Halimiocistus wintonensis ‘Merrist Wood Cream’
We are frequently asked for a plant that flowers for ages, is immune to drought, will grow in poor soil, and never needs any work. A plant made of concrete or plastic springs to mind. But with deeper thought, we can highly recommend Halimiocistus wintonensis ‘Merrist Wood Cream’ as the next best thing to a concrete one.
Showy flowers for months
‘Merrist Wood Cream’ puts up a great show for a very long time, covering itself from mid spring to mid summer, with further flowers until winter.
Flowers are large creamy-lemon cups, boldly zoned with deep maroon, and golden centres.
While evergreen, woolly, grey-green foliage makes the perfect backdrop.
‘Merrist Wood Cream’ may be as tough as old boots, but it is also fashionably glamorous.
As tough as old boots
This is a perfect solution for low maintenance gardeners.
‘Merrist Wood Cream’ thrives in heat; is naturally adapted to long summer drys; hardy in frost down to -10C approx; and prefers lean conditions.
So making an ideal water-wise choice for gardeners needing drought tolerant solutions.
The only maintenance that may be required, could perhaps be an annual prune after flowering to if you wish to reshape the bush for cosmetic reasons. But only if you are looking for some work, and the bush certainly won’t mind if you forget.
Where to use in the garden
Great for sun drenched and dry garden landscaping; gravel gardens; rockeries; plus in containers, because it needs so little water.
‘Merrist Wood Cream’ is evergreen (or ever-grey to be accurate), and grows as a rounded shrub between 60-90cm high and wide, depending on the toughness of the conditions.
Thrives in lean conditions
Thrives in sandy, rocky, poor soils with low fertility. Good drainage is essential. It is not particularly fussy about soil pH so will grow in both acid and alkaline conditions. However it does enjoy lime, thanks to native habitat conditions.
‘Merrist Wood Cream’ is an excellent selection for seaside gardens.
– Height with flowers: 60-90cm. approx. rounded shrub, depending on how tough the conditions are.
– Width: 60-90cm. approx.
– Position: Full Sun, although can take Partial Shade if it is very well drained and not humid. Suits seaside gardens.
– Soil: Thrives in sandy, rocky, poor soils with low fertility, and gravel gardens. Good drainage is essential. Is not particularly fussy about pH so will grow in both acid and alkaline conditions, however it does enjoy lime.
– Fragrance: Sadly no, but it is so good in every other way.
– Frost: Hardy down to -10C approx.
– Growth: Evergreen rounded shrub.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees and butterflies love revelling amongst the stamens to collect abundant pollen.
– Care: Very easy care. Little to no maintenance.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Not appealing to rabbits and deer because of the aromatic oils in the foliage. Both parents of this hybrid shrub have naturally adapted to a native environment with grazing animals.
– Origin: We have the excellent staff at Merrist Wood Agricultural College in England to thank for this marvellous dry climate plant. They noticed a “different”. branch on one of their shrubs. This parent shrub was a cross between the well loved dry climate stalwart Rock Rose, Cistus salviifolius,; and an evergreen shrub from dry woods around the Mediterranean.Halimium lasianthum. You could not ask fro better credentials for a dry hardy shrub. The “different” branch turned out to be lovely ‘Merrist Wood Cream’ – a child even better than both forebears.
Thank you to the College who released it in 1970, from where it went on to win a RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993. This is like winning the Olympic Gold Medal of the plant world.