Down boy! A few Bowles plants

eab pierot

E A Bowles is well known for his plant introductions. Perhaps the best known of these is ‘Bowles Mauve’ wallflower although his neighbour, the redoubtable Frances Perry ( of which more tomorrow) told me that he never grew it! Perhaps it arose sometime after his death and was found in the garden. Of the dozens of others he found or introduced, I think that his ‘Golden Grass’ (Milium effusum ‘Aureum’) is still the best and holds its own amid the plants that have been introduced in the intervening 100 or so years. Seeding about nicely, its citrus shaded foliage is always bright and useful in the border and it will grow in part shade or in sun if the soil is not too dry.

myddelton  milium effusum aureum

Just as well known, but not quite as satisfactory, is ‘Bowles Black’ pansy, a small-flowered thing that is cute and pretty enough but it has the sexual morals of an alley cat and it is difficult to get or keep the real thing with deep, velvety petals and a small, yellow eye if you have other violas or pansies in the garden.

viola bpwles black

Of course he was known as the Crocus King and this is a scan, of a photo, of a photo, of his crocus frames with, predominantly, C. chrysanthus seedlings, with which he is particularly associated.

myddelton crocus beds 2

And here is a page from the Perry’s Hardy Plant catalogue showing the introduction of his rhubarb.

myddelton rheum palmatum catalgue perrys

And here is an RHS report of the First Class Certificate awarded to his Iris reticulata hybrid ‘Cantab’ which is still commonly available today.

myddelton iris cantab

And, to end, the partner photo to the one at the top, with Bowles messing about again!

myddelton  bowles pierot







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6 Comments on “Down boy! A few Bowles plants”

  1. sueturner31
    August 19, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    Wonderful pictures…

  2. Meriel
    August 22, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    I like the Bowles Golden Grass too, though I find it flowers best from newly seeded plants for some reason. My well established clump didn’t flower at all this year!

  3. Kathy Larson
    August 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    This inspired me to order Crocus chry.’Bluebird’,’Snowbunting’and Iris ‘Cantab’ to add to my extra-early bed south of the garage.

    • thebikinggardener
      August 23, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

      🙂 That is good – I just hope they were not too expensive! I hope they do well 🙂

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