The Specimen Beds contain parts of two of the four National Collections at Wakehurst Place; the hypericums and the skimmias.
In July and August the hypericums dominate the Specimen Beds and range through the greatest numbers of yellows it is possible to imagine; from the delicate primrose of Hypericum bellum to the strong glossy vibrancy of Hypericum 'Hidcote'.
There are some 350 species of hypericums in the world's alpine, temperate and subtropical regions. They can grow like trees as with East Africa's Hypericum revolutum or as tiny annuals.
Wakehurst Place's National Collection of hypericums also shows off lesser-known but demonstrably garden-worthy specimens, many visitors find it worth taking a notebook and pencil for future purchases.
The skimmias at Wakehurst Place are more widespread; some here, others throughout the ornamental gardens and more in the Winter Garden. In the wild, skimmias are of four well-defined species all originating in Asia. It was research in the Herbarium at Kew that finally unravelled the relationships between them after nearly a century of confusion.
Skimmia enthusiasts will respond to Skimmia x confusa, the only genuine hybrid in the family; because all of its three known cultivars are grown at Wakehurst Place.
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The striking Siberian iris was first brought into cultivation in the Middle Ages, and is still widely grown in temperate regions.