SHORTIA

The exposed crevice is not the place for this rockery perennial – it requires cool, peaty earth where it can thrive and display its highly decorative blooms. Dead-head when flowering is over. The shiny rounded leaves are usually tinged with brown or red, and in winter the foliage may turn completely bronze or crimson.

VARIETIES: The basic details of S. galacifolia are height 6 in., spread 1 ft.

Flowering period: April-May. The trumpet-shaped flowers measure about 1 in. across – white when first open but changing to pink as the bloom ages. These flowers are borne singly at the top of the flower stems. If you can find it, choose instead the more spectacular S. uniflora – height 4 in., spread 1 ft. The flowers are 1.5 in. across and the petals are fringed. Their colour is either white or pink.

SITE AND SOIL: Well-drained, humus-rich soil is necessary – thrives best in partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in early summer.

By careful selection you can ensure that your rockery will have flowers nearly all year round. For each month there is a list of perennials which can be expected to be in full bloom – remember that some of these plants may come into flower earlier and can continue to bloom for many weeks afterwards.

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