Flowering Super Stars
by
Mary Nourish

On Christmas day 2018 my husband Joe and I walked round the garden and counted how many different species of plants had one or more flowers on them. We counted 54 altogether, some like the roses were looking better than they had all year after finally getting some rain. Some plants really didn’t flower well last summer with the constant high temperature and the dry, and watering really didn’t have the same effect as a good rain. Many plants I think were struggling just to stay alive and didn’t have the strength to send up flowers too. After some rain and a mild autumn and start to winter many plants had a late burst of colour.

One plant that did particularly well in the summer though was Erigeron Annuus. It started to flower in May and continued right up until Christmas. It has small white daisy/aster type flowers and grows to around 5ft. I’d mistakenly planted it at the front of a border and it needed staking but I think further back may not have needed it. It didn’t need dead heading and survived without extra watering so an easy plant to look after. 

Andrew Ward from Norwell Nursery, where I bought my plant says it can be annual, biennial or perennial and gently seeds itself around. I’m hoping to find some seedlings and if there are sufficient will maybe have some to pass on!

Our winter stars though were Anisodontea ‘El Royo’ and Parahebe ‘Snow Clouds’. Both were flowering profusely on Christmas day and the Anisodontea still continues to do so even now at the end of January after the frost. The Parahebe still has a few flowers but not so numerous. 

Anisodontea ‘El Royo’ (again from Norwell Nursery) is an evergreen shrub growing up to 8ft but can be pruned to keep it shorter. It belongs to the mallow family and the pink flowers are very similar in appearance to that family. I have it growing against a south facing wall but it is hardy. If you want to see a large specimen visit Norwell and you’ll find one growing in Andrew’s front garden.

 Anisodontea ‘El Royo’

Parahebe ‘ Snow Clouds’  is a dwarf evergreen shrub with small white flowers that have a pink/purple eye.
This plant didn’t flower quite so well in the summer heat but after it cooled down in September in flowered profusely and continued right up until the recent frost. I’ve found it needs a bit of dead heading but otherwise a fairly low maintenance addition to the front of a border. Mine is growing in a west facing border on a shallow soil on top of clay but seems to thrive.

Parahebe ‘ Snow Clouds’

Photographs were taken on 5th January 2019

If you have any plants that have done particularly well or other items of interest and you’d like to share them with the HPS Rutland Group, John Dyson would love to have them for the website. 

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