Plant now: Selago densiflorus

selago-dSelago densiflorus

Selago densiflorus is a low-growing aromatic shrub to 1m high. It produces masses of soft purple flowers in late winter and spring. They look a little bit like lilacs (sort of, kind of, though not really), which I can’t grow here in Auckland, so I love them as an alternative. The stems are great for picking too. Plants will grow in sun or part shade, and they will tolerate dry soils.

You’ll find the plants in shops now, or buy them directly from 4Trees.

The top image was taken by Mike Lusk around the Taupo area; the second image is from 4Trees.

Plant now: Cornflowers

Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) are beautiful annuals with tall stems (up to 1m high) and long-lasting flowers that are great for picking. They’ll grow pretty much anywhere in sun, in poor or fertile soil. A true blue beauty (or purple, pink or lilac), plants are quick growing and prolific flowering. They often grow as wildflowers in Europe – in fact, it was here that they got their common name, found growing wild in corn and grain fields.

Sow seeds in trays, or sow them directly in spring when the soil is warm. Seedlings can also be obtained from garden centres.