The blue-flowered form of the African species B. salviifolia, which has felted sage-green leaves, is the most familiar to horticulturalists. There is also an 'Alba' or white-flowered form in the trade with slightly different foliage, still sage-like but the leaves are longer and with a more ruckled (bullate) upper surface. Neither is necessarily typical for the species in its native range.
I was able to obtain some seeds from South Africa (Silverhill Seeds) and grow a handful of seedlings. Their foliage is more like the 'Alba' type, perhaps not quite so long. One seedling has flowered and it's a pale lilac. That's something I've been wanting for a couple of years. With lilac-flowered specimens all but absent from nurseries and collections in the UK, I'm rather fortunate to have found one in a tiny packet of seeds. Although South African websites suggest this colour flower is very common, if not the most common, for this species, so perhaps it's not luck after all.
The blue and white ones have proven reasonably hardy and I'm hoping this one too can take the frosts.
Everything seems slow to get going this spring, and it can be a risk to start pruning, repotting or planting out before the Buddlejas have responded to the longer days.
So I've had a chance to look at some of the old pages and start the process of updating. The B. globosa and Buddleja araucana page was looking a little tired and I had some new information to add. The new version is up now, with better photos and a new format.
B. globosa was actually the first Buddleja grown as an ornamental in England, introduced by the Vineyard Nursery in Hammersmith, way back in the late 18th century; that's a hundred years before B. davidii was introduced into gardens. The illustration is by the renowned French botanical artist Pierre-Joseph Redouté, and dates from an 1809 edition of Henri Louis Duhamel de Monceau's Nouveau Duhamel, ou Traité des arbres et arbustes que l'on cultive en France, showing the species was already being widely cultivated in France by this date.
There is a new page on The Buddleja Garden. I've accrued a lot of information on Buddleja forrestii and Buddleja macrostachya, so I thought it was time to give these two species their own page. There are plenty of photos of specimen plants, so many I've included an additional gallery of those I couldn't fit onto a single page. The two are very similar: there's plenty of detail on how to tell them apart.
Growing a number of different plants of each species has been quite instructive. I've been able to tear flowers apart and look at them closely, something you can't really do when visiting other people's gardens or botanical collections. I've grown some seedlings from my plants, and included some of the resulting hybrids on the Supplementary Gallery page.
Another new look for The Buddleja Garden Diary. The page is now 'responsive', which means it should automatically adjust for small screens on phones and tablets. I've tried to keep the appearance much as it was before: simple, uncluttered, and concentrating primarily on the content. The top-menu is new.
Later, I hope to convert more pages to be responsive without changing the layout for desktop viewing.
In the meantime, here is my favourite antique illustration of Buddleja colvilei, which should change size with the window.