Hunt on for rare lacecap hydrangeas
16 August 2011
The search is on for missing cultivars of the famous Swiss-bred Teller series of lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), to complete a collection at Exbury Gardens in the New Forest.
Exbury, an RHS Recommended Garden, is currently home to 18 of about 25 hybrids in the Teller series, bred in Switzerland for their strong stems, bright colours and flat, plate-like flowerheads. Each one was named, in German, after a bird, with varieties such as 'Mowe' (seagull) and 'Pfal' (pheasant). They line two sides of the Hydrangea Walk at the garden, but since the collection arrived in 1993 head gardener John Anderson says labels have become lost, several varieties are mis-identified, and some are missing altogether.
'Like any collection the important thing is that you have to keep working at it,' he says. 'Tellers aren't that popular in cultivation but they're a lovely lacecap and we always get visitors asking about them – for now though I can only tell them they're Teller hybrids.'
John is enlisting the help of current holders of National Collections® of Hydrangea to identify the existing cultivars at Exbury, and will then start replacing those which have disappeared. He is also hoping to track down the remaining Teller hybrids, such as lipstick-pink 'Zeisig' (Siskin), with the eventual aim of registering for National Collection status.
Anyone able to contribute is asked to email email@example.com or call 023 8089 1203.