Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ AGM with a few words from Graham Stuart Thomas



Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ AGM

This plant is in my tiny front garden. It is not in ericaceous (lime-free) compost and in the summer months, is shaded by a street-planted weeping Birch tree, though now it benefits from a clear canopy and a south-easterly aspect (as it does in this last regard, all year round). In a better position with more agreeable soil, it might reach the 2m height and spread that is possible. Here, it is a delightful, smaller shrub.

It has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit. And quite rightly too.

 From Graham Stuart Thomas’ “Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos”, we learn –

PIERIS, Ericaceae. Medium-to-large shrubs, all evergreen and of distinguished appearance, their dark, narrow leaves making a dense mass, many with red tints in spring. This spring foliage is very vulnerable to frost, thus some shelter from cold breezes is beneficial; otherwise most are quite hardy. The best of the kinds with scarlet spring foliage out-rival any other shrubs for massive brilliance. They need the same cultivation as most rhododendrons – a cool, lime-free peaty soil. They are particularly attractive throughout the winter, because they are then generously covered with small, often drooping sprays of flower-buds, some reddish-tinted. The flowers may be likened to those of Lily-of -the-Valley, dainty little urn-shaped blossoms in sprays; mostly white. It is advisable to remove the seed-pods after flowering.

HYBRIDS – Under this heading I will group two excellent plant which are closely related, probably hybrids between Pieris japonica and Pieris formosa.

(notes on) Firecrest

Forest Flame *(Starred)     Originating as a self-sown seedling at Sunningdale Nurseries. It is more compact in growth and equally brilliant (to Firecrest) in leaf-colour. The flowers are sweetly lavender-scented. Both produce their leaves after those of Pieris f. forrestii and thus have more chance of escaping spring frosts. The seedling was grown near P. japonica and P. f. forrestii. Reported to be less free-flowering than Firecrest, but this is not evident from my own plant. These two shrubs are of great value in bud during the winter, in flower in early spring and in their foliage splendour with or without the flowers. They look splendid with orange-cupped narcissi. ‘Flaming Silver’ is a variegated sport of ‘Forest Flame’.


Good enough for me then – and if I knew it was a GST creation, I had forgotten. Never again –


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