Currant obsession: Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum
Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

Last year I moved back to the UK after spending over ten years in Australia, in the sub-tropical climate of Sydney.

So, I’m currently enjoying my first Northern Hemisphere spring in all that time and my first spring ever living in Scotland.

I’ve been delighting in the wonderful the variety of cool climate spring flowering plants here and re-discovering some plants I had forgotten about or hard hardly paid attention to before. One such plant is this wonderful currant: Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum.

The specimen pictured is flowering in the front garden along the street from where I live and when I first saw its flowers, appearing before the sculpted palmate leaves, I couldn’t place it. In fact I’m not sure I ever remember seeing this plant in full flower before – or perhaps not flowering so profusely.

Whether last year’s warm summer or the mild winter just gone are contributing factors to the sumptuous display, I am not sure. But I think it will find a place in the new garden I’ll be creating when we move into our new house in a few weeks time.

As I understand it, this plant is a native to California. Pacific Horticualture magazine tells us more:

“One of over 430 California native plants introduced to the public by horticultural pioneer Theodore Payne, pink flowering currant is widely available and versatile. Planted in masses at the edge of a shady spot, espaliered against an east-facing wall, or used as an understory shrub, it is harmonious with toyon, oaks, and coffeeberry. Its handsome, upright form (six to ten feet tall) is useful in narrow spaces. Pendant clusters of pink to red flowers appear in late winter and early spring, typically just before new leaves emerge; leaves are sticky and pungent. Dark blue berries are popular with birds in fall. .

Planting notes for Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

Size
Ultimate height: 1-1.5 metres
Ultimate spread: 1-1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height; 5-10 years

Hardiness
Zone H6 – hardy down to -15degrees.

Aspect
Full Sun
South-facing, West-facing or East-facing. Will thrive in a sheltered or exposed spot

Soil
Moist but well-drained, Soil. Prefers Sand, Clay, Chalk or Loam

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