by Will Young

Common genus though this is, it holds a special place with that other flower of spring, the affodil, in my affection. The only virtue absent beauty of form, but the cascade of yellow blossom which brightens the early spring is efficient recompense for lack of quality in other aspects. All are obviously tolerant of a wide range of soils, or they would not be such a :nspicuous part of the landscape from one end the country to the other. Indeed, they are recently adaptable to be used as a hedge.

Unfortunately, they are frequently pruned into a grotesque travesty of vegetation which reduces them to a degree of ugliness beyond belief, without materially improving flower production. I prune every two or three years, but only to promote strong young shoots by removing the really old wood. Cuttings taken from June onwards root readily with little attention apart from watering.

Erica x darleyensis contains two essential varieties for me – George Rendall and Arthur Johnson, both with long spikes of pink flowers.

Like the calluna, the species and varieties contained within this genus bid fair to exceed in numbers the wondrous hoards of the Khan.

The growth of F. m. gracilis is upright, the foliage delicate, but the flowers are just as freely produced even if they are smaller. F. m. riccartonii is probably the most widely grown of all the hardy fuchsias. In Cornwall there were hedges right across the garden in which I worked for a time.

The quality of Tom Thumb is such that it has actually had a place in my rock garden for 16 years, and flowers all mixed up with the paler blooms of satureia. It reaches about 10 in. high

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