Guardiola platyphylla, WDG accession number 910.01
Managing horticulturist for the Wallace collection, Jeff Payne, waved me over to see this plant while I was making my photographic rounds early this morning. I’m usually glad that I run into him because he’s a close observer and inevitably points out things that I would surely have missed. “”Check this out,” he told me, “it’s covered with pollinators.” And, in fact, it was.
Its white flowers were unremarkable in terms of showiness, but a dozen small native bees buzzed them with gusto. This plant is a first for the Arboretum’s collection, so when it arrived in a 24″ box full of dead stems, Jeff and everyone else thought it was dead. But new stems soon sprung up from the base and grew vigorously, eventually bearing tiny white terminal flowers that possess qualities that definitely appeal to a wide range of insects. The stems are herbaceous but sturdy, and whether they develop any woodiness won’t be known until further into the long hot summer.
What we do know is that the top died completely to the ground in what was a comparatively mild winter this year, so in a more normally cold winter, this plant can be counted on to die back each and every year.