January 2021: Graham Blunt on exotic plants

Graham began his talk by pointing out the impact of leaving the European Union on the movement of plants. He then went on to discuss a range of plants, using the categories of desert, jungle and Mediterranean as classifications.

Plantbase Nursery in East Sussex
Plantbase Nursery in East Sussex
(image credit: Plantbase/Graham Blunt)

His talk was peppered with anecdotes, often drawn from his own experience. One which appealed to many was the Sonchus fructicosus, a plant which he described as a ‘dandelion on steroids’. The seed had apparently stuck to Graham’s trousers when he was travelling and came home to England with him. He had gone on to cultivate it and recommended it as an excellent mid-storey jungle plant, which is significantly hardy.

The talk was full of useful tips, for example, that cannas and ginger plants need to be planted into soil that is warm, it is not just the top of the plant that needs to be in sun.

A number of  members asked questions and expressed an interest in visiting the nursery, which also offers some of its plants by mail order.

Graham Blunt runs Plantbase, a unique nursery in East Sussex specialising in unusual plants.

Rare and specialist plant fairs – news, and list of nurseries

All the recent rare and specialist plant fairs have had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the industry websites for latest news.

The Rare Plant Fair website also has articles – a past CABAHS speaker, Colin Moat of Pineview Nurseries has just written an article on ferns, and there is a very good one on Salvias this month too.

Keep an eye on the Plant Fairs site as well. All the contributing small nurseries are listed and a lot of them offer mail order.

The Nunhead Gardener

The Nunhead Gardener is is a little gem of a nursery / shop tucked in under the railway arches by Nunhead Station. Not a large space but they have really made the most of it. A wonderful range of indoor plants, and some well-chosen outdoor plants plus lots of pots and accessories and quirky garden art (I didn’t mean to, but I had to buy a Kiwi plant…).

Thank you to Joyce for the recommendation.