When Criss and I were last in England we went to Wisley. The Achillea trials were being held in Portsmouth Field next to M25. The roar of the traffic was so awful that we nearly turned back before we got to the trials.
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.
A fine new dwarf, very dark flowered seedling of Agapanthus ‘Guilfoyle’ which was raised by Dennis Norgate who generously let me have a few plants. ‘Blue Diamond’ makes an evergreen mound of strappy leaves some 40 cm by 60cm.
A superb variety of shade loving groundcover. Its evergreen glossy dark purple almost black foliage makes a dense carpet in any shady spot which doesn’t parch during summer. Showy spikes of deep blue flowers on 25 cm tall stems are produced in spring.
This most graceful ornamental grass was given the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society for very good reasons. Thin arching evergreen leaves turn copper, gold and orange during autumn and winter.
It’s a long time since we sold this Anthemis which came to Lambley from Cruden Farm more than 20 years ago. The evergreen mounds of mossy green fernlike leaves, much cut and divided, are smothered in warm soft lemon daisies from mid spring until mid summer.
This plant, a hybrid between Anthemis tinctoria and the grey leaved spring flowered A. cupaniana, combines the good points of each. Flattish mounds of greyish fern like leaves are covered in the loveliest creamy lemon daisies for months on end from mid-spring to autumn.
This perennial snapdragon from the hills of Morocco and Spain which, during late spring and summer, carries rose pink flowers on short stems over mounds of blue-green fuzzy foliage. In hot districts a little light shade is beneficial otherwise it is happy in full sun.
An old favourite (we first listed this in our 1987 catalogue) this columbine carries large, elegant, long spurred flowers with carmine petals and white corollas nicely spaced on 60-80cm tall stems during mid to late spring and early summer.
Aquilegia ‘Denver Gold’ was selected by the Denver Botanic Gardens for its ability to produce a second crop of flowers after the first flush is finished. Large, elegant, long spurred lemon yellow flowers are produced on 60-80cm tall stems during spring and summer.
An heirloom variety of columbine with fully double burgundy coloured flowers in spring. Happy in any sunny or lightly shaded position as long as the soil isn’t allowed to parch. Cutting back after flowering will promote the growth of a mound of lovely blue-green leaves.
This Manzanita can be kept clipped to a metre tall, or allowed to become a 2m shrub. Producing pure white lily-of-the-valley flowers during late winter spring. Rarely offered in Australia. Drought tolerant when established and will grow happily in sun or light shade.
From the dry western areas of the USA beautiful in all its parts from the burnished copper-bronze twisted trunks to its wonderful large grey-green leaves and exquisite lily-of-the-valley flowers. Thoroughly drought tolerant when once established.
Growing a mere 15cm tall but spreading up to 150cm, ‘Green Bay’ makes a dense carpet of small dark green leathery leaves. Nodding pink, lily-of-the-valley flowers are produced in late winter and early spring when the shrub has matured.
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.
This vigorous silver foliage plant is an important element in our double borders where we have it planted near Aster x frikartii and Salvia ‘Raspberry Royal’. A tough, sun loving shrub it soon makes a 90cm wide by 60cm tall mound.
One of the best evergreen plants for shade, even dry shade, this is a superb clone with wider, longer, waxier and more arching leaves than the type. Masses of white shooting star, lily like flowers are produced in spring and summer.
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.
‘Sea Heart’, a stunning new introduction, has strong textured heart shaped silver leaves with green edging and green veins. 50cm tall stems of blue for-get-me-not flowers are produced during late spring and early summer.
‘Silver Heart’ is a wonderful new introduction with silver heart shaped leaves lightly veined green. The leaves are strongly textured and stand heat and humidity well. Blue for-get-me-not flowers are produced on 50cm tall stems during late spring and early summer.
A really good foliage and flowering plant for shade. Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ has silver, heart shaped basal leaves which are hidden during spring and early summer by clouds of true blue for-get-me-not flowers held well above the foliage on thin wiry stems.
The clearest pink flowered of all the Buddlejas. Very large trusses over a long season and handsome grey leaves. One of our favourites and a mainstay in our double borders where we cut it down to 80cm each winter. 200cm x 180cm. Sun loving and drought tolerant.