There are a number of stalwarts that I grow from seed each year, learning from experience what grows and performs well, most years trying a few new things, some of which will become stalwarts in due course too. Recent additions have been helichrysum, which form stocky plants that flower for months and provide everlasting blooms for winter vases – H ‘Bright Rose’ is shown below, but this year I have also grown H ‘Silvery Rose’. Flowers for keeping should be picked at about this stage, before the buds open.
I discovered alonsoa purely by chance a few years ago and have grown a red variety regularly since – the one shown below is Alonsoa ‘Rebel’ – but I have also grown A ‘Salmon Beauty’ which was much commented on when grown in the cutting beds last year but has been lost in the main borders this season. Both easy to grow from seed and flower for ages, especially if cut back after the first flush.
I remember growing ‘clary sage’ as a teenager but it was only recently that I began growing it again – why did I leave it so long? The bold bright bracts make such an impact in the cutting beds as well as the borders, and are a valuable asset in a vase. I now regularly grow both ‘Oxford Blue’ and ‘Pink Sundae’ (below), but haven’t tried a white variant yet.
Seeking blue annuals, I came across one called Viscaria ‘Blue Angel’ which I grew successfully but then couldn’t track the seeds down again – until I encountered the same plant under the name Silene ‘Blue Angel’. This is now firmly another of my annual stalwarts, providing a soft and airy blue to the front of the border:
Crepis rubra, the ‘pink dandelion’ created a talking point this year and will be appearing in many more gardens next year as a result. It has certainly been flowering for over a month with its numerous pretty pink blooms which in time, if not deadheaded, form a typical dandelion head from which I plan to collect seeds, but I couldn’t find a fresh bloom to photograph today (the one below was from IAVOM in early June) and I am waiting to see whether there will be more flushes.
The sixth seedy success is Lagurus ovatus or ‘bunny tails’ grass; I made two sowings of this, one in September and one in February, both sets of seedlings being planted throughout the borders in late April. They have looked wonderful ever since, bobbing about amongst the other plants and they clearly make an impact because so many people have asked about them. Even though they are an annual, it will be worth growing more for sale next year as they would have flown from the plant stall – and more for my own borders too!
There are many other stalwarts, but these are the six I am sharing for the Six on Saturday meme hosted by Jon the Propagator.