Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

VERBASCUM: Th­ese cot­tage gar­den favourites add a valu­able el­e­ment of height to plant­ing schemes, their im­pres­sive flower spikes reach­ing up to 1.5m (5ft).

All are ei­ther bi­en­nial or short­lived peren­ni­als, flow­er­ing in the first or sec­ond sum­mer af­ter sow­ing. They then die, al­though they self-seed read­ily. You can buy them in a range of colours and it’s well worth check­ing out your seed cat­a­logues if you want some new va­ri­eties. They thrive in sun in well-drained, drought-tol­er­ant soils low in nu­tri­ents, so don’t need much look­ing af­ter. Some may not sur­vive over the win­ter, but the more re­li­able va­ri­eties in­clude V. chaixii ‘Gains­bor­ough’, which pro­duces pale prim­rose-yel­low flow­ers and ‘Cotswold Queen’, which has strik­ing yel­low flow­ers and ter­ra­cotta eye.

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