Time-lapse Tuesday: Passion flower

This is the first of a (hopefully) regular post. I am still getting to grips with the technology and restrictions of the process. I tried some pieces cut in water and they wilted and another bud on the passion flower decided to die rather than open so this is the first, half successful video. It is not quite right but, hopefully, we will see an improvement over the weeks!


Macro Monday: Ceratostigma willmottianum ‘Sapphire Ring’

ceratostigma sapphire ring2

The arrival of autumn always brings a tinge of sadness with it; summer is over. But the garden still brings a few treasures and one of these is ceratostigma. It is a small genus, with eight species, from Africa and Asia and the flowers are obviously similar to plumbago, the Cape leadwort. Indeed, ceratostigmas are often called hardy plumbagos. What is a nice touch is that, although the pale blue of plumbago is delightful, the commonly planted ceratostigmas have flowers of a deep, cobalt blue that is, if anything, finer and is certainly a treat in the garden. Although C. griffithii is sometimes available, the most common are the totally herbaceous C. plumbaginoides (about 30cm x 75cm), which is often suckering and is probably my preferred species, and C. willmottianum (about 60cm x 90cm) which is sub-shrubby and has smaller leaves but flowers that are just as vibrant. It was introduced in 1908 by Ernest Wilson and was named after that famous doyenne of gardening Ellen Willmott.

The leaves are roughly bristly and often edged with red. As the leaves die, and more particularly in autumn, they turn brilliant reds and crimson, overlapping with the opening of the flowers. The flowers are produced for several months and although they are not huge and never cover the foliage they are like little jewels. In some ways it would be hard to improve on the wild species. They are hardy in all but the coldest areas, need little more than a spring tidy and give a lot of colour just when the garden needs it. But there are two yellow-leaved forms of C. willmottianum that are worth a look. The older one is ‘Desert Skies’ but I recently picked up ‘Sapphire Ring’ (Lissbrill’) which is newer and is supposed to be more vigorous. The contrast of the bright blue and yellow appeals to me.

ceratostigma sapphire ring

Ceratostigmas prefer a sunny spot and well drained soils. They mix well with all shrubby herbs and could be put with them to make them look a bit less tawdry at the end of the year. You could put it with Nerine bowdenii for a real splash of colour at the end of the year.


‘Sapphire Ring’

Geoff’s rating


Garden rating





4 Comments on “Time-lapse Tuesday: Passion flower”

  1. derrickjknight
    September 6, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    Interesting new venture

  2. thebikinggardener
    September 6, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    thankyou – we will see how it goes 🙂

  3. Laurin Lindsey
    September 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    I enjoyed the video! I can say I am sad in the least to have autumn on the way…here in the Bayou City of Houston we all celebrate surviving another summer. Autumn is our best season in my mind. I do understand since I have lived other places where summer was the best season! Blue and yellow are very complementary to each other! Cheers

    • thebikinggardener
      September 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

      Thank you. I can understand what you mean about surviving summer where you are! We are just lucky if we get one! I am not sure that summer is my favourite season but although autumn has its beauty it is accompanied by shorter days and that is always sad.

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