Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sollya heterophylla AGM

Sollya heterophylla is a treasure...for me. It is one of my memories, now quite distant, of a friendship with one of the great garden designers Rosemary Verey. After the death of my mother, I was privileged enough to accompany my father to her home 'Barnsley House' in Gloucestershire. The unease that I had felt at meeting someone so important was dispelled by her easy manner and welcoming, homely disposition. After that first meeting I was always invited and during my father's last months she would ring me regularly to enquire how things were. Sometimes we wept in unison over the telephone at the obvious conclusion of the situation. She gave me strength and succour and the enthusiasm and confidence to work in my father's garden and bring it back to life.

Sollya heterophylla was one of the first of many gifts that Rosemary gave me. It hasn't grown to its full potential, but I love it none the less for that. It has like so many of my plants, minimal care, yet it is once again covered with tiny little blue flowers, with darker blue buds. Last year it was overwintered in the shelter of the house wall, which, when the sun shines gets full sun for many hours. It comes form West Australia, and is also known as the Bluebell Creeper, or the Australian bluebell creeper. A twining perennial climber with lance-shaped evergreen leaves, and small bell-shaped flowers in nodding clusters. The cylindrical berries can be purple or blue. With my plant they are deep blue. It will grow in full shun or part shade on an East, West  or South-facing wall and isn't fussy about the soil conditions.

It is a gem of a plant. One that I still treasure 35 years on.


  1. Rosemary Verey sounds lovely - and the plant is gorgeous. Can I deduce that it's not fully hardy?

    1. Rosemary was a treasured friend. It isn't entirely hardy, although for the last 10 years it has never been in a greenhouse or conservatory over winter. However it has been fleeced if the weather was very cold, and pulled beneath the over hanging roof in Italy. Now I guess it is in a pot small enough to bring indoors. I would suggest that it is more likely to be winter wet that would do the damage...