Plant Guide

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Cut flower


Helleborus argutifolius

Corsican hellebore, holly-leaved hellebore, Corsican rose

Evergreen, clump-forming perennial native to Corsica and Sardinia. Large, leathery leaves with three toothed leaflets 10-20 cm long and 4-5 cm across. Unlike Helleborus orientalis, Helleborus argutifolius has no basal foliage; the leaves are carried on stout, upright stems. Clusters of bowl-shaped pale green flowers to 5 cm wide, during late winter and early spring. Closely related to Helleborus lividus with which it hybridises freely. Size varies with growing conditions and may also reflect genetic variation.

Synonyms: Helleborus corsicus, Helleborus lividus subsp. corsicus 

Less frost-hardy than Helleborus orientalis, but tolerates medium frosts. Adaptable to most well-draining soils except heavy clay. Shade tolerant, but flowers best in a sunny position. Shady conditions promote the growth of long, weak stems. Self-seeds easily. Thinning of the seedlings is advisable so that they don't smother the original plant.


Helleborus orientalis

Lenten rose, Winter rose, Lenten hellebore, Oriental hellebore

Clump-forming, evergreen, relatively slow growing perennial with palmately compound leaves and nodding flowers during winter. Native to Greece, Turkey and around the Black Sea. Leathery dark green leaves with 7 to 9 coarsely toothed leaflets, 15-25 cm long. Flowers (5-8 cm across) resemble single rose flowers, and are held above the foliage in loose clusters. Colours range from pure white to pink or dark red, often spotted. All parts are poisonous. Sap may cause skin irritation. In cold climates, Helleborus orientalis is semi-evergreen.

Most hellebores sold as Helleborus orientalis belong to a large group of hybrids, now collectively known as Helleborus x hybridus. Many of the latter have their own name. For example, the stunning deep red flowers in the close-up photograph belong to the hybrid Helleborus 'Anna's Red'.

Prefers partial or full shade and moist, well-drained neutral or slightly alkaline soil. Tolerates drier conditions once established. Dislikes being disturbed, so may take a while to recover after transplanting. Naturalises in suitable climates. Plants are propagated from seed or by dividing large plants in late summer. Old, unsightly leaves can be removed in autumn before the flowers and new leaves appear.

Great ground covering plant for shady gardens. Since the flowers are quite subtle and delicate both in colour and size, they are best used en masse in smaller areas. The leaves contrast beautifully with hostas or ferns. Suitable as cut flowers, but flowers last longer when you allow them to float in a shallow bowl of water.


Liatris spicata

(dense or marsh) blazing star, (Kansas, prairie, or spike) gay feather, button snake root, button snakewort

Clump-forming herbaceous perennial, native to moist habitats in eastern USA and parts of Canada. Long flower spikes with rosy purple, fluffy flower heads. From early summer, flowers open gradually from the top of the spike downwards. Grass-like leaves, mid green, 10-30 cm long, becoming progressively shorter along the flowering stems. Several cultivars are available, including white flowering, and dwarf forms. Attracts butterflies, bees, moths and hummingbirds.

Liatris spicata has numerous synonyms, including Kuhnia spicata, Lacinaria spicata, Suprago spicata, and Serratula spicata.

Prefers a sunny position in any moist, but well-drained soil. Also grows well in partial shade, and, except in sandy soils, is able to cope with some drought. Cut back to near ground level after flowering. Can be propagated by dividing the tuberous roots in early spring. Frost hardy.

Looks best when planted in groups in the middle of borders, in particular when combined with plants that have different flower shapes, such as daisies, Echinacea, and dahlias. Suitable for coastal gardens. Long-lasting cut flower, and can be dried too.


Muscari armeniacum

grape hyacinth, Armenian grape hyacinth

Small, perennial, early spring-flowering bulb to about 20 cm tall. Slightly fragrant blue, purple or white flowers in dense 5 cm long spikes, resembling clusters of upside-down grapes. Narrow, linear leaves appear in autumn and die down in summer after which they can be removed. Reproduces by offsets from the main bulb and seed dispersal.

Occurs naturally in forests and meadows of Eastern Mediterranean regions.

Prefers full sun or partial shade and well drained soil. Generally trouble-free, but susceptible to root rot in wet sites. Divide large clumps in summer.

Looks great when planted in groups.


Nerine sarniensis

Guernsey lily, Jersey lily, red nerine, berglelie

Perennial bulb, native to South Africa, with strap-shaped leaves and umbels of up to 20 lily-like flowers. The plant is dormant during summer, sending up flower stems in early autumn, with new leaves emerging soon afterwards. The leaves are rather like those of Agapanthus. The bright reddish orange flowers are funnel-shaped with recurved petals and protruding stamens. Breeding has led to several hybrids and cultivars with flower colours ranging from white to pink, red, and purple.

It is not clear how bulbs of this South African plant ended up on the island of Guernsey more than 300 years ago, but they continue to be grown there for cut flower production.

Nerine sarniensis prefers well-draining soil and full sun or a position where it receives sunlight for at least half of the day. Plant with the top part of the bulb (neck) exposed. Keep dry during summer, but, depending on the amount of rain fall, regular watering may be required during the growing season. Careful with fertilising, in particular with fertilsers high in nitrogen; this may encourage leaf-growth at the expense of flower production. Flowering can be erratic and fluctuating from year to year, possibly due to variations in environmental conditions.Tolerates brief periods of moderate frosts. Propagate by division, detaching the new bulbs that form around the main bulb, and replanting them straight away.

Allow this beauty to be the star of early autumn and combine with plants that take over that role at other times of the year. Flowers last well on water. If you live in an area with cold winters, you can still enjoy Nerine sarniensis by growing the plant in a container and moving it indoors to overwinter in a well-lit place with good ventilation.


Phlomis russeliana

Turkish sage, (sticky) Jerusalem sage

Evergreen perennial, native to Turkey and Syria, forming large clumps of large, heart-shaped, grey-green, rough-textured, aromatic leaves. Pale yellow flowers arranged in whorls on hairy, erect stems, appear in late spring or early summer. The flowers turn into brown seed-heads that persist on the plant well into winter, providing food for seed eating birds. The nectar in the flowers attracts bees and butterflies.

Synonym: Phlomis samia. Sometimes referred to as Phlomis viscosa.

Prefers a sunny position in well-draining, sandy soil. Copes well with partial shade too. Usually trouble-free and easy to grow. Once established Phlomis russeliana tolerates dry conditions. Cut back to near ground-level in late autumn, winter, or any time you no longer want the seedheads.  Frost hardy (USDA zones 4-9). Propagate from seed or division. Seed-propagated plants flower from their second year on.

A gorgeous plant with year-round interest; beautiful, bold ground-covering foliage with strong, stout flowering stems and attractive seed-heads. Once in flower, Phlomis russeliana can be quite dominant, so find a spot in your garden where it can be the primadonna, or combine with plants that have equally strong personalities to make a real show.


Phylica pubescens

featherhead, flannel flower

Evergreen shrub from South Africa with narrow grey-green leaves densely covered with soft hairs. Tiny flowers with a very mild cinnamon scent, surrounded by showy, hairy, golden creamy bracts appear at the ends of the branches in autumn through to late winter. Often sold as the smaller growing Phylica plumosa (.3-.6 m tall).

Happiest in full sun and well-draining soil. Copes well with dry conditions and is suitable for coastal gardens. Tolerates light to medium frosts (to about -6 degrees Celsius).

This would be the perfect plant for a 'tactile' garden; it feels so nice and soft. Lasts well on water as a cut flower or cut foliage, and can also dried. Once in flower, Phylica pubescens looks amazing since the whole plant is usually covered with its unusual flowers.


Protea neriifolia 'Limelight'

Evergreen shrub with lanceolate leaves, flowering mainly during autumn and winter with creamy-green flower-heads with purple-red tufts on the bracts. Similar to, but a smaller shrub with smaller flowers than 'Green Ice'

'Limelight' (= 'Green Jade') is a cultivar developed in 1950 in New Zealand, originating from the oleander-leaved or narrow-leaved Protea neriifolia, which is endemic to South Africa.

Prefers a sunny position in acidic, and relatively poor soil. Any soil type is suitable but it must be well-draining. A yearly application of blood and bone in spring is recommended, but otherwise keep the nutrient levels low and don't apply any further fertilisers. In general, proteas dislike humidity, so a relatively windy site is ideal, since the wind keeps the humidity down. Staking will be required in very windy locations. No additional watering is necessary, except maybe in extremely dry summers. Mulch to keep the weeds down or grow as a lawn specimen, to limit the need to remove weeds around the plant and thus disturb its sensitive, shallow root system. They can be pruned quite heavily, but not beyond the foliage. Remove dead and damaged wood, as well as the by-pass shoots that the develop just below the flower-head. Suitable for coastal conditions.

Striking plant when in flower. Perfect for coastal gardens. The flowers (and foliage) last for ages on water. Just be careful not to "kill them by kindness"!


Rosa 'Andrea Jane'

Hybrid tea rose, flowering in flushes throughout the season with showy, delicately perfumed flowers and dark green foliage. Large, 10-14 cm wide, double flowers with creamy white and pale yellow petals and rosy pink edges.  

Registration name: Rosa 'MACberli'. Bred by Sam McGredy (New Zealand).

Prefers a position in full sun and any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Frost-hardy, but may need some protection from spring frosts in cold climates. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter.

Gorgeous full flowers with beautiful colour combinations. Good for sunny beds and borders. Excellent for cutting.


Rosa 'Class Act'

Vigorous, but well-behaved floribunda rose with dark green foliage, flowering continuously throughout the season with small clusters. Yellow buds with a hint of reddish, opening to semi-double, pale lemon yellow to white flowers, gradually revealing yellow stamens. Very faint fragrance only. Attractive hips.

Bred by William A. Marriner (USA, 1988). Registered as Rosa 'JACare'. Also traded as Rosa 'First Class' or Rosa 'White Magic'.

Prefers a sunny or lightly shaded position in any, well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring, and again in early summer. Dead-head during the season. Good disease resistance. Prune in winter or early spring. Frost-hardy; tolerates -20 deg C. 

Rosa 'Class Act' is a very classy rose with strong, straight stems and beautiful, long-pointed buds with delicate colour combinations of yellow and a little bit of red. Initially the flowers themselves are white with a pale yellow sheen, maturing to white and opening to show the yellow stamens.  Good all-round performer in groups or as a single specimen in beds, borders, or containers. Suitable for cutting. 


Rosa 'Dark Moments'

Vigorous floribunda rose with glossy dark green foliage and russet brown flowers with a clove-like fragrance. Flowers are medium-sized, and are produced throughout the season in both small and large clusters. May produce long stems in autumn, reducing flower production later in the season.

Registration name: Rosa 'Simdamo'. Bred by Nola Simpson (New Zealand) from a cross between Rosa 'Mary Sumner' and Rosa 'Kirsty Jayne'.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter. Good disease resistance, but may get some powdery mildew. Grows wider than many other roses, so needs to be given sufficient space.

Who wouldn't like a rose with flowers in the colour of dark chocolate! The flowers hold their unusual colour well (unlike some other brown roses). Good for cutting. 


Rosa 'Easy Going'

Repeat-flowering floribunda rose with a rounded habit, lightly perfumed flowers and glossy bright green foliage. Flowers with about 25-30 wavy, apricot-coloured petals, 10 cm wide. Grows on its own root system.

Registration name: Rosa 'HARflow'. Developed by Harkness (UK) from a sport of Rosa 'Fellowship' (=Rosa 'Livin' Easy'), and is very similar in every way except for the flower colour.

Prefers a position in full sun and any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter. Good disease resistance.

Combines beautifully with blue or mauve flowering plants such as delphiniums, lavenders and catnip. Great in groups or as a single specimen for flower display in borders. Excellent for cutting. Suitable for containers. Can be grown as a standard.


Rosa 'Fellowship'

Repeat-flowering floribunda rose with glossy mid to dark green foliage and scented flowers. Bright, dark orange flower buds open to two-toned, 9 cm wide flowers with ruffled petals, apricot orange with yellow towards the center. Flowers are solitary or produced in clusters. Moderate citrus fragrance. Grows on its own root system.  

Registration name: Rosa 'HARwelcome', bred by Harkness (UK). Rosa 'Fellowship' was named for the Rotary movement in the UK, but was introduced as Rosa 'Livin' Easy' in the USA.

Prefers a position in full sun and any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Good disease resistance, including black spot. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune to about 1/3 height in early winter.

Free-flowering rose with gorgeous colour combinations of perfectly formed dark orange buds with lighter orange and yellow mature flowers. Suitable for flower display in beds, borders or containers. Great for cutting.


Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink'

Bushy rose with wide-spreading, arching branches. Carmine pink, semi-double flowers, 3-4 cm wide, in large clusters throughout the season. Glossy mid to dark green foliage.

Bred by Werner Noack (Germany). Registered as Rosa 'NOAtraum'. Commercially available as Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink', 'Blooming Carpet', 'Emera', 'Emera Pavement', 'Foral Carpet, and 'Heidetraum'.

Suitable for a sunny or partially shaded position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring, and again in early summer. Excellent disease resistance. Remove spent flower clusters to promote subsequent flower production, or leave on the shrub to eventually reveal small, dark orange hips. Prune during winter. 

Rosa 'Flower Carpet Pink' is an easy care rose, covered with masses of brilliant pink flowers from late spring to late autumn. Unfortunately the flowers are not fragrant. No particular skill is required to grow and care for this top performer. To prune; simply reduce the height of the shrub to about 1/3 of its height. Although this rose is generally marketed as a ground-cover shrub, remember that it can grow to about 0.5-1 m in one season. The rose in the photos grows in a position that only receives late afternoon sunlight in summer, and none for the rest of the year.


Rosa 'Fond Memories'

Floribunda rose with mid to dark green foliage, flowering in flushes throughout the season. Small clusters of mildly fragrant, pale pink to apricot flowers, fading to creamy white.

Registration name Rosa 'MACkrasna'. Bred by Sam McGredy (1998, New Zealand) from a cross between Rosa 'Sexy Rexy' and Rosa 'Marijke Koopman'. The miniature rose Rosa 'Kirfelix', bred by Gordon Kirkham (UK, 1999) is also known as Rosa 'Fond Memories'.

Prefers a sunny position in any well-draining soil with a generous amount of organic matter. Fertilise in early spring and again in early summer. Dead-head during the flowering season and prune in winter. Good disease resistance.

Vigorous rose with perfectly shaped flowers in lovely soft colours. Combines well with other pastel shades in particular white, pale blue and lavender. Can be grown as a standard or a bush for flower display in beds and borders, as a single specimen or in groups. Suitable for picking.