Best of the bunch

Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

●● Peren­nial lo­belia UN­LIKE the an­nual blue bed­ding lo­belia which is com­monly used to fill in gaps in sum­mer con­tain­ers or cas­cades from hang­ing bas­kets, peren­nial lo­belias are tall, el­e­gant, strik­ing plants with flow­ers in pink, red or pur­ple.

A par­tic­u­larly hardy type is L. siphi­lit­ica which forms sturdy stems grow­ing to 1m (3.5ft) and long spike-like clus­ters of sky-blue flow­ers.

Many have a rep­u­ta­tion for not be­ing hardy, but L. car­di­nalis can tol­er­ate cold. How­ever, it pays to grow them some­where shel­tered in full sun and to give them a thick win­ter mulch. L ‘Queen Vic­to­ria’, a scar­let va­ri­ety, is ideal for fill­ing gaps left by early flow­er­ing plants and looks stun­ning paired with rud­beckia for late sum­mer colour.

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