Galega officinalis

This tall and graceful vetch, commonly called goat’s-rue, is a plant I would like to see in the wild, in its native haunts of the Balkans and Asia Minor. It does not look like a garden plant, yet visitors to my garden have so often asked for a piece that one year I found I had parted with my last root and had to ask for some back. It is an appealing plant for the middle or back of a border, a hardy perennial about 3 feet (90 cm) high with beautiful, fresh green, pinnate leaves with many spikes of mauve sweet-pea flowers springing from the axils. Galegas flower for about two months in mid-summer, and will produce more leaves and a few more flowers if you cut them down when faded. They need a little support, but not much; a single cane is enough.

There are several varieties in shades of mauve, a mauveand-white bi-colour, ‘Lady Wilson’, and a white one, ‘Alba’.

This plant is too modest to be planted with the more showy summer perennials, and I prefer it with roses, or perhaps with white Shasta daisies, or with foliage plants. Plant it in well-drained soil in sun, perhaps a group of three plants, 2 feet (60 cm) apart.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.