Herbaceous & Bulbous

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Acanthus spinosus Spinosissimus Group (new)

Exceptionally deeply divided and particularly spiny, rich green leaves on this most extreme expression of the species from the drier end of its wild range. Spires of soft mauve and white hooded flowers in summer if in full sun, but a splendid mound of textured foliage in any case. Height 120cm.

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Acis (Leucojum) autumnale

Acis (Leucojum) autumnale

Snowflake. Flowers like tiny snowdrops in autumn. White with just a hint of red-pink as they join the stem. Very narrow foliage. 15cm. Sun and drainage; rock garden / path edge.

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Aconitum 'Shiroi Blue'

We found this still to be identified species around the summit of Shiroi Peak, Manipur, growing with Lilium mackliniae in open grassland. Flowering in autumn, the spikes of intense purple-blue reached about 50cm in the wild but would probably be higher in cultivation. For sun or semi-shade.

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Actaea simplex 'Black Négligée'

Leaves emerge green and then turn almost black, perfectly offsetting tall spikes of scented white flowers, in late summer. 150cm. Part shade or sun, but always just moist soil.

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Actaea simplex 'Pink Spike'

Leaves emerge green and then turn almost black, perfectly offsetting tall spikes of scented pink tinged white flowers, in late summer. 120cm. Part shade or sun, with better foliage colour in better light, but always just moist soil.

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Agapanthus 'Black Pantha'

A very richly coloured evergreen type with rounded heads of deep violet-blue flowers opening from very dark buds on stems to 90cm in late summer. For a sunny position in a sheltered border, or in a pot overwintered under glass. This was raised originally as a seedling from open pollinated A. praecox. subsp. orientalis 'Blue', so won't be the hardiest.

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Agapanthus 'Windsor Grey'

Agapanthus 'Windsor Grey'

A rare and choice African Lily cultivar. Huge heads of dove-grey flowers in summer. Height 1m. Sun.

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Agastache 'Black Adder'

Vertical spikes of lavender-purple flowers emerging from very dark buds over a long period from mid to late summer/early autumn. Beloved of butterflies etc, this is a drought resistant plant for well drained soil in sun. Height to 80cm.

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Alchemilla alpina

A tough little arctic-montane perennial forming low clumps of pretty little deeply lobed leaves, each edged with a silvery hairy lining. Yellow flowers in spring/early summer up to 30cm. A much smaller plant than A. mollis for a well drained site in sun or semi shade, excellent at the edge of a border or for self seeding into gravel etc.

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Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii

Babington's or Wild leek. Native to the coastline of Cornwall, The Scillies and S. Wales, this is a wild relative of the cultivated leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum. Makes a striking tall bulbous perennial to 1.8m, topped by a globular head of light-purple flowers in summer. Totally edible, the bulbils produced after the flowers are delicious and garlicky.

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Allium chinense

A hardy evergreen clump forming species, the leaves of which are used like chives in Asian cuisine. The bulbs are also eaten, raw or cooked. Terminal heads of deep mauve flowers in Sept/Oct. Sun.

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Allium hookeri 'Zorami'

Leaves used in Asian cooking, and delicious they are too. A vigorous long flowering clone recently found in Mizoram, NE India by Paul Barney. Relatively tall robust flowering stems with terminal white drumsticks of flower, a favourite of bees. Flowering into December some years. Hardy. Sun.

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Allium senescens subsp. senescens

German garlic or Broadleaved chives is a pretty little late summer Allium for a sunny well drained site. In this form the flower buds are flushed pink, opening to pale pink flowers in July/Aug. All parts are edible.

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Allium wallichii PAB 2976

Attractive deep-purple flowers on stems to 40cm high from July to October. Used as a vegetable in India, Burma and China; all parts are edible. Excellent for semi-shade conditions and therefore well suited to the 'forest gardening' crowd.

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Amicia zygomeris

A most exotic looking large perennial pea from Mexico, with strong growth to about 2.5m. Pinnate foliage has leaflets with indented tips, giving a very distinct effect. Highly conspicuous large pale green, but heavily purple-red stained, stipules on the stems and large deep yellow pea flowers in late summer, makes for a striking specimen! Absolutely bone hardy in my experience, even through Dec' 2010, without a mulch. Sun.

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Anemone hupehensis NJM 11.074

A recent collection we made in Guizhou Province, SW China, were plants were generally pinky-white in flower with the best a beautiful combination of pure white and purple-pink, the petals often nicely spaced, giving a delicate appearance. Height 60cm. Easy in sun or semi-shade, flowering late summer/autumn.

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Anemonopsis macrophylla

A dainty Japanese woodlander; the 2cm, nodding, whitish lavender flowers rise en masse above the foliage in late summer, giving a light, airy appearance to the plant. For humus rich soil in shade, never too dry in summer. Hardy.

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Angelica brevicaulis (new)

From 3000m altitude in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, there is no doubting the hardiness of this species! Making a short stout species in the wild with usually unbranched inflorescences reaching to 1m high, topped by broad distinctive umbels of white flowers. Foliage is composed of broad segments.

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Angelica edulis

From Northern Japan comes this completely perennial species with stems up to 3m in the wild, but about 1.7m if grown in exposure here, so adjust that figure to your conditions accordingly. Big umbels of white flowers on well branched relatively slim stems in summer. Bone hardy, with edible leaves and shoots to boot.

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Angelica hendersonii (new)

Found on the coast of Western North America this has branching stems to 1.5m or more, topped by splendid rounded umbels of creamy white flowers in summer. Foliage is relatively thick textured, woolly underneath, and the whole plant has the feel of a coastal species. Hardy and perennial.

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