The Monkshoods, show obvious relationship to Delphiniums, and include some very good garden plants. They are easy to grow, in sun or partial shade, but respond to good treatment by flowering more freely where not starved. A mulching when dormant, of fertilised peat or compost is helpful, but it pays to lift and replant every few years. All unwanted roots should be dug in deeply or composted. A. napellus has several variations of which A. ‘Bicolor’ is one of the best, with slender branching spikes 3-3 ‘/£ feet, tall from June to August. A. ‘Newry Blue’ is an earlier deep blue, growing to 4 feet tall. The shapely A. ‘Bressin-gham Spire’ is outstanding for its symetrical spikes to 3 feet, furnished with pretty glossy leaves. The flowers are violet blue, from July to September and A. ‘Blue Sceptre’ is of similar habit, but a little dwarrer and has blue and white bicolor flowers. For autumn flowering A.fischeri is attractive, and both this and its variety A. arendsii prefer some shade where not too dry. The latter is superb, with amethyst blue flowers topping strong 3 ‘/2 feet, stems, August to October. A ‘Ivorine’ is distinctive on three counts, not only has it a profusion of ivory-white flowers on erect 3 feet spikes, but it flowers early, from May to July. It has a compact clumpy rootstock which promotes a shapely well foliaged bushy habit and in a position not too dry, can be left for several years. A. orientale is also worth mentioning because it is of similar habit and colour, though a little taller, and flowers from June to August.

ACONITUM napellus bicolor

ACONITUM napellus bicolor and ACONITUM fischeri

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