ANCHUSA or ALKANET

These are handsome border plants, mostly hardy perennials, vivid blue in colour and flowering in early summer. They prefer light, rich well-drained soil and are best planted in February or March; on cold, heavy land they frequently fail to survive the winter. Perennial forms, mostly varieties of Anchusa azurea (italica), include: Morning Glory, bright blue, 5—6 ft. Opal, light blue, 5 ft.; Royal Blue, rich gentian-blue, 3 ft. Loddon Royalist, which grows to 3 ft. and is as blue as Gentiana verna , is a relatively new introduction. Anchusa caespitosa grows 15—18 in. high, and, although rather large for rock gardens, is excellent for the front of the border. It is almost stemless, with gentian-blue flowers borne in profusion from May to July and again in late summer if cut back after flowering. This species is exceptionally hardy even in very severe winters and succeeds on heavy soils provided drainage is satisfactory.

Anchusa myosotidiflora (Brunnera macrophylla) is a glorified forget-me-not which does best in leafy soil. It grows to about 18 in. with a rather sprawling habit. The bright blue flowers are produced in spring and again in late summer.

The perennial anchusas may be increased by root cuttings taken in early spring and planted in a cold frame.

Anchusa capensis Blue Bird is indigo blue and should be given the ordinary hardy annual treatment.

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