Sometimes, I imagine plants to be like people. They can be big, loud and charismatic. Or sometimes they can be shy and unobtrusive. I would include Iochroma australis amongst the latter. It's the kind of plant that is easy to walk past, and yet once you take the time to have a closer look, you'll find that this flowering shrub is a thing of beauty.
Iochroma australis has just finished flowering (it's been out for weeks), but I simply had to show a few photos of the small delicate blue / purple flowers.
Iochroma australis comes from South America, and is generally regarded as being a half-hardy shrub here in the UK, but Budleigh Salterton enjoys a mild climate and it seems perfectly happy planted out without any protection, although it is deciduous in the winter.
With each flower only a few centimetres long, and more often than not partially hidden amongst the leaves, Iochroma appears to have been largely ignored by many gardeners, who instead opt for its much larger flowered relatives, Brugmansia or Datura, which have a bit more presence in the garden.
It's a shame, really, as these delicate flowers would surely grace any garden. Sometimes you need to get up close to plants to really appreciate them fully.