In the late 1970s Peter Dummer, then a propagator at the famous Hillier’s Nursery in the UK, raised five seedlings from a deliberate cross he had made between C. obovatus and C. coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’. He named one of the seedlings ‘Grace’ after his wife. My plant of ‘Grace’ has been in for a dozen years or so. It was a brute to begin with sending out long floppy wands which made it more gormless than graceful. I nearly dug it out several times. It took a lot of work over many years to train it into something resembling a tree but now it is one of the wonders of the garden. The plum coloured flower panicles are huge and the pink veined, deep plum leaves are large and handsome. ‘Grace’ is now 6 or 7 metres tall and still throws out long floppy branches but these now give the tree an air of elegance. The autumn leaves are stunning turning red, scarlet, pink and butter.