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What they say...

The different textures, tints and tones gives this garden a real depth and quality that changes constantly.
Andy Sturgeon. The Guardian Weekend

Desperate Plea! Boxes!

We spend many hours collecting boxes from a number of sources for you to take your plants home in. It is an enormous help therefore if you can provide your own boxes and moreover a sure way of becoming a favourite customer! Many thanks.

Marchants Snowdrops

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Plant Inventory: Herbaceous Perennials

ACANTHUS dioscoridis. In early summer over spineless, grey-green leaves, flower stems rise to little more than 30cm, bearing beautiful clear pink flowers. To our eyes, the gem of the genus, revelling in a baked, hot spot.
*A. mollis ‘Rue Ledan’. An extremely beautiful white flowered form, apparently the result of a dog’s regularly cocked leg on the type plant! My own experiments in the garden with this technique have proved fruitless so far. Full sun. 2m.

ACHILLEA. After several years of trying hard to please these plants, ironically, their ‘Achilles Heel’ has proved to be a complete abhorrence of our wet clay soil and wet winters alike. Yarrows are undoubtedly plants of free draining limestone soils including chalk on which they can excel.
A. ‘Credo’. Lemon yellow ‘Plates’, brilliant for the middle tier of the border. 120cm.
*A. grandifolia. Whilst this species may not rock the boat its white flowers and pleasing cut green foliage possess great charm. Unlike most other Yarrows this one has a will to live. 1m.
A. ‘Lachsschonheit’. Best described as salmon pink, fading to weathered pale pink. 70cm.
A. ‘Mondpagode’. Cream-yellow flowers make an imperceptible transition to a mute greyish white, a colour held for many weeks in summer. 90cm.
A. ‘Red Velvet’. A seductive crimson-red, the best we have seen in this colour range. 60cm
A. ‘Walther Funcke’. Dusky red flowers with a mustard eye giving a ‘Tribal Rug’ effect. One of the finest new Achilleas. 75cm.

ACONITUM. The stately Monkshoods for the little input they demand offer in return rich rewards. The following reveal the colour variation and length of season we now find among them.
A. c. ‘Kelmscott’. Fine spikes of rich blue flowers to enrich the September border. 2m.
A. c. var. wilsonii. The last to flower with handsome spikes of rich, violet-blue hooded flowers. Marvellous in association with tawny coloured Heleniums. Flowers of this colour and quality are worth their weight in gold. 2m.
A. nappelus ‘Bergfurst’. Another early bird with spires of dusky, dark blue hooded flowers in July. 120cm.
A. ‘Stainless Steel’. From Holland, the spikes of muted grey-blue flowers of this notable recent introduction has turned more than a few eyes. 1.5m.
A. ‘Spätlese’. An uncommon form with large, pale violet flowers from pale green buds. September. 1.5m.

AGAPANTHUS. No plants match the African Lily in the floral pageant. Flowering from mid-summer, their flower heads come mainly in the blue and violet-purple spectrum, not forgetting white, with heights varying between 30cm and 150cm. It is old hat to think of them as plants for pots only. They respond best when given hearty soil in full sun where they should reward one with flowers for many years. Do consider however when planting their dislike for being overshadowed by aggressive neighbours. The following are hardy, trouble free, and tough as old boots and are propagated the old fashioned way, that is from seed and by division.

*Agapanthus ‘Best Barn Blue’. Quite small heads of pendulous, tubular, dark inky blue flowers give this plant a great presence. August/September flowering. 90cm.
A. ‘Bressingham Blue’. An old timer of A.inapertus persuasion. Small heads of intense, deep blue flowers. 70cm.
A. campanulatus ssp. patens. Fist sized heads of large flared mid blue flowers. A well behaved, neat plant, very hardy and also extremely east to please. 70cm.
A. caulescens. Strong unflowered young plants raised from wild collected South African seed. Uncommon.
A. caulescens. Open pollinated strapping 2 year old seedlings to flower this year of this rare and beautiful plant. Likely to show variation. 75cm+
A.‘Findlay’s Blue’. Slender arching 90cm stems support handsome rich blue, campanulate flowers. A plant I first came across at Powis Castle, it has settled very well in our Sussex clay.
A. inapertus. Clustered in small heads the mid-blue flowers heads of this species are pendulous, hanging like lapis gem-stones. Divisions of the true plant. 90cm.
*A. ‘Jodie’. Tall and late (September), this fine hybrid from doyen of Agapanthus, Dick Fulcher has flattish heads of rich mid-blue flowers.
A. ‘Kew White’. A tough, dependable plant acquired from Great Dixter who received it from Kew. Handsome broad leaves and pristine white flowers with dark anthers. 75cm.
A. ‘Lady Moore’. Forming tight clumps this is reckoned to be one of the best short white forms. Small head’s of flowers. 45cm.
A. ‘Lilliput’. Brilliant blue flared flowers. At 40cm it is ideal for the border front or pots alike. 40cm.
A. ‘Marchants Best Blue Seedlings’. Large, strong 3 year flowering sized plants raised from our very best hybrids. Should knock the ubiquitous ‘Headbourne Hybrids’ into a cocked hat.
*A. ‘Marchants Cobalt Cracker’. The sheer brilliance of the blue of this new introduction stops most people in their tracks. Need we say more. 70cm.
A. ‘Midnight Blue’. An old and legendary variety from the Slieve Donard Nursery bearing heads of intense, deep blue narrow tubed flowers in July/August. 40cm.
A. ‘Peter Pan’. Our plant scaled to a dizzy 15cms last year, and flowered freely too. A world record? I should have taken photos as proof. Divisons offered.
*A. ‘Podge Mill’. Of Irish lineage this free flowering form with its dark anthered white flowers is a little taller than A. ‘Lady Moore’ and fills a useful niche. 60cm.
A. praecox flore pleno. Balloon like striped buds pop open to reveal huge multipetalled, double flowers. Needs patience. Divisions offered. 40cm.

AGASTACHE rugosa. A Korean herb with sweet aromatic foliage and numerous slender spikes of violet-blue flowers. In its quiet way, it always impresses us. 45cm.
A. rugosa hybrid. Seedlings of a particularly strong plant rogued out of a batch of the above, but in all other respects very similar. 90cm.

ALCHEMILLA erythropoda. All the attributes of ‘Lady’s Mantle’ but on a Lilliputian scale making it perfect for smaller scale plantings. 5cm. Full sun.
A. venosa. A plant I grew at the beginning of my gardening carreer (30 years ago!) and enjoyed to this day. Exactly halfway in proportion between the above and the ubiquitous A. mollis.

ALLIUM schoenoprasum. ‘Black Isle Blush’. A strong growing selection with ghostly white flowers flushed pale lilac-mauve. AGM in 1995. 35cm.
A. s. ‘New Selection’. A seedling of the following discovered here with similar pink flowers and a ‘Thatcher’ like vigour. Not for everyone perhaps! 40cm.
*A. s. ‘Pink Perfection’. A fine pink form, good for border and cooking alike. Received an AGM in 1995 from the RHS who must know their onions. 35cm.
A. senescens var. glaucum. An excellent border front candidate, with intriguingly twisted foliage topped with domed heads of lilac-pink flowers on 20cm spikes.
A. senescens subsp. montanum. Humble maybe, but extremely valuable for its neat foliage and late heads of lavender-mauve flowers in September. 20cm.
A. ‘Summer Beauty’. A distinct and strong growing form of A. senescens with larger heads of flowers than is usual.
A. sikkimense. A beautiful blue chive from a wild Chinese collection which has been much admired here. 35cm
A. ‘Valerie Finnis’. Another charming small onion with dense clusters of cup shaped biscuit coloured flowers. For rockery, sink or raised bed in full sun. 15cm.

ALTHAEA cannabina. From a tight rootstock, twiggy stems grow to 1.8m or more supporting through summer 2cm wide palest pink hollyhock like flowers backed by green calyces. Charming and easy given good drainage.

AMSONIA hubrichtii. Narrower foliage than its kin, but with typical, starry flowers. Ginger-gold autumn foliage colour.
A. hubrichtii hybrids. Strong growing plants with narrow leaves and starry, china blue flowers in summer. In autumn the coloured foliage makes a serious contribution. 70cm.
A. illustris. Amsonia are in the family of Apoycynaceae (as if you didn’t know). This one has broad, willow shaped leaves which also colour well and typical starry flowers in pale turquoise blue. A martyr to drought years as are they all. 90cm.
A. jonesii. A sp. new to us with the remarkable attribute of conspicuous golden veins to the first flush of spring foliage. 45cm. These seed raised plants may show variation.
A. orientalis. Awash with small starry slatey-blue flowers (not unlike the Periwinkle’s) displayed on willowy leaved stems through early summer. An exercise in understatement. 40cm.
A. tabernaemontana var. salicifolia. Dark stems support broader leaves than the above but the typical small flowers are pale blue with a hint of turquoise. 60cm.

ANEMONE pavonina. The Peacock anemone is named after the exotic bird, Pavo major. Their Iridescent colours – shocking, wicked pinks, mauves, magentas, etc. in Feb/March are as garish as they get. Lots of sun and good drainage. 30cm.
The following are all superb plants for the late summer/autumn and once settled require little attention.
A. hupehensis. Asymmetrical single flowers, deep carmine pink. The richest toned of all our autumn anemones and a beautiful foil for late aconitums 1m+.
*A. hupehensis ‘China Pink’. A lovely soft rose pink form singled out from a flowering batch of seed raised plants.
*A x hybrida ‘Geante des Blanches’. Large semi-double white flowers, the narrow ray petals forming a rather flat flower. Robust. 1.2m.
A. x h. ‘Pamina’. Rich carmine-pink flowers, semi-double, making a worthy contrast to the single pinks above. 60cm.

ANEMONELLA. Charming North American woodlanders with thalictrum-like foliage and delicate anemone-like flowers to match the innocence of spring. They require humus rich, open soil in partial shade and some care and attention. The following are divisions of lovely seedlings selected here. They have taken years to bulk.
A. t. Clone A. Semi double blush pink flowers. A ballerina’s tutu in miniature. 10cm.
A. t. Semi double C. Palest pink but as above.

ANTHEMIS. Most possess finely cut fresh-green or grey-green foliage. Their daisy flowers in varying shades of yellow and white give colour over a tremendously long season. All they require is full sun and reasonable drainage.
A. ‘Cally Cream’. A much praised selection with kind to the eye cream flowers throughout summer. 70cm.
A. punctata ssp. cupaniana. What a great plant this is, with large white daisies produced for months on end over a spreading skirt of silvery foliage. 30cm.
A. t. ‘Sauce Hollandaise’. The palest flowered of the Anthemis with cream-yellow flowers. Serve with Alchemilla or Salvia for a delicious border treat. 60cm.

ANTHERICUM ramosum. Delicate, airy flight of white flowers like little lilies on branched stems. For some strange reason an under used plant, though much used here and a great favourite. 60cm.

AQUILEGIA. Our good old friends (or enemies!) the columbines are so adaptable and profligate with their offspring that they might well successfully conquer the garden! Yet who could live without them?
A. formosa. An attractive and elegant North American woodland species with brightly coloured flowers, the petals being yellow and the long spurs soft red. 45cm
A. ‘Miss Coventry’. An elegant long spurred, pale yellow selection of A. longissima raised years ago by a dear old friend and named after her. Great to have this back again. 45cm.
A. vulgaris ‘Black Barlow’. The ever so slightly sinister double, spurless violet-black sister of A.‘Nora Barlow’.
A. v. ‘Double Violet’. Double flowers, slightly cocky, held at an upward facing angle. Super rich colour. 60cm
A. v.‘Ice Blue’. A delightful double flowered ‘Grannys’ Bonnet’ in ice-blue. Cool!
A. v. ‘Ruby Port’. Aptly described Port wine coloured flowers, nicely doubled 90cm.
A. v. nivea. Large dumpy white single flowers over greyish foliage. Used by Jeckyll and yet to be surpassed.

ARTEMISIA lactiflora. ‘Elfenbein’. A great form from the continent with munificent branched heads of ivory white flowers and definitely the one for size conscious gardeners. 1.5m.
A. l. ‘Rosenschlier’. A useful plant for more subdued colour schemes, the flowers of this form are a dusky pink. 2m+

ARUM italicum ‘Tiny’. A rare marbled leaf form growing no taller than 20cm. Particularly good amongst winter/spring bulbs. Summer dormant.

ARUNCUS aethusifolius. Mirrors in all its parts the larger members of this genus but at 30cm positively Lilliputian in scale, making it ideal for the smaller garden. Not too dry.
A. x ‘Horatio’. A super hybrid from doyen nurseryman, Ernst Pagels. Graceful tapering cream plumes, on reddish-bronze stems, held above intricately cut foliage 120cm.

ASPHODELINE taurica. Dainty display of airy, pale yellow flowers on spikes over grassy rosettes of glaucous, pale green foliage through summer. Sun and drainage a must. 90cm.

ASTER. Our gardens would be dull things indeed without the contribution of these colourful and for the most part, easily managed plants. The following all display a good resistance to mildew. Please note that many of our Asters will not become available until early summer.
*A. amellus ‘Framfieldii’. An elegant hybrid, not dissimilar to the following but a slightly paler violet. Sept./Oct. 40cm.
*A. amellus ‘Violet Queen’. An old cultivar first selected by Karl Forster and which remains unchallenged. Large, rich violet flowers in Sept/Oct. 40cm.
A. divaricatus. We appear to be in the minority in loving this humble plant. Wiry black stems support a myriad of small narrow rayed, white daisies. Gertrude Jeckyl liked it too – so there! 40cm.
*A. ericoides ‘Blue Star’. Myriad, lavender blue flowers with pale yellow centres over wiry growth in October. Charming. 40 – 50cm.
*A. e. ‘Pink Cloud’. Produces hundreds of pale purple-pink flowers. Arguably the best pale pink in this group. 90cm
*A. e. ‘Yvette Richardson’. With its fresh green foliage, pale lavender-blue flowers and compact habit, this is a super plant for the border front. 40cm.
*A. x frikartii ‘Monch’. With a little aid from pea sticks this is arguably the finest Aster for elegance and flower power giving a succession of clear lavender-blue flowers from mid-summer onwards. 75cm.
*A. lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’. In full sun the leaves take on a suave purple-black hue. The small flowers are white with attractive rosy stamens, carried in huge numbers on a network of short lateral branches. 120 – 150cm.
*A. lateriflorus ‘Prince’. As above, but altogether denser in its habit. 60cm.
*A. ‘Little Carlow’. Wiry stems struggle to support the sheer weight and number of large, lavender-blue flowers, a colour particularly enhanced by the autumn light. 120cm.
A. novi-belgii ‘Blue Eyes’. Semi-double flowers, a good blue. Always draws favourable comments from customers. 1.2m.
A. ‘Pixie Dark Eye’. Covers itself in small wine-purple, yellow eyed daisies. Quite unlike any of our other Asters. 45cms
*A. pyrenaeus ‘Lutetia’. Valued for its sprays of large, pale lavender flowers held on branched stems throughout the autumn. 50cm.
* A. ‘Ringdove’. In character close to the ericoides types. Explodes from tiny buds into a constellation of small lavender blue rayed flowers with pale sulphur yellow centres. A favourite here. 50cm.
*A. trinervius ‘Asran’. Robustly bombproof and mildew free, its pale lavender flowers need the help of more colourful bedfellows. 40cm.
A. turbinellus. Dark willowy stems, clad with glaucous green leaves, erupt in October into a display of small lavender-blue flowers. 150cm.
A. turbinellus hybrid. The unruly, arching habit of this tough hybrid with its dainty pale violet-blue flowers is a delight. A great favourite here, it is allowed to cavort with Nepetas, Penstemons and Geraniums. 120cm.
*A. ‘Vasterival’. Named after the garden of the late, formidable, Princess Sturdza in Normandy, this strong-growing aster is a pure delight, bearing clouds of 20 pence sized palest rose-lilac flowers through September. 120cm.

ASTILBE glaberrima. A very neat, short growing Astilbe with deep bronze cut foliage and delicate pink plumes. 20cm.

ASTRANTIA major ‘Buckland’. The pale green ruff of bracts and rosy pink stamens make for a flower of great beauty. An old clone now that can still hold its head high. 60cms.
A. m. Canneman Seedlings. Strong flowering sized plants raised from this good, large flowered silvery-pink parent plant. 60cm+.
A. m. Dark Wine Seedlings. As above but raised from our new dark wine red selection with purple black stems. 45cm+.
*A. maxima. The large bracts to the flowers are a soft rose pink. Arguably the most beautiful of the ‘masterworts’ but requires good soil to perform well. 60cm.
A.‘Roma’. Piet Oudolf’s selection and a terrific plant it is. The large flowers are rose-pink and the plant shows great vigour bearing a good repeat crop of flowers, particularly so when young. 60cm.

ATHYRIUM felix femina minutissimum. At 20cm this is a relatively small fern, its feathery, broad lance shaped fronds forming a particularly neat clump. Deciduous.
A. nipponicum var. pictum. The elegant and beautiful Japanese Painted Fern in shades of grey, silver and dusky purple. Needs shelter and good soil to give of its best. We offer divisions of a good form.

Images at the top of the page are ©Gardens Illustrated / Sharon Pearson