This Achillea was raised by the great English nurseryman Alan Bloom whom I had the privilege of meeting before he died a few years ago. To my mind it is one of, if not the best of all Achilleas as it is beautiful both in flower and in foliage.
Ernst Pagels, the great German nurseryman who did much breeding work on ornamental grasses, took on Achilleas at the age of 90 with great success. The last time I was in England Pagels’ plants were the stars at the RHS Achillea trials at Wisley.
The most exciting agapanthus we have grown with flowers as dark as any evergreen agapanthus. It makes huge heads of waxy midnight-blue flowers. Each head will flower for 6-8 weeks and secondary flower stems carry the display into autumn.
One of the lowest growing of all the Agapanthus this variety makes evergreen clumps of short upright dark green leaves. During summer quite large heads of white flowers are produced. It will make a fine edging plant as it doesn’t spread much. Foliage clumps 20cm by 40cm.
The very best perennial Allium suitable for a wider range of climates than the bulbous forms and not requiring a deep winter chill. It makes a compact upright clump of glossy green, narrow strap-like leaves.
This charming grey foliage plant looks best spilling over a retaining wall but is also great for a spot in the rock garden or front of the border. During early spring it is a mass of frothing soft lemon.
The best of its kind this evergreen shrub hardly ever stops flowering although I trim it back a third or more in early winter to promote lots of new growth the following season. As it flowers on new wood nothing is lost.
This, one of the best silver foliage plants, has been a mainstay of our double borders for years. It's planted next to the deep violet flowered Salvia nemorosa ‘Mainacht’. Artemisia ‘Valerie Finnis’ makes a dramatic suckering thicket of large jagged silver leaves.
A plant of mostly dry ground in the eastern parts of the USA, this species does well for us. Aster ‘Calliope’ was raised in the 1890s at the RHS gardens and is more elegant in flower than most Easter daisies.
‘Ruby Buttons’ is one of a new breed of Easter Daisy bred for the commercial cut flower trade as much as for the garden. 100cm tall stems clothed in glossy green, pointed leaves carry heads of full double ruby purple flowers in autumn.
This new Buddleja variety has a succession of true pink flowers for many months from early summer until autumn. Relatively dwarf it will grow some 150cm tall by a little more across. Like all of its kin it is beloved by butterflies.
In his superb book Guide To Plants Paul Bangay writes that this ornamental grass, which he has planted in his own garden, is "a stand-out plant that makes a huge statement when planted en masse...the first to flower and the last to finish".
This is a really good trailing groundcover for a shady spot in the garden where for many spring and summer months it will cover itself with upward facing white eyed, lavender-blue flowers. Evergreen and very tough needing only the occasional watering when once established.
I’ve grown Ceanothus ‘Blue Sapphire’ for the past five or six years and it is a terrific plant, making long low gracefully arching stems covered by small very dark green, almost black glossy leaves. The whole mound is smothered by dark blue flowers in spring.
This early spring flowering Ceanothus is covered in white flowers by the beginning of September. Small dark green wedge shaped leaves are held on grey stems. Ceanothus ‘Snowball’ makes a mounding plant 250cm tall by twice as much wide.
A 19th century French hybrid between the deciduous C. americana from eastern U.S.A. and the evergreen C. caeruleus from Mexico. Later to flower than the Californian species it has a long season with us.
This vigorous evergreen shrub, with dark green glossy leaves, has grown 150cm tall by 3 metres wide in my garden where it is planted in a hot dry sunny spot. During late winter and spring large heads of gentian blue flowers make a prolific display.
The dense carpet of silver grey leaves is smothered by pure white flowers during the warmer months. Happy in any sunny well drained spot and is drought hardy once established. 10cm tall by 60cm across.