Friday, 9 January 2009

Some of my favourite herbaceous plants

There are some plants that I love and always try to include in my planting schemes. Here are a few:-

Anemone japonica ‘Queen Charlotte’: pale pink, double Japanese Anemone. Grows to around 1.5m tall. A reliable plant that can take some shade and looks after itself. It doesn’t need staking. You can cut it down in the autumn and it will just pop up again in the spring. It can be invasive, but I just keep it under control by digging out the bits I don’t want.

Anemone japonica ‘Honorine Jobert’: this is the best white Japanese Anemone. It grows to the same height as Queen Charlotte, but makes a larger clump.

Agastache ‘Black Adder’: common name is Hyssop. It has flower heads shaped like bottle brushes, covered with tiny smoky, purple flowers. It grows to about 90cm tall, needs no staking and is generally very well behaved. It has a long flowering period from July to October. It prefers to be in full sun, but mine are growing in a bit of shade. Great for bees.

Helenium ‘Wyndley’: looks a bit like a miniature Rudbeckia. Have large, bulbous brown centres with reflexed dirty orange petals. It’s a lovely foil for purples and goes well with ornamental grasses. It is simply cut down in the autumn and needs no staking.

Verbena bonariensis: a pompon of small purple flowers on long stems that grow up to 2m tall and float above the rest of the plants. Bees and butterflies love it. Self-seeds freely and if you don’t want the extra plants, dig them up and give them to friends. Cut it down once its finished flowering and it will re-appear in the spring.

Achillea ‘Moonshine’: flat, butter yellow flower heads held on stiff stems above feathery foliage. Drought tolerant and goes really well with Verbena bonariensis. Has a long flowering period and also makes a great companion for ornamental grasses.

Sedum telephium ‘Purple Emporor’: beautiful purple foliage with purplish red flower heads. Long flowering – from July to October. Grows up to 45cm high and makes a clump of about 45cm. Quick growing and will need dividing periodically.

Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’: gorgeous lavender blue flower heads. Grows up to 40cm tall and makes a clump of around 40cm diameter. Flowers from July to September and is loved by bees and butterflies.

Geranium ‘Dragonsheart’: a fantastic herbaceous geranium with vibrant cerise flowers with a black centre. Grows to 60cm tall and makes a clump about 40cm diameter. Cut it back to the ground after flowering and it will flower again – you can sometimes get three successive flowerings in one season.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’: I love herbaceous geraniums, they are easy to grow, will grow in shade and come in a huge variety of heights and colours. This one is a fairly low growing variety at 40cm, but is massively floriferous. It has lovely deep blue flowers with a white centre. . Cut it back to the ground after flowering and it will flower again – you can sometimes get three successive flowerings in one season.

Some people like to leave the spent flower heads on plants over the winter to give the garden interest and they do look very pretty when sugared with a frost. From the above list the ones I would leave on over winter would be the Helenium, Verbena, Achillea, and Sedum.

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