The Glory Tree
The first frosts have swept over Gravetye Manor, leaving colourful leaves scattered in piles on the ground and a sharp edge in the air. We have moved the semi-tender flowers into snug greenhouses, thereby completely changing the look of the garden. The removal of these bright colours allows another, more subtle, gem to shine, in our East Garden.
The Glory Tree (Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii) is a large intriguing shrub from Western China. It is hardy in a sheltered spot and can be grown both in full sun and semi-shade. It’s white flowers are highly fragrant and are followed by an abundance of small fruits, that at first glance looks like a cloud of pink starfish. Catch one of the many small glints of turquoise, however, and I can guarantee that you will stop in your tracks. The fruits on this tree have the most amazing colours as they mature and go from white, through turquoise to dark navy blue. The many shades of blue are offset by a pink star looking calyx.
The leaves also have a trick up their sleeve. If you crush them between your fingers, they release a surprising scent of peanuts.