Perennials - A to Z

Acanthusmollis

Acanthus (Bear's Breeches)

Acanthus are also known as Bear’s breeches, a name that was adopted centuries ago, the origin of which has long been lost. Originating from the Mediterranean their beauty was appreciated during Greek and Roman times, where the leaf form can be seen carved around the top of tall colonnades.

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Achillea-terracotta10

Achillea (Yarrow)

Achilleas are stately plants with broad, flat heads of colourful, small, round, papery flowers that range from pale yellow, through orange to rich magenta-red. Some varieties have flowers that start one colour and gradually change to another as the centre of the flowers get bigger, giving the whole plant an attractive two-tone appearance.

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Aster-rosa-erfullung4

Asters

Asters are a must for the autumn border. Shaped like a daisy, the flowers can be as small as a 5 pence piece or bigger than a 50 pence piece. The colours tend to be in the blue/lilac or purple bracket, with a good choice of pink tones and white, but no yellow or true reds.

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Bergenia-beethoven5

Bergenia

Mention to a gardener that you like Bergenias (Elephant ears) and you get a long, confused stare as though to say ‘what those boring things!’ But I really do like and respect these robustly formed, immensely useful plants.

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Campanula-iridecent-bells5

Campanula (Bellflower)

There are lots of types of Campanulas, all of which provide the border with a flowery, cottage feel. The other name for this variable bunch is Bellflower for the obvious reason as the flowers are bell-shaped.

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Centaurea-montana10

Centaurea (Knapweed)

These free-flowering, clump-forming plants can be divided into two groups: tall and upright with large, knob-like flowers or short and mounding with flat, wheel-like flowers.

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Delphinium-blue-bird

Delphinium

These stalwarts of the grand herbaceous border offer structure and well-defined height. Although there are many named varieties....

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Echinacea-magnus5

Echinacea (Coneflower)

Put Echinacea (Coneflower) into Google; and the few first pages list the plant's medical properties. But there is more to an Echinacea than a pill or powder.

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Echinops-taplow9

Echinops (Globe thistle)

Echinops, or Globe Thistles, are one of those plants that you either know or you don’t. Popular with gardeners who have space and big, deep herbaceous borders, they tend to be ignored by those who have smaller gardens. This is because most Echinops can be big. If this is a problem for you try Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’ as it is ideal for smaller gardens.

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