Autumn is a time of change, the leaves are starting to turn shades of yellow, orange and red. However, one plant steals the show and is of significant importance to us Scots. Autumn Gentians
Gentiana, a often small alpine plant which grows in high alpine regions in the world. They come in a range of forms, shapes and sizes including in a bottle (Gentiana lutea is used to make an alcoholic drink). The most famous gentians are the blue trumpet flowers species such as Gentiana sino-ornata found by George Forrest in NW Yunnan in 1904 who sent seeds back to Edinburgh in 1912.
Many of the beautiful Scottish introductions have gain national and international acclaim. ‘Oban’ a pure white flowering form which is floriferous and multi headed. ‘Berrybank Sky’ a small compact plant with a pale blue/purple flower, the Berrybank Hybrids are bred by Ian McNaughton of Macplants. ‘Strathmore’ an iconic plant which produces a mass of lightly coloured blue funnels which are delicately striped.
My favourite is Gentiana x macaulayi Kidbrooke Seedling at the lower end of the Woodland garden near the Chinese Hillside. The flowers lay as perfect torpedoes which will erupt into a sea of flowers forming a blanket of blue.