Flowers to span the seasons
Words: Patrick Wiltshire
Opt for wallflowers to give you a garden with heady scent. It's a flower that I plant now for colour through the autumn and winter, followed by scented flowers from the spring.
Wallflowers generally have a two-year lifecycle which means they will produce a healthy set of roots and green leaves in the first season and their flowers in the second. When you get hold of our plants they are already a year or so old so they are ready to flower a few weeks after planting (our Sugar Rush varieties) or the following spring (our Sunset Series and Strawberries & Cream mix).
They are great-value for a flower so fragrant and reliable in the UK climate. I love them for vase displays, and nice flower combinations (suggestions below) and of course the fresh, sweet scent every flower gives off.
What's the best way to plant them
Wallflowers, believe it or not, belong to the cabbage family. This means, like cabbages, they like alkaline soil that is nicely well-drained. In fact wallflowers are so named as they enjoy the lime-rich conditions near to brick walls.
So don't restrict them to wallside (though they look lovely by traditional stone walls); any container filled with a neutral to alkaline soil. I test soil using those soil testing kits and add lime if I need to make the soil more alkaline.
Plant wallflower plugs or bare-root shoots around 20cm (eight inches) apart if you're growing them in a bed and around four or five evenly around a 30cm (12in) pot.
Give them a good water before you plant them and then after, once they are in the ground.
Here are my top five looks for showing off wallflowers.
1) Wallflowers with tulips
2) Wallflowers with euphorbia
3) Wallflowers with violas
4) Wallflowers with alliums
5) Wallflowers with evergreens