Beautiufl dwarf scented wallflowers
command a higher price.
Single colours are perfect for when creating a colourcoordinated scheme, so make sure you add some now to your 2018 seed order. Look out for seeds of the highly-scented varieties ‘Blood Red’, ‘Fire King’ and ‘Vulcan’ plus any belonging to the ‘Giant’ series, which grow especially happily in shade.
For a rich tapestry effect, mingle different-coloured varieties among a batch of tulips and narcissus. Great combos are mahogany-coloured wallflowers in between featheredged parrot tulips in velvety shades of red. Even more dynamic are sunshine-coloured wallflowers with the tulip ‘Davenport’, which has crimson blooms with canary yellow fringes, over a sea of blue forget-me-nots. For a more sophisticated look, plant Tulip ‘Queen of Night’, which is dark purple, beside creamy-yellow wallflowers.
One of the first spring biennials to appear in the garden is honesty or Lunaria annua. It self-seeds prolifically and germinates well from fresh seed when the lovely lunar discs dissolve to quickly produce clumpy rosettes of leaves, which overwinter and start to grow again in February.
Its bee-friendly, faintly scented flowers range in colour from plum through to pale mauve and these produce pods with a purplish wash over them. There is also a white form, Lunaria annua var. alba that produces pods that are pure green, and so perfect for pastel-coloured arrangements. Both become the familiar moon-shaped ‘silver pennies’ when dry and make a wonderful cut flower in autumn.
Look out as well for a white-flowered, variegated honesty, with branching hairy stems bearing nettle-like leaves with strong white markings. Make use of its resilience to dry shade by adding it to a bed of ferns and hardy geraniums.
Forget-me-nots or myosotis are also very promiscuous, self-seeding everywhere, so it’s a good idea to transplant seedlings in winter by the spadeful, spreading them to all corners of the garden. There are pink and white forms as well as many blue varieties to buy, ‘Royal Blue’ being taller than most and one of the best.
Sweet rocket or Hesperis matronalis arrives a little later at around the same time as the foxgloves and, as both provide a splash of lilac or white, the two look very good growing side by side. Both will emerge from self-sown plants, so if you want strict order and control then you’ll need to move them in the autumn, planting them 60cm apart. If you leave this task until spring, the plants will never really recover.
White foxgloves are useful for creating beautiful ghostly effects in a shady border, but subsequent seedlings often revert to purple. It is therefore best to sow fresh seed each year, or to weed out the purple ones by identifying the pink midribs in young plants.
of Night’ White foxgloves will
lift a shady border