Monday, May 16, 2016

Reproducing heucheras

click photo to enlarge
The first garden plant that I ever saw with a label saying that it must not be reproduced by the gardener because the variety was patented was a heuchera. It was probably a cultivar from the United States, a country where patent law frequently seems to be seen as an opportunity for lawyers and others to make money without doing anything useful. If you want to know more about that search for "patent troll" to find a definition of that term and numerous articles about the subject.

We like heucheras, their leaves are extremely attractive. They thrive in shade and semi-shade, and with quite a few trees in our garden planting sites favouring this plant are not difficult to find. What I find interesting about the patenting of heucheras is they reproduce themselves abundantly without the gardener having to do anything, so I do wonder how (and why) patents on cultivars are registered and enforced. We don't have any patented heucheras - the prices are too high and our interest in the plant is quite casual, not obsessive. But we do have varieties with leaves that are red, orange, brown, purple, green, glossy and striped. They are looking good at the moment and sending up spikes covered in very small flowers. On a trawl round the garden for a photograph or two I took this shot of one of the flower spikes with the macro lens and a shallow depth of field. I liked the dreamy effect and the soft colours merging into one another.

Looking at these flowers I am reminded that they will produce thousands of tiny seeds that will fall around the parent plant and blow onto our gravel, quite a few of which will turn into miniature heucheras that are completely ignorant of patents.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Heuchera Flower Spike
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Manual
Focal Length: 35mm (70mm - 35mm equiv.) crop
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On