Sunday, 15 May 2016

The stalwarts


The lazy old grasses are only just beginning to stir, and the roses are weeks away from flowering, but there are some unassuming, hardworking plants out there, doing their diligent duty day after day after day.

At this time of the year, there are certain stalwarts in the garden, filling it with colour, scent and foliage, and I just couldn't imagine the garden without them. They are not the divas of the garden, and would only ever play a supporting role, but they underpin the garden structure at the moment, as we wait for the stars of the show.


Erysimums - both biennial and perennial wallflowers - are giving me more pleasure than just about anything else at the moment. I am growing more and more every year, and trying to get diversity of flower colour, as well as scent.


The ones pictured on the header of this post were sown last summer, and are biennials 'Scarlet Bedder'. The photos do not do the true colours of the flowers justice, as the rich, fiery reds really glow in the late spring garden. They grow to about 30 cm high, and are becoming quite bushy plants now. I grew them in the greenhouse and planted some out last autumn, then ran out of steam and time, and planted the rest in early spring. There are also some 'Persian Carpet' wall flowers, a variety which contains a mix of colours from yellow through to russets and reds.


 It is a variety I will be growing again. They were very easy to germinate and grow on, and are such an economical way to fill the garden with scent and colour.


The perennial Erysimums are still an absolute joy, and there is a wide variety of colours in some young plants I bought last year. Some of the older plants are getting leggy and woody now, as they are very short lived, so I will be propagating them later in the year, to ensure continuation.


Another of my favourites at this time of year are the Brunneras, and they are of interest throughout their long growing season. At the moment, they are still small - leaved but are wreathed in clouds of forget - me - not flowers in a clear, mid blue. As the flowers fade, the leaves begin to take over, as they grow larger and larger.


I'm sure there must be lots of different - and excellent - varieties, but I tend to stick to two know and loved ones, which are 'Jack Frost' and 'Sea Heart'. The silver variegations on both of these is superb.


Cheap to buy, and quick to grow and bulk up, Brunneras are a superb choice. they cope with many different situations but are especially useful in deep, dry shade. The are at home in a traditional cottage garden , or as part of a sub tropical scheme.




20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. We have been spending so much time attending to the need of demanding exotics that it was very relaxing to come back to some easygoing , laid back plants ! We are planting a new exotic garden, and so have had iPad in one hand and trowel in the other, reading up on preferred conditions, soil type, position ...

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  2. Simply beautiful. Love those brunneras. Happy GBBD.

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  3. I love brunneras but I've been really disappointed with the wallflowers,

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    1. Oh dear Sue, why did they not live up to expectations ? Usually they are so reliable.

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    2. They are such pathetic specimens - maybe they don't like the plot - possible chance of clubroot.

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  4. There was a brunnera already planted here and I moved it. It is doing really well. I want to grow the erysimums!

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    1. Erysimums are lovely and easy to grow, and very undemanding once planted. They flower for longer than anything else in the garden.

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  5. Excellent post about the plants you can rely on ... plus, they're beautiful!

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  6. Thank you PP ! The divas come and go, but the little work horses are quietly out there doing their thing!

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  7. Brunneras are wonderful. I have used them in very modern planting as well as part of a more traditional scheme and they work their magic in both. Thank you for the reminder to get around to biennial sowings. I always forget in the frenzy of planting out tender plants.

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  8. I think I must grow some Erysimums for my sunset border, they are just the right colours. I love Brunnera too, mine are now seeding about, most are coming true and I have so much shade for them to colonise.

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  9. Clearly I need to get Erysimums into the garden here! I think it's time to start next autumn's seeds list...

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  10. Hi Jane, I can't believe I'm just getting to read my favorite blogs! The garden keeps calling me and tiring me out. You have so many beautiful Wallflowers! I've never paid much attention to them but, I will now. Forget me nots are a favorite and they fill in nicely when the garden needs it most. This is the most fun time of year!

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  11. I need more brunneras. Such beautiful foliage, and that froth of orange blue flowers is entrancing. I'm a big fan of perennial wallflowers too, though I find some get left almost instantaneous. I have read a to about planting then slightly deeper than they grew in the pot for stability, do you do b this? Where would we be without the reliable stalwarts that just get on with it.

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  12. I need more brunneras. Such beautiful foliage, and that froth of orange blue flowers is entrancing. I'm a big fan of perennial wallflowers too, though I find some get left almost instantaneous. I have read a to about planting then slightly deeper than they grew in the pot for stability, do you do b this? Where would we be without the reliable stalwarts that just get on with it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I need more brunneras. Such beautiful foliage, and that froth of orange blue flowers is entrancing. I'm a big fan of perennial wallflowers too, though I find some get left almost instantaneous. I have read a to about planting then slightly deeper than they grew in the pot for stability, do you do b this? Where would we be without the reliable stalwarts that just get on with it.

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  14. Wallflowers are hard to grow here because our soil is so heavy so they're sold as annuals. As for brunnera, it grows at the root flare of a huge tree in the most miserable spot possible and is absolutely happy! Ya gotta love plants that just take care of themselves. :o)

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  15. Among the tallest of all alliums, achieving 4 feet or more, is alliums Mount Everest with its substantial grapefruit measured bloom heads. Its ivory white florets appear well against the darker foliage of a yew support or among other brighter hues. Kicking at its heels is lilac purple alliums, with profound purple sensation, and globe expert, at 90cm, not far behind.

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  16. Wallflowers are pretty rare in the US. You can buy seeds but never plants. I've wanted to grow them after I saw them in a French garden one year. I agree with you about Brunnera - great plant!

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