buy more.

    Nice to see a professional photographer using my prone technique - makes me feel less stupidm

  2. Come to my open day in September and I will give you some - and I won't think you are Zena Lovage this time!
    You feeling stupid?

    1. An offer I can't refuse and maybe the best one that I have had all day.

      I have developed feeling stupid (or even stupidm) as an art form.

  3. Yes, I can tell that you are crazy about Dicentras. Amazing photos, I especially like 'Bacchanal'. Also the picture of Neil at work.

    1. Yes Jason. In view of Sue's comment I can imagine her in the same pose!

  4. The fact that the "glossy magazine" would only send their photographer once is just so typical of the media! They want everything to be ready for them, they don't understand that nature does its own thing in its own timescale. I expect that after Neil's efforts they will only use about 3 photos anyway.

  5. And the article will be written via a telephone interview!

  6. Beautiful collection Roger.
    Here I only have a white and a red spectabilis

  7. Thanks Alain. You should try a few more, perhaps 'Pearl Drops'

  8. How beautiful they are! I particularly like the shape of the peregrina

  9. Peregrina is very difficult to grow Belinda - if you look at my recent post about Japanese plants I explain why. I am keeping my fingers crossed with my success so far

  10. How pretty Dicentra cucullaria is! I have not heard of it before and have promptly put it on my wish-list. I love dicentras and have several ‘Baccanal’ along with some spectabilis - ‘Alba’ and ‘Valentine’ although the latter has not come up yet so I fear he didn’t like being dug up from my previous garden and spend last year in a pot.
    I would love many more dicentras for my woodland bed, but they need to be easy going and not require much fuss :-) I read your post about buying plants from Japan, why do you feel Dicentra peregrine is difficult to grow – more difficult than Baccanal’ for example?

    1. I really enjoy your thoughtful comments HELENE. Isn't it a nuisance when your spell checker changes peregrina to peregrine.
      I will send you a few cucullaria tubercles when my plants go dormant. You can e mail your address to
      peregrina is difficult to grow because of severe climate differences with its native Japan. Even there it is only wild at certain altitudes where it is a protected plant. It grows in deep volcanic soil -I suppose you can reproduce this in a suitable alkaline lumpy compost but perhaps not the natural depth.
      It likes high rainfall but its natural soil is very well drained.
      It does not like our extremes of temperature or their rapid changeability.
      It stands loads of cold but not extreme or changing. It is susceptible to very high temperatures. It likes bright conditions but apparently the light intensity is not extreme in fairly cloudy Japan? I am shading with a little fleece when the sun is really strong. My pots are on the shady side of other larger plants in my well ventilated greenhouse. Will I put them outside soon?
      A good gardener said to me that if he needed to reproduce the complete climate of another country he would not bother!
      My perigrinas from Japan are doing very well at the moment!

    2. Me and my different spell checkers (I write in 3 different languages) are at war at times – but I am afraid the mistake writing peregrine instead of peregrina was all down to me, I don’t use predictive text as that’s hopeless when you are multi-language!

      Thank you so much for your offer of cucullaria, a separate email is on the way to you – I hope I have some plants of interest to you that I can offer in return :-)

      I will definitely not have a go at Dicentra peregrina, and I agree with the good gardener of yours – I wouldn’t bother reproducing the complete climate of another country for some plants either. Plants in my garden will need to adapt to the climate and soil I have and what I am able to give of care - or go to some other gardener!

    3. Roger, you might want to edit out your email address, or it will get picked up by a spambot. There are ways to try to make it invisible, such as nodiggardener( (remove brackets) or nodiggardener at gmaildotcom but no guaranteeing that they will work!

  11. Thanks for the tip Sarah - think I will risk it!


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