Tuesday, 16 December 2014

"April showers bring May flowers". English proverb. ( Biennials & Self Seeders.)

Following on from 'Bulbs'.

 Opening the garden at the end of May is bound to influence your planting scheme.
I have always grown a selection of biennials from seed. This year I have planned to grow more than usual. Here they all are in the green house, during October, waiting to be planted out.

One I would always have in my garden is the Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea.

 D.purpurea 'Sutton's Apricot' is another regular.

D. 'Pam's Choice' with its beautiful markings.

In the White and Green Garden, D. purpurea 'Alba' and Rosa 'Iceberg'.

New for this year is D. 'Silver Fox' from Sarah Raven's catalogue.
The leaves are said to be silver, with pure white flowers. It only grows to 18" and is longer lived than Alba.

Three varieties of Lunaria (Honesty) are grown.

Purple Honesty with Euphorbia palustris and Weigela 'Victoria'.

L. annua with its purple flowers and lovely silvery seed pods.

L. annua var. variegata, White Flowered Form, here in the White and Green Garden, is a particularly attractive plant.
The seeds for this strain came originally from Chiltern Seeds. I have saved my own seeds for a
few years now, for me it has always come true.

New this year from Hoo House Nursery is L. annua 'Rosemary Verey.' 
This looks very similar to L. annua 'Chedglow' from Avon Bulbs.
(See greentapestry Seedy Business). It will be interesting to compare photos at flowering time.

Sweet Rocket, Hesperis matronalis is a wonderful biennial, similar to the ones above, they can be short lived perennials.
Sweet Rocket flowers freely for months, the scent is enjoyed by both us and the insect world.
I have grown the white form from seed this year for the first time.

All of the above will self seed in the garden, there are others who need little encouragement, but I do like to see them in the garden.

The Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica is one of several I welcome.

Here it has seeded itself among the Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker'.

Eryngium giganteum, 'Miss Willmotts Ghost' is a spectacular, spiky plant, a plant with attitude. I can understand why Miss Willmott spread it around wherever she went. Here it is with Lychnis coronaria...

with its soft white, velvet like leaves.

Linaria purpurea 'Canon Went' copyright Sarah Raven.

Linaria purpurea seeds itself around with reckless abandon. 'Canon Went' is a pink form, the seeds came from Sarah Raven's catalogue.

And finally, the one I would always have is Aquilegia, in all its varieties, which given half a chance with Linaria and the Welsh poppy, would take over the garden. What a colourful garden it would be!

One side of the White & Green Garden planted ready for Spring.
Along with bulbs we look forward to a colourful display at the end of May.


  1. I imagine that much forward planning is involved in opening your garden next May Brian. Thanks for the mention. I'm relieved to say that the leaves of my 'Chedglow' are less spotty than they were. I've also grown lunaria 'Corfu Blue' which I'm looking forward to seeing in flower. Are you selling plants on your open day? Our garden club has a plant sale each May and white flowering sweet rocket walked from the table this year.

  2. I am planning a plant stall for the open days, Anna. I do have some White Sweet Rocket plants saved for the stall..

  3. You are growing all my favourites, Digitalis, Aquilegias, Lunaria.. I grow the gorgeous variegated Lunaria, and like Anna this year I have 'Corfu Blue' which I am looking forward to. Looking forward to seeing your May garden.

    1. I will have to see if I can find a supply of 'Corfu Blue' seed to grow for next year.

  4. Phew! I was exhausted at just reading about your preparations for your open days Brian.
    Lovely choices and I look forward to seeing how they all do come May.

  5. Thanks Angie, they are all plants that usually very reliable.

  6. Nice write up & exciting times ahead!


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