Keeping it low

PUBLISHED: 12:59 31 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:59 31 May 2016

Helianthemum 'Supreme'

Helianthemum 'Supreme'

Keith Clouting

Plant specialist Keith Clouting of Taverham Nursery Centre brings you his guide to getting the best out of your garden

Helianthemum 'Ben Fhada'Helianthemum 'Ben Fhada'

I often get requests for low maintenance plants, and a species that fits well in this category is the Helianthemums which put on a fabulous show at this time of year. Helianthemums or rock roses are tough little members of the cistus family. They form an evergreen carpet of green or silvery leaves which are covered in a glorious display of flowers from spring to midsummer. They are widely available and there is a good range of colours and varieties to choose from.

Among my favourites are H.‘Ben Fhada’, which has bright yellow flowers with a golden blotch in the centre of each petal; H.‘Supreme’ is another fabulous variety with its vibrant magenta-red flowers, also H. ‘Prima Donna’ with its pale pink flowers which blend well with its silvery foliage. Helianthemums thrive in well-drained soil in full sun. Trim after flowering to keep tidy and get a possible second flush of flowers in late summer.

Another sun-loving plant looking good now is Eryngium planum ‘Jade Frost’. Introduced a few years ago, this variegated sea holly has a long period of interest. In spring it has a rosette of grey-green and creamy white leaves which are flushed rosy-pink in cold weather. Flowering stems are produced in early summer, topped with white flowers at first which turn a rich violet blue as they age. Eryngiums thrive in a sunny spot; they prefer well-drained soil but are quite adaptable and will grow in most soils but resent waterlogged conditions.

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