An unspectacular rockery plant which has never become popular with British gardeners, but it can be a valuable addition. Its narrow leaves form an ideal carpet to cover the ground over dwarf bulbs and its evergreen growth habit makes it a useful crack-filler between paving stones. It will flourish in poor soil, and in early summer the small flower-heads open with blooms in white, pink or red.

VARIETIES: There isasingle species-A. spreads to form a dense mat of grey-green leaves, reaching about 1.5 ft in diameter. The flower stalks appear in May and June -the height of the stalks and the colour of the VA in. blooms clustered at the tips depends on the variety chosen. The smallest is ‘Minima’ (2 in., pink) – one of the taller ones is ‘Rosea’ (6 in., deep pink). Others include ‘Nyewood’ (4 in., red) and ‘Aprica’ (4 in., white).

SITE AND SOIL: Requires well-drained soil and a sunny site.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in early autumn or spring.

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