Achillea

There are several speciesĀ  of Achillea and varieties which are most useful for cutting. A. eupatorium (or filipendulina) is a favourite, producing from July until September, flat, golden heads on strong 4-ft stems. It is of value for mixing with other colourful flowers, while its silvery grey-green foliage is an extra asset. It lasts well and, in fact, is sometimes used with ‘everlasting’ flowers. From A. eupatorium have come several varieties; the 5-ft-tall ‘Gold Plate’ is well named, while ‘Parker’s Variety’ is especially good for drying for winter decoration. As a smaller, daintier grower, the newer variety ‘Coronation Gold’ should be cultivated. Its flat heads on upright 2-ft stems with grey leaves are very long lasting.

Achillea ptarmica Achillea ptarmicaand its varieties are quite different, and provided they have a soil containing plenty of organic matter and never lack moisture, they will produce an abundance of flowers. From the free-growing, creeping root-stocks there arises a plentiful supply of flower stems. The varieties Terry’s White’ and ‘The Pearl’ have double white, button-like flowers over a long period during the summer. While they are much used by florists for wreaths and other purposes, there is, however, nothing depressing or funeral-like about these flowers.

A. millefaium, ‘Rose Queen’ and ‘Cerise Queen’, although not so choice, are nevertheless good cut-flower varieties.

Acorirrum. These have nothing to do with the little winter aconite, but are tall-growing perennials which flower from the end of June until late August. Not unlike delphiniums, these are useful where ‘spiky’ blooms are needed. A. wilsonii is a lovely pale blue; A. napellus, bicolor; ‘Newry Blue’ and ‘Spark’s Variety’ are less tall than some of the others. The thickish, tuberous-like roots are said to be poisonous, so that they should be handled with care.

The yarrows or milfoils include a few good and very showy plants, but some of a weedy nature as well. All achilleas have serrated leaves which enhance the plant as a whole, and are flowers useful for cutting. They like a sunny position. Achillea filipendulina, with its plate-like heads of deep yellow on erect 4-ft. Stems, is worthy of the popularity it holds. It is easy enough to grow in any well-drained soil, and needs the minimum of attention for years at a stretch. Usually offered under the name of Gold Plate, the stems, when cut at their best, can be dried for winter decoration. The variety Coronation Gold is less tall than Gold Plate and with smaller heads of deep yellow flowers. Moonshine is much dwarfer and combines the best qualities of the species clypeolata and taygetea. It flowers from May to July, at about 18 in., keeps its silvery backcloth for almost the whole year, and often throws a few late heads of glistening canary yellow in autumn.

A. millefolium is the wild milfoil of meadows and hedgerows. Deep pink and almost red varieties, such as Cerise Queen, can make quite a brave show for a season or two before they need curbing or replanting back into position. Another disability is that the 3-ft. Heads become top heavy and often need supports. This applies also to the white achilleas, The Pearl and Perry’s White. Both have double button-type flowers on loose heads, and grow up to 3 ft. All achilleas should be divided in early autumn or spring.

 

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