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Ladybrook Nursery’s favourite summer-flowering perennial

Which are Ladybrook Nursery’s favourite summer-flowering perennial plants? Well, that’s a very difficult question to answer. With all many of beautiful flowering perennials to choose from, narrowing down the list of our particular favourites is a difficult choice indeed. But if we were forced to make a choice, then we’d choose two of the very best, Agapanthus and Stachys. Why Agapanthus and Stachys when there are so many other beautiful summer-flowering perennial to choose from? Well, here’s why:

Agapanthus

Agapanthus, also known as African lily, is one of Ladybrook Nursery’s favourite summer-flowering perennial plants. They are grown primarily for their spectacular flowers which can be white, pink, blue or purple, though our preference is generally for white flowered variety, Aganpanthus. umbellatus albus.

Originating in Southern Africa, Agapanthus have fleshy, rhizomatous rootstocks and are available in both deciduous and evergreen varieties. Although they are generally half-hardy to fully-hardy, they will need some winter protection. The evergreen varieties are generally the more- tender.

Agapanthus will thrive in fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil in a sunny garden position. They will grow in most soils regardless of the pH, with the exception of Aganpanthus. africanus which prefers an acid soil. Avoid planting in shade as the plants will tend to grow poorly or sacrifice flowers for foliage. Water the plants frequently during the flowering season, but sparingly in winter.

If your garden is prone to waterlogging or cold, you can still grow Agapanthus in containers. In terms of winter care, Aganpanthus are best protected by a thick dry mulch of sand or straw. Container grown plants are best over-wintered in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse: warm winter temperatures have been shown to affect the quantity of flowers in subsequent seasons.

Stachys Lanata ‘Silver Carpet’

Stachys lanata, or lamb’s ear, is a fantastic reliable ground cover plant. Ladybrook Nursery’s particular favourite is Stachys lenata ‘Silver Carpet’, which forms a wonderful silver colony or carpet as the name suggests. It’s a resilient hardy plant and doesn’t even mind dry conditions.

Unlike other cultivars of the Stachys genus, Stachys lanata ‘Silver Carpet’ has excellent ground- covering characteristics and forms dense mats of soft, woolly silver-grey leaves. Unlike other members of the Stachys byzantine genus, however Stachys lanata ‘Silver Carpet’ does not flower.

Stachys is reliable and easy to grow and makes a great foil or backdrop for other more flamboyant perennials. It is a very tolerant plant and will grow happily in sun or part shade in a variety of different soils. It can withstand most things, other than being waterlogged. In ideal conditions Stachys lanata ‘Silver Carpet’ will cover the ground with a dense carpet of silver haired leaves in next to no time. It doesn’t need pruning and is resilient to most plant diseases though it can be affected by powdery mildew. It’s also an attractive plant for slugs and snails, so you’ll have to keep your eyes on it.

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