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What they say...

If you put a date in your diary for a visit to Marchants, do empty the boot of your car. I hadn't planned to buy any plants but left with a garden full.
Sarah Raven. The Daily Telegraph

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

For details of our annual sale, see Events page

Plant Inventory: Herbaceous Perennials

SALIX. We love Willows, partly because they prosper on our moisture retentive soil but more importantly, because no plant can match their response to wind with such lithe phrasing. They associate magnificently with grasses. Some of the following will assume tree height if not stooled annually. Heights given are for annually stooled plants.
Salix acutifolia ‘Blue Streak’. A first class Willow noted for the white bloom that covers the young stems, its slender glossy leaves and altogether elegant habit. Stool annually for best effect. 4m+.
S. eleagnos. The narrow silver-backed leaves of this shapely shrub give it the appropriate name of ‘Rosemary-leaved Willow’. Given space, it will make a worthy contribution in any not too dry soil and needs little pruning. 3m+
S. purpurea ‘Nancy Saunders’. A remakably elegant form of the purple Osier, its slender blue-grey leaves adding considerably to the effect. Small grey catkins in Feb/ March. 2.2m.
S. p. ‘Helix’. Pale stems on stooled wood and very attractive small dark flowers in February. Upright growth. 2m+

SALVIA. Like human beings, the ubiquitous Sage comes in all shapes and sizes, and also like humans, some are noticeably fussier and more demanding than others. They are truly worthy plants, giving us a spread of colourful flowers throughout summer. There should be a plant here to suit every taste.
*S. chamelaeagnea. A distinct and desirable shrubby species from the Cape, South Africa, the pale violet-blue hooded and ivory lipped flowers suspended on upright twiggy growth through summer/autumn. Hardiness questionable. 1m+.
*S. coahuilensis. A plant that delivers a non-stop display of small, intense violet-blue flowers summer long. Has proved nonchalantly hardy here. 30cm.
*S. glutinosa. Known apparently as ‘Jupiter’s Distaff’, this sticky Sage has large course basal leaves, pale yellow flowers and is described in one eminent book as ‘Useful for rough places’. No wonder it does well in our soil! 1m.
*S. guaranitica ‘Blue Enigma’. Magnificent royal blue flowers from mid-summer until frosts. We find this the most reliably perennial form and it requires no staking. 150cm.
S. x jamensis ‘Red Velvet’. Big, brazen, bold red flowers. Bloomin marvellous! 70cm.
*S. x j. ‘Silas Dyson’. Glorious deep wine red flowers with fat lobes for months on end. Makes a semi-shrubby mound, a little brittle when young. 1m+.
S. nemorosa ‘Amethyst’. This distinct selection from Ernst Pagels sways more to the lavender/lilac spectrum than other cultivars and is a useful plant where vertical lift is required. 75cm.
S. n. ‘Caradonna’. A great selection from the Continent. The violet flowers and striking black-purple stems lift this plant into a different league altogether.
*S. patens. The most intense, pure blue of any Salvia we grow. Mulch well for winter protection. 60cm.
*S. ‘Raspberry Royale’. Not the largest flowers but they are a lovely shade of deep raspberry red, born for months. 70cm.
*S. ‘Silke’s Dream’. Breaks the colour mould with its glorious deep coral-pink toned flowers. 80cm.
*S. uliginosa. Wand-like stems carry clear sky-blue flowers, not large but freely produced over a very long season. We find it impossible to tire of this plant but beware. It is rampant If it likes you.
*S. verticillata ‘Purple Rain’. A Piet Oudolf selection made some years ago, yet still difficult to hold a candle to. If deadheaded regularly, continues with a display of its purple flower spikes for weeks on end. 45cm.

SANGUISORBA. The Burnets are among the rising stars of the Horticultural stage. For those of you bitten by these characterful plants we would refer you to Marina Christopher’s super article in ‘Gardens Illustrated’ (Sept. 04). Needless to say, we find them exemplary used in association with grasses and we are always adding new varieties to our list. Please note that plants marked with an asterisk (*) will not become available until May.
*S. ‘Blackthorn’. An inspiring newcomer to our list. Fuzzy, pink and upright and admired by all. 1.5m.
S. ‘Burr Blanc’. We spotted this saucy white seedling here amongst a batch of seedlings 3 years ago and it has performed very well in the garden even in 2006’s drought. Quite unlike other white forms, the flowers emerge from celadon green buds and retain a fresh appearance for weeks on end. 120cm.
S. canadensis hybrid. Our own name for this S. Canadensis look alike, albeit much shorter. Spikes of white flowers for weeks and holds its structure well. 1.2m.
S. ‘Cangshan Cranberry’. We really value this super plant for its Sept-Nov. display of dusky red flowers on self supporting, upright stems. A Dan Hinkley collection from Dali, Yunnan Province, China in 1996. 2m+
S. ex Coen Jansen. Given over 10 years ago, I still await a name! Clearly a S. tenuifolia hybrid with long slender, deep pink burrs in June/July. 2m.
S. menziesii. Conspicuous maroon burrs, the largest and first to flower in mid-summer. Always admired by customers unfamiliar with this genus – the best recommendation of all. 1m.
S. officinalis. Similar to the following but the burrs are very dark maroon and more rounded. Described by the late G. S. Thomas as ‘A leafy, weedy, plant’. Tut, tut Mr T. 2m+
*S. off. ‘Arnhem’. The burrs of this lanky burnet hover like a swarm of small raspberries on wiry, branched stems, holding their colour for weeks. A great favourite here during summer. 2m.
*S. off. ‘Pink Tanna’. Despite being in a muddle in the trade, this remains a good plant producing a copious crop of palest pink burrs in summer. 1m
*S. ‘Pink Tanna – Form 2’. Longer and more slender burrs than the above. A very good plant. 1m.
* S. off ‘Tanna’. The shortest and most respectably behaved burnet, the bottle green pinnate foliage and dusky maroon flowers atop wiry stems remain in good fettle for many weeks. 30cm.
*S. sp. CDC 262. Thimble sized dark maroon burrs spaciously arranged on a rigging of wiry stems. Worthy of a design award. 60cm.
S. sp. Japan. A medium sized plant possessing all the good characteristics one expects from this genus. The conspicuous, slender burrs are dark, reddish-maroon. 150cm.
S. tenuifolia alba. Over elegant, finely cut foliage, stiff stems support a cloud of small Lamb’s tail like white flowers in summer, if that’s not too difficult to imagine! 150cm
*S. t. ‘Korean Snow’. A handsome and robust form from Korea, the strong stems topped with cascades of white tassle-like flowers long into the autumn. 2m.

SANTOLINA pinnata ssp neapolitana ‘Edward Bowles’. Holds the trophy for the longest name in the catalogue! Highly valued for its mounds of grey-green foliage and soft yellow pom-pom flowers. 40cm.

SAXIFRAGA geum ‘Dixter Form’. A charming, small ‘London Pride’, whose neat rounded leaves form pert green rosettes. A mist of tiny white flowers in early summer completes the picture. Uncommon. 20cm.
Saxifraga x urbium ‘Miss Chambers Pink Pride’. A London Pride of impeccable merit and far from old hat, chosen for its strong constitution and size of flower. 30cm

SCABIOSA argentea. Pale green filigree foliage and a network of wiry stems carrying small lavender blue flowers with a paler centre make for a very pretty plant indeed. Sun and drainage crucial. 60cm.
S. columbaria var. ochroleuca. Pale yellow flowers are held on a tracery of wiry stems through the summer. A very beautiful plant when well grown. Revels in sun. 90 – 120cm.
S. c. var. webbinana. A colour variant of the above and a pretty plant it is with dainty, pale flesh pink flowers. 60cm

*SCHIZOSTYLIS coccinea ‘Major’. Scintillating, crimson red flowers, of good size in this form, through Oct/Nov. If you treat it well that is. 60cm.
S. c. ‘Zeal Salmon’. A ‘Kaffir Lily’ with large, vivid salmon-pink flowers very late in the season. Excellent as a cut flower. 60cm.
S. c. ‘Good White’. Or as near as with the faintest touch of pink in the flower upon opening.

SCUTELLARIA baicalensis. A Russian Skullcap whose wiry, bushy growth supports clusters of purple flowers 20cm.
S. incana. An unassuming leafy plant until late summer that is when its spikes of pretty lavender-blue flowers will catch all but the dullest eyes.

SEDUM. Deservedly popular plants with few vices. They add considerable beauty to our gardens through the season with their generous mounds of succulent foliage varying in shades from pale glaucous green/blue-green/green flushed purple to purple. Come August/September their flattened heads of tiny flowers will be making a serious contribution to the garden scene, while at the same time driving butterflies and bees into a frenzy of late summer supping. Please note – The following will hopefully be available from June onwards.
S. ‘Bertram Anderson’. A fine dark purple leaved form, more prostrate in its habit than the others making it ideal for the border front. Small crimson flowers in late summer. 20cm.
*S. ‘Chocolate Sauce’. Our darkest selection with glossy chocolate-purple foliage.
S. ‘Marchants Best Red’. AGM. A rich, ruby red in fact. The green leaves are purple flushed. 40cm.
S. ‘Matrona’. (‘Matronly’) The meatiest sedum we grow with large purple flushed, green leaves. The dusky pink flower heads are large too, fading to rich brown and persist long into the winter months. 60cm.
*S. ‘Purple Emperor’. AGM. Our own selection that has been very much praised by all who have grown it. Dark purple leaves and heads of flesh pink come straw yellow flowers. 40cm.
*S. ‘Purple Moon’. The dark green foliage develops to purple-bronze by late summer, a fine contrast to the pale yellow flowers. 40cm.
*S. ruprechtii. A first rate foliage plant, the glaucous blue-green leaves taking on a purple caste as the seasons progress. Pale yellow flowers fade to light tan. 45cm.
S. ‘Red Cauli’. Grey-green metallic foliage perfectly offsets the Cauliflower like clusters of intense ruby-red flowers. We received the RHS’s highest accolade, an AGM for this plant in 2006. 45cm
*Sedum ‘Ripe Rhubarb’. Our newest selection, very strong with striking deep ruby stems and pink toned flowers. 30cm

SELINUM tenuifolium. From the Himalayas, this refined Umbellifer is like a vastly superior ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’. The fresh green lacy foliage is crowned in June with flat umbels of white flowers supported on stout, ribbed stems. 120cm.

*SEMIAQUILEGIA ecalcarata. A dainty Aquilegia relative combining delicate foliage and spurless ruby flowers. 30cm.

SEMPERVIVUM. We’ve enjoyed gathering a small collection of Houseleeks over the years, and of course lovely pots in which to grow them. Kids seem to love them as much as we do. We hope to have the following for sale. S. ‘Lady Kelly’, S. marmoreum brunneifolium, S. nevadense hirtellum, S.‘Spiders Lair’, S. tectorum glaucum, etc.

*SERRATULA seaonei. A modest and little known plant that makes its unassuming entry late in the season with fuzzy pale violet aster like flowers over deeply cut foliage. 30cm.

SESILE hippomarathrum. Over a satisfying mound of fine, carrot like foliage, wayward stems terminate in small umbels of creamy-white flowers from dusky pink buds through late summer. 30cm.

SIDALCEA candida. Ivory-white flowers, smaller than the more usual forms grown but a tough perennial, even on our stodgy clay 75cm.

SISYRINCHIUM. Relatives of Iris, the smaller varieties that follow all have large flowers and are excellent for use on the rockery, raised beds or border front alike. Whilst they may need dividing occasionally to keep them in good spirits, they have settled down well here on our heavy clay soil. Do give them lots of sun.
S. ‘Iceberg’. Barest hint of steely-blue in the large white flower. Cool! 15cm.
S. idahoense bellum ‘Pale form’. Large flowers, a most beautiful shade of grey-blue. 20cm.
S. ‘Marchants Seedling’. A very short dark violet seedling spotted on one of our raised beds. Has performed well. 5cm
S. ‘Pale violet /dark eye’. Another seedling selected here for its large pale violet flowers and dark eye. 15cm
S. ‘Purple Sport’. A stronger plant than the above with big purple-violet saucer shaped flowers. 15cm.

SMILACINA racemosa. In foliage, similar to ‘Solomon’s Seal’ to which it is related. However, this American woodlander differs in producing from fresh, apple green buds, a froth of tiny white scented flowers in branched spikes. 90cm.

*SOLIDAGO caesia. The golden-yellow flowers of this attractive Golden Rod are carried on dark, branched stems. At 45cm a valuable plant for a late display at the border front.
S. rugosa ‘Firecracker’. A great descriptive name, the slender spikes of golden yellow flowers make a bright display among our tall grasses in the autumn. 1.2m.

STACHYS macrantha superba. Whorls of good sized rose-purple flowers over handsome, leafy clumps. A first class, bomb proof plant suitable for lazy gardeners. 50cms.
S. monieri ‘Hummelo’. An Ernst Pagels selection producing neat spikes of lilac-purple flowers in mid-summer. 60cm.
S. officinalis ‘Alba’. Short spikes of pure white flowers in summer over mounds of pert, evergreen leaves. A lovely plant, utterly dependable. 30cm.
S. off. ‘Marchant’s Pink’. This good deep pink seedling cropped up in a batch of seedlings of the above and belongs to the border front battalion.
S. off. ‘Rosea’. An easy to please rose-pink form, which has never grown taller than 30cm with us and also sits very happily at the border’s edge.

STOKESIA laevis ‘Mary Gregory’. Large Cornflower like flowers in pale yellow over strap shaped leaves make for an interesting colour break in this genus. 40cm.

STROBILANTHES rankaiensis. Shorter, later and with less hairy leaves than the following this remains an excellent autumn flowering perennial. 90cm.
S. wallichii. A handsome late flowering perennial providing a show of sizeable hooded pale violet-blue flowers over a copious mound of bristly, large leaves. 120cm. September.

SUCCISA pratensis. Dainty, lavender-blue, Scabious like flowers held on 60cm spikes over evergreen basal clumps. Completely dependable and a cocktail bar for tortoiseshell butterflies in Sept/Oct.

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