Best of the bunch
●● 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.