SAXIFRAGE

P. The genus Saxifraga covers an immense numberof perennials, mostly for rock gardens, and is happiest on limy soil. It includes Saxifraga nmbrosa, the very common (but none the less most beautiful) London Pride, also known as Prattling Parnell, Prince’s Feather and St Patrick’s Cabbage. This bears loose sprays of small pink flowers in early summer, growing to about 1 ft. It flourishes anywhere but is probably at its best in slight shade and is ideal for edgings. The dwarf London Pride, S. primuloides Elliott’s variety, has rich pink flowers in May followed by crimson seed vessels. It only reaches 6 in. and is ideal for rockeries. The Kabschia saxifrages, often cushion-forming, comprise some of the most attractive species and varieties for rock gardens. They are generally easy to grow, do particularly well in the scree or moraine, rarely exceeding 3 in. when in bloom. A gritty, perfectly drained soil enriched with leaf mould and loam to keep the roots cool is desirable. A sunny position is necessary and some mortar rubble or limestone chippings should be worked into the top inch or so. The Kabschias bloom in winter and early spring, according to variety etc. Increase by division in spring. The following are a few of the best for beginners.

S. apiculata: primrose-yellow, flowers in February and March. Increases quickly. The white form is equally easy.

S. Burseriana: the various hybrids of this species have narrow, spiny, blue-grey leaves in rosettes, flowering about the same time as S. apiculata. The type has pure white flowers. Gloria is also white but with extra large blooms on red stems. S. B. sulphurea: light yellow. S. Kestonensis: pure white flowers in January. Mrs G. Prichard: large deep pink flowers in early spring. Myra: cherry-red flowers in early spring. Riverslea: deep crimson-purple flowers in early spring. The various forms of S. aizoon are sun-loving and are also easy. Many are useful for planting in crevices in rock-work. Heights vary considerably. They bloom in May and June and are increased by division in spring. Baldensis (minutijolia) is the smallest of the group with starry, creamy-white flowers on 2 in. stems, leaves generally deep red. Rex has rosettes of spreading, round, silvery leaves and creamy white flowers on mahogany-red stems, 8 in. high. Rosea bears clear pink flowers on 9 in. stems and has reddish leaves edged silver.

S. sarmentosa (stolonifera) is often grown in a warm greenhouse or on a window-sill. It has several popular names including Aaron’s Beard, Mother of Thousands, Roving Sailor and Strawberry Geranium. Hardy in any perfectly drained soil, it bears white and yellow flowers on 10 in. stems in July.

Saxifraga megasea, now usually listed under Bergenia, is sometimes grown in the herbaceous border and succeeds almost anywhere, including shady positions under trees. B. cordifolia has more or less evergreen heart-shaped leaves and rosy-purple flowers in March and April. There are white and pink forms. Height about 1 ft. Increase by division after flowering.

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