Nearly all of the Saxifrages belong in the rock garden rather than the herbaceous border, but there are a few which are too large or too invasive for the average rockery and are used for edging or ground cover. These Border Saxifrages form rosettes or clumps of leaves from which arise branching slender stems bearing masses of starry flowers. They require moisture-retentive soil and some shade – remove the stems when the flowers have faded.

VARIETIES: By far the most popular of the Border Saxifrages is London Pride (S. umbrosa). Rosettes of dark green leaves cover the ground all year round and in early summer dainty sprays of pink flowers arise – height 1 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: May-July. There is a variegated version with its leaves splashed with yellow (’Variegata’) and a dwarf version with deep pink flowers (primuloides ‘Elliott’s Variety’). S. fortunei (1-1.5 ft) is quite different to the well-known London Pride – the glossy’leaves are lobed and deciduous, and the white flowers are about 1 in. across. The flowering sprays appear in October and November.

SITE AND SOIL: Any humus-rich soil will do – thrives best in partial shade. PROPAGATION: Divide clumps or rosettes in spring.

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