Two more old favourites return

November 9th, 2018 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Omphalodes ‘Little Snow White’ and Silene ‘Blue Angel’

Our attention often strays from colourful and dependable hardy annuals that have been around for years towards brighter and brasher new introductions. And it’s not just we gardeners.

Seed companies, too, and the companies that produce the seed they sell, can let their focus wander and the result is that good varieties either deteriorate so they become much less appealing or they vanish from catalogues altogether.

Well, last week I brought you news of a dwarf double sunflower that Mr F have bright back, and this week I’ve news of two more. These are two hardy annuals that I haven’t grown for years but which I always used to enjoy self seeding around the garden.

Omphalodes ‘Little Snow White’ is a dainty hardy annual related to forget-me-nots with narrow greyish leaves and small clear white flowers. Growing about 35-40cm in height, it can sown in spring or in autumn (though it’s probably a little late now) and will flower for two or three months from May (autumn sowing) or July (spring sowing).

I’m going to grow it again next year, sowing a row for cutting and then transplanting the thinnings wherever I think they’ll look the part. It’ll be good to have it back.

Silene (Viscaria) ‘Blue Angel’ is also back and that too will be on my seedlist, especially as there are relatively few low hardy annuals with such lovely blue blooms. Reaching only 20-25cm in height, the slender stems carry flat-faced, dark-eyed flowers

Sow from March to June and expect flowers about three months after sowing. As with the omphalodes, self sown seedlings will pop up for next year. The fact is that it’s impractical to deadhead either of them so don’t even try – just allow them to cast their seed and enjoy them wherever they pop up.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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