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  • Cyclamen
    • hederifolium   CAG00966

      (Sowbread, Ivy leaved cyclamen)
      Height10cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonAu - Wi
      WaterL
      LightFilt.Shade
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      The quintessential garden Cyclamen found in gardens across Europe (and the rest of the globe) where it is usually massed to great effect beneath deciduous trees, its preferred haunt, with its upswept five petalled pink or white blooms appearing in Autumn above the leaf litter followed by beautiful leaves of its own that are marbled in various shades of silver, with no two plants sharing quite the same patterning or even shape, which can range from a broad heart to a tapering arrowhead.

      Easily grown in any shady site with half decent drainage and winter moisture, moisture during its summer dormancy is tolerated but is not essential, and is ideally adapted to grown amongst leaf litter where it will self sow over the years for ever increasing beauty.

      Mass plant on the south side of the house, perhaps with a cover of trendy pebbles or glass, or beneath olive trees for a lifetime of reward. Makes an excellent pot subject too but eventually a very sizable pot will be needed as the flattened corm continues to expand throughout its lifetime.

      Native to much of the northern Mediterranean.

  • Salvia

    (Sage)
    Lamiaceae

    A genus whose popularity has risen exponentially in recent times. Offering a diverse range of form and colour there is a Salvia for nearly every garden situation with more and more being discovered and described all the time. The count now stands somewhere in excess of 1000, including subspecies, according to The Plant List. They are found on every continent except Antarctica.

    From a gardeners perspective they can not all be treated the same, they come from many different climates after all, but as a rule of thumb can be grouped into winter rainfall and summer rainfall species and with few exceptions they all prefer well drained soil.

    Soft leaved species from Central and South America are usually autumn and winter flowering. Coming from summer rainfall areas they typically need protection from dry heat and the accompanying high light intensity and they vary in their tolerance of winter damp. As with most plants the larger the leaves the more water they require, this also dictates how fast they grow with many growing several metres in a single season.

    Species from south western North America, South Africa, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands are all winter growers and are tolerant or demanding of dry heat and summer drought. Slower growing but usually longer lived these all tend to have small, densely haired, silver or grey leaves or a combination of these traits which help them conserve moisture. Most of these require no additional water in Perth and are well adapted to our climate. They tend tend to flower from spring into summer.


    Prune back to where vigorous new basal growth is seen, never to dead wood, they appear to store little food in their stems and without leaves stand a chance of starving to death or at least struggle to regenerate. The exception is those few that are tuberous or clump forming, these can be cut to ground level once the stems start dying back in late autumn.
    • chiapensis   CAG01003
      Height60cm
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonAll
      WaterM
      LightLight Shade
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      An evergreen, shrubby perennial from Mexico. Many flowered, long, slender, arching wands of small, bright magenta pink, tubular, lipped flowers are held over glossy, green, oval shaped leaves.
      Extremely floriferous and with good ornamental foliage, this is magnificent plant for any protected position with some shade, where it will lend a lush tropical look.
      It's somewhat lax habit makes it ideal for the foot of larger plants or the top of retaining walls.

  • Scabiosa
    • farinosa   CAG00603
      Height30cm
      Width60cm
      Flowering SeasonSp - Su
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A dense, evergreen, shrubby perennial from northern Africa with rosettes of glossy, dark green, deeply toothed, spoon shaped leaves bearing a procession of lavender coloured, pincushion-like flowers on short stiff stems from mid spring onwards.

      Mass plant as a weeds suppressing groundcover or singly to admire its bun-like form and make the most of its dark foliage, especially when offset with silvers of similar habit e.g. Santolina chamaecyparissus or Ballota acetabulosa. which perhaps not so coincidentally are also Mediterranean.

      Easily grown in any well drained sunny soil. An annual trimming of the spent flowerheads is all it requires. Such glossy foliage is often an indicator of salt tolerance but as I have never lived on the coast this remains untested.

      We originally acquired this, and sold it for many years as S. japonica var. alpina which it is clearly not.

  • Acanthus
    • mollis   CAG00063

      (Oyster plant, Bear's breeches)
      Height1m
      Width2m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL
      LightSun - Shade
      Acanthus mollis
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      Rosettes of huge, glossy, dark green, sharply serrated leaves thrust from the soil with the onset of autumn rain. In spring sceptres of mauve and white shell like flowers stand sentry over the brooding mounds of foliage.
      Found throughout the Meditteranean it's at its best with no summer water but plenty of winter moisture and is tolerant of any soil that isn't waterlogged.

      Extremely architectural if given the space or as contrast to other boldly leaved plants such as Melianthus major.

      Representations of the leaves are commonly found in ancient roman architecture and are often still encountered in classical designs of today.

  • Ajuga
  • Arisarum
    • proboscidium   CAG00101

      (Mouse plant)
      Height15cm
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonWi - Sp
      WaterL - M
      LightFilt.Shade
      Arisarum proboscidium
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A curious groundcover for moist shade from Italy and Spain, which potted makes an excellent conversation starting centre piece for the dinner table. The purple hooded white spathes, that shelter the spadix and flowers, with their long tail-like appendages appear amongst the glossy, dark green, arrow shaped leaves like a family mice grubbing for food. Slowly spreading by the underground stolons to which it retreats during summer, emerging again in late winter with fresh foliage and a new family of mice.

      Tolerates considerable dryness when dormant but demands adequate moisture in winter and spring while actively growing.

      Resents disturbance and typically will not flower well until it's settled in for a year or two and then improving with time. In a container re-potting is neither desirable or necessary but annual replacement of the surface soil and the addition of slow release fertiliser will be greatly appreciated.

  • Cyclamen
  • Dianthus

    (Pink, Sweet william, Carnation)
    Caryophyllaceae

    The commonly encountered garden varieties are European plants of garden antiquity grown for their attractive, often perfumed, flowers which pick well. They are on the whole easily grown but demand excellent drainage and plenty of sun and are ideally suited to poor, dryer, well drained, alkaline soils. They are often encountered overgrown and root bound, tucked away in the shade, to which they are intolerant, and once purchased are good naturedly smothered with too much "good" garden practice.


    Pinks are known to all by name, which they lent to the colour, if not in person. Classic perennials of English cottage gardens. They have extensive root systems and most varieties offered are quite hardy in Perth with a good drink once a week over summer. They invariably have narrow, glaucous foliage resistant to dry air and high light intensity.

    Sweet williams (Dianthus barbatus) are biennials that will often persist for several years and typically have tall stems bearing clusters of small fringed flowers. They have broader leaves and require a bit softer conditions than the Pinks. The Nigrescens group seem the hardiest of the bunch and can become quite shrubby, potted colour varieties, often sold by the punnet, are worth growing but usually amount to little more than tender annuals.

    Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus). Those developed for the cut flower market are mostly ugly plants needing support and are best left to the dedicated enthusiast or florist. Better garden plants are the seldom seen border carnations, they have the same beautiful flowers of the florist types but are less gawky, don't need staking, are often perfumed and are almost as hardy as the pinks.
  • Incarvillea
    • arguta   CAG01838

      (Himalayan gloxinia)
      Height90cm
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonSp - Au
      WaterM - L
      LightLight Shade
      Incarvillea arguta
      CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

      A deceptively delicate looking shrub, happy in any impoverished soil, with or without root competition, preferably quite dry and well drained, in bright or dark shade, though less likely to flower well in the later. Alkaline soil or even pure limestone are to it's liking though it seems quite content in acid soil. Given adequate drainage it will grow rapidly, forming a loose bush of glossy, dark green, pinnate leaves, flowering constantly through the warmer months of the year with racemes of 2.5cm wide, pale pink, trumpet shaped flowers, in all likelihood self seeding into paving cracks and other inconvenient places, from which it's happily transplanted when very young.

      Dead head to promote flowering but only prune back old spent stems when new basal growth has matured, or else risk a fine specimens premature demise.

  • Myrsine
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