“LOBELIAS, NOT JUST A BEDDING PLANT”
Barry Clarke, a member of Plant Heritage and a botanist and horticulturalist with Hillier Gardens, holds the National Collection of lobelias, among others. What many of us may not realize is that there are over 360 different species of lobelia, spread throughout the world. From the small, snow-hardy alpine species of South Island New Zealand, to the giant plains lobelias of Southern Africa, from the delicate flowered prairie species of North America to the exotic, brightly coloured beauties of the Hawaiian highlands. Slides illustrating lobelias, collected over 15 years, vividly demonstrated Barry’s extensive travels and his dedication.
Familiar to many is the well loved annual L.erinus, with a trailing habit perfect for hanging baskets. Perennial lobelias can be a stunning colourful addition to the flower garden, furthermore they are generally easy to grow. L.tupa’s flower spikes can reach a height of 2 metres. L.siphilitica’s roots are used in herbal medicine.
You can see some of Barry’s excellent photographs by clicking on this link: