Herbaceous & Bulbous

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Angelica sylvestris 'Ebony'

A gently self-sowing biennial with dark-purple washed foliage and grey-pink umbels of flower on stems to 75cm in summer. Sun or semi-shade. Easy.

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Anthericum ramosum

Anthericum ramosum

A native of Western and Central Europe, producing a cloud of starry white flowers on branched 80cm stems in summer over grassy foliage. For fertile soil in a sunny position. Very hardy.

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Arctotheca calendula

The Cape Marigold from South Africa needs a sunny well drained position in this country, where it never seems to get as vigorously invasive to cause problems. Bright yellow daises in Gazania style are seen in summer. Tolerant of even very dry sandy soils.

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Arisaema costatum

Arisaema costatum

A truly sinister and most impressive beast. The huge veiny trifoliolate leaf stands up to 60cm high, and as it unfolds, there emerges the big, hooded, white-striped, purple flower. From the spathe hangs a long thread that reaches the ground, allowing pollination by ground dwelling creepy-crawlies. Open, well drained, humusy soil in light shade.

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Arisaema ringens

Arisaema ringens

A Cobra lily from the Far East with superb trifoliolate leaves standing 50cm high with bold, broad, glossy leaflets; each leaflet up to about 30cm long with impressed veins. A white striped green and red flowering spathe in this form, with a bulbous hood like Punch's hat. An easy Arisaema for the garden, growing in any well drained soil in semi-shade.

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Artemisia lactiflora NJM 11.010

Our collection from Guizhou, China. White flowers on rather arching stems, to 120cm, in summer. Bright green foliage emerges variably tinged with darker tones. For sun or part shade. Not dry.

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Artemisia pontica

The alcoholic beverages Absinthe and Vermouth both use this herb to good effect, but I use it to introduce fine textured pale-grey, highly aromatic foliage into the garden. Bone hardy and easy in a sunny position where it will form gently spreading mats of upright short stems to about 75cm, with little creamy yellow flowers in summer.

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Aruncus 'Guinea Fowl' (new)

Ferny foliage and deep red stems set of the creamy-white flowers over a long period in summer. A dwarf form, reaching 45cm in flower. Tough and easy in sun or semi-shade.

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Aruncus 'Horatio' (new)

Introduced by the great German breeder Ernst Pagels, this cross between A. aethusifolius and A. dioicus makes a strong bushy clump of fine much divided foliage with red stems ending in branched, open, fingery spikes of cream fluffy flowers in summer. Height 120cm and nearly as much across. Tough and easy in sun or semi-shade.

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Asarum europaeum

The Wild Spikenard is one of the finest of low ground cover foliage perennials for shade, this makes mats of glossy, kidney shaped, well veined foliage with a wonderfully rounded general look. Odd little hooded dark purple-red flowers in spring. For well drained humusy soil, this reaches about 10cm tall by 30cm across.

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Asparagus filicinus NJM 12.024 (new)

A particularly handsome and relatively small growing species found in Manipur, NE India, with branched stems 50 to 70cm tall, arching over with the weight of the tiny, narrow, linear foliage. Black fruit in autumn. Untried for hardiness as yet, but probably pretty tough as a deciduous herbaceous, this would in any case make a very attractive pot plant for foliage effect.

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Asparagus filicinus PAB 13.457 (new)

A particularly handsome and relatively small growing species found in Nagaland, NE India, with branched stems 50 to 70cm tall, arching over with the weight of the tiny, narrow, linear foliage. Black fruit in autumn. Untried for hardiness as yet, but probably pretty tough as a deciduous herbaceous, this would in any case make a very attractive pot plant for foliage effect.

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Asparagus virgatus

Asparagus virgatus

A not too large evergreen species from South Africa with very fine textured foliage on arching stems, reaching about 1m, with thousands of tiny cream flowers and little orange fruit. Drought tolerant, for sun and well drained soil. In my garden it's been perennial, but killed to the ground in very cold winters, sprouting strongly the following spring.

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Aster 'Primrose Path' (new)

Tough, drought tolerant, even in dry shade, Sprays of lilac flowers with maroon centres in late summer/autumn. Foliage gains red tints through the season. Height approx 50cm.

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Aster ageratoides var. scaberulus

We found this on Leigong Shan, Guizhou, SW China where it grew in the shade of trees, forming perennial plants to 80cm tall which had borne mid-sized white flowers in early autumn. Very suitable for dry shade sites

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Aster laevis 'Calliope'

A fine taller growing Aster with masses of smaller bright lavender flowers on a multitude of vertical black-tinted stems from Sept-Nov. Forms airy mildew free clumps to 1.5m tall. Sun or semi-shade.

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Aster schreberi

Excellent for dry shade, this white flowered species from the USA forms gently spreading clumps to about 60cm high. Flowers June to September over bright green foliage, with no mildew! Hardy.

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Aster x herveyi

A tough and tolerant hybrid, even flowering in dry shade, this old favourite produces masses of bright violet-blue daisies before most other Asters, from mid-July. Handsome heart shaped foliage, devoid of mildew. Height 60cm.

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Astilbe rivularis PAB 5238

A striking, very tall species collected in E Manipur. Bold compound foliage makes a good ground hugging mound of large leaflets, giving rise in autumn to 2m high inflorescences of cream-green flowers in pyramidal, airy, branched heads. A real understated beauty of some size, looking great even in seed. For soil that doesn't get too dry.

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Astilbe rivularis var. myriantha

A striking, very tall species with bold compound foliage making a good mound of large leaflets, giving rise in autumn to 2m high inflorescences of creamy-white flowers in pyramidal, airy, branched heads. A real understated beauty of some size, looking great even in seed. For soil that doesn't get too dry. This form originated in Sichuan.

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