Hon­esty de­liv­ers some­thing for ev­ery sea­son

Amateur Gardening - - Contents -

IT is hard to go wrong with hon­esty (Lu­naria an­nua), an easy-go­ing bi­en­nial that is as at home in a bor­der as it is in a hedge.

With flam­boy­ant heads of pink or white flow­ers in spring and early sum­mer, and penny-shaped seed­heads that start off green and dry into at­trac­tive golden discs, hon­esty of­fers some­thing for ev­ery time of year.

Sown now, your free Mr Fothergill’s seeds will flower next year in pink and white. Although the dried seed­pods are much in de­mand for in­door ar­range­ments, if left on the plant they will self-seed close by the par­ent. The re­sult­ing seedlings can ei­ther be moved else­where or left to de­velop into at­trac­tive stands of colour.

Hon­esty is a mem­ber of the bras­sica fam­ily and will de­velop deep tap­roots. If you are sow­ing in mod­ules don’t leave it too long be­fore plant­ing out the seedlings as they will start to fade if the roots don’t have enough room.

Be­cause our bor­ders are crammed with sum­mer an­nu­als and peren­ni­als, I am sow­ing ours in a bare patch of soil else­where and will trans­plant the seedlings to their fi­nal grow­ing po­si­tion in au­tumn when there is space avail­able.

Af­ter trans­plant­ing, leave 10in (25cm) between each plant. They will put on lit­tle top growth dur­ing win­ter while the roots de­velop un­der­ground, and will grow again in spring and flower between April and June.

To col­lect the seed­heads for ar­rang­ing, cut while still green and hang up­side down some­where cool to dry.

The bor­ders are full so I’m sow­ing my hon­esty in a spare bed and will move the seedlings when they are large enough Har­vest and dry the green seed­heads

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