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Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

●● AGA­PAN­THUS (African lily)

These beau­ti­ful peren­ni­als, which bear globes of blue or white flow­ers above stiff up­right stems in sum­mer, used to have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing ten­der, but some va­ri­eties will with­stand frost and come back year af­ter year. Head­bourne Hy­brids, for in­stance, were raised in Bri­tain in the late 1940s, while A. cam­pan­u­la­tus va­ri­eties can also with­stand harsh weather. If you’re plant­ing them in pots don’t give them too much space, as they do bet­ter tightly cush­ioned - although you may have to re­plant them into a big­ger pot ev­ery cou­ple of years. Place them in full sun in well-drained but not dry com­post. Move the con­tainer next to the house or in­su­late it with bub­ble wrap to pro­tect them in win­ter. If you are plant­ing them in a bor­der, they may ben­e­fit from a win­ter mulch of bracken. While blue and white va­ri­eties are the most com­mon, try A. ‘Twis­ter’ (avail­able from www.thompson -mor­gan.com), the first de­cid­u­ous bi-colour aga­pan­thus, which pro­duces globes of white flutes with inky-blue bases.

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