I had a bad case of déjà vu the other day. I was wondering through my local garden centre having a look through their new arrivals, when I noticed a lovely red Leucadendron, with bright shining bracts. It looked a little like the old variety we used to sell as L. salignum ‘Red’, so I looked closer to see what variety it was.
I was pleasantly surprised to see it was named ’Jack Harre’, after the well known and regarded protea grower. It brought back pleasant memories of trips up to the Harre nursery at Rewa, near Kimbolton, where we would load up truckloads of Leucadendrons, Leucospermums and Proteas, and then retire for a cup of tea with Jack. He was an ex-dairy farmer and his nursery was not the tidiest one you will ever see, but he certainly knew his plants and had a great way with words. He wrote a very good book on the Protea family, and was even interviewed by National Radio about his childhood.
The Leucadendron named for him is a compact growing form with flaming-red star-like bracts at the end of arm-length branches from early in winter. The cooler the weather becomes, the deeper the flowers become. This is a rapid growing form suitable for most gardens, and becomes a nicely rounded shrub.