Vera Jameson Sedum
Plant of the Week
Vera Jameson Sedum
Latin: Sedum telephium 'Vera Jameson'
The garden lexicon is brimming with names. Not only do gardeners encounter those vexing Latin labels and the swarm of common names attached to those same plants, but they also are confronted with a lot of names of ordinary people. Vera Jameson Sedum (Sedum telephium ‘Vera Jameson’) is a 2002 Arkansas Select plant and an example of the horticultural name game.
The Arkansas Select program is a joint effort of horticulturists with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and the Arkansas Green Industries Association. The group pools their experience with plants in the nursery trade and nominates those that have good ornamental characteristics and a track record of performing well throughout the state.
Vera Jameson Sedum is a semi-trailing herbaceous perennial that grows about eight inches tall and twice as wide. The arching stems and fleshy leaves are the color of a bad bruise and provide an interesting spot of color until late summer when the flowers appear. The dusty, cherry colored blooms are crowded together into a three inch wide terminal broccoli-like head. The leaf axils below the main flower head will bloom a bit later than the terminal inflorescence.
This sedum was found as a chance seedling in an English garden owned by a lady named Vera Jameson. Ms. Jameson’s discovery would never have made it to the attention to the larger world were it not for a keen plantsman called Joe Elliot (1915 - 1998) who ran a rock garden nursery in England called Bradwell Nursery which he started in 1946. The British organization, the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, is trying to conserve living plant collections and maintain a written record of how various plants made their way into the nursery trade.
Elliot’s decision to name the sedum he introduced after the gardener who first noticed it is a time-honored tradition in horticulture. We can’t all write a book or become a famous painter, so a plant bearing our name seems to be a better remembrance than script chiseled in cold stone.
Plant breeders often name plants after family, friends or famous people. Pauline Henry, the prolific Siloam Springs daylily breeder with over 400 introductions to her credit, named many of her introductions after family and an ever-widening circle of friends.
My favorite example of this horticultural flattery is David Burpee’s decision to name a marigold Senator Dirksen in his attempt to get the marigold named our national floral symbol. In case you’ve forgotten, the rose was named the national floral symbol during the Reagan years.
Vera Jameson Sedum is an excellent plant for use in the front of a perennial border where its graceful arching branches form a neat cascade. It is also equally at home in containers or as an individual specimen in the rock garden. It should be situated where it gets at least six hours of sunlight. Plant it in a well drained soil. Vera Jameson Sedum is tolerant of drought and extremely tolerant of heat and cold. Propagation is easy by means of terminal cuttings taken in the spring as new shoots begin to grow.
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension Horticulturist - Ornamentals
Extension News - July 19, 2002
The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.