Gardening / Getting excited about perennials

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The Queen lavender… for a royal plant in the garden.

CAN anyone really get excited about new plants? I certainly can, especially with the incredible range of perennials. 

Cedric Bryant.

These plants provide a continual floral display from early spring to autumn. Even then, some will continue to flower in winter. 

One favourite for gardens since Roman times is Lavandula The Queen. With deep burgundy flower heads topped with pink bracts, it grows to 60 centimetres high and up to 90 centimetres wide, so provide plenty of space between plants.

Lavandula Iceberry Ruffles has deep violet flowers topped with purple ribbons and is an exceptional flowerer, growing to 50 centimetres x 70 centimetres as do Roseberry Ruffles and Frostberry Ruffles. Lilac Lace and Pink Lace give a clue to the flower colour. 

Lavenders are the perfect pollinators beloved by bees and, coming from the Middle East, perfect for our heat. 

Once dried, lavender is perfect for making pot pourri and keeping silverfish out of clothes. 

The best time to harvest the flowers is just as the florets start to open, not the end of flowering when the flowers start to wither. That’s right, you have to cut them as they start to flower, when the fragrance is at its height. 

The easiest way to store the dried flowers is to cut up old nylon stockings into short lengths and tie off at each end after filling with the flower heads.

Sugar Plum Raspberry…. tantalising fragrance.

THE list of Dianthus is nearly as long and renowned for its tantalising fragrance. Dianthus and first cousin carnations were the gillyflower (scented flowering plants) of Chaucer, Spencer and Shakespeare. 

I just love the new Dianthus Sugar Plum Raspberry. Low growing to just 30 centimetres x 40 centimetres, it would look perfect in a group of three to five or as a path border leading to the front door. 

One of my favourite perennials in flower at present is Pulmonaria Electric Blue. Its rival will be the new Diana Clare with its deep violet-blue flowers. It was introduced from the UK and classed in the famous Beth Chatto Gardens in England as the best pulmonaria ever. The added feature of these plants is the added interest of the evergreen marbled green and silver leaves. 

BESIDES drinking from the bird bath, birds are doing a great deal of washing, which means filling up the water regularly. It’s important that the water isn’t too deep, 60 centimetres at the most. 

The possums are having a great feed on the new leaves of the Japanese maples, their favourite. I’m unconcerned because there are more than enough leaves for summer shade.

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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