Helianthemum nummular turn

Helianthemums, or rock roses, are among the most charming of plants for spilling over steps or low walls. Rather shrubby in texture, and evergreen, they grow at most 12 inches (30 cm) high, but spread sideways to at least 2 feet (60 cm), producing a profusion of small, roselike flowers from early summer. These come in a range of red, orange, bronze, yellow, pink and white, and are well stocked by nurseries and garden centres. One of the charms of rock roses when in flower is that they bloom in the morning and then shed their petals to make a ring of colour on the ground. Next morning, the plant will be covered with fresh flowers.

They want full sun and well-drained soil, and should be clipped over after flowering like Iberis. They are not usually long-lived and it is wise to take cuttings of favourite varieties in summer to keep up your stock. ‘Ben Afflick’ is a good copper variety, and ‘Wisley Primrose’ a good yellow. There are also double varieties but I do not like them, for the simple beauty of the flower is quite lost.

Plant helianthemums 2 feet (60 cm) apart, perhaps with one colour overlap-ping another, such as bronze with yellow, or pink with white.

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