This shrubby evergreen is an excellent choice for the rock garden or for growing on an old wall. The greyish, fleshy leaves form a dense carpet and for many weeks in spring or summer there is a tightly packed covering of flower-heads. Each head is a spike of tiny flowers, varying in colour from palest pink to deepest rose, depending on the variety chosen.

VARIETIES: At the garden centre you are most likely to find A. ‘Warley Rose’. The basic details are height 6 in., spread 1 ft.

Flowering period: April-May – the flower colour is rosy red. A. ‘Warley Ruber’ is a similar plant but the blooms are even more striking. A. pulchellum is a taller plant (9 in.) which produces dull pink flowers between May and July. The taliest Aethionema is A. grandiflorum (1 ft), bearing pale pink blooms throughout the summer.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained, non-acid soil – full sun is required.

PROPAGATION: Plant non-flowering cuttings in a cold frame in early summer.

By careful selection you can ensure that your rockery will have flowers nearly all year round. For each month there is a list of perennials which can be expected to be in full bloom – remember that some of these plants may come into flower earlier and can continue to bloom for many weeks afterwards.

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