Plants galore to fire your imagination

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Hayloft plants (www.hayloft.co.uk) has become a browsing favourite because it keeps offering something different.

It has more than 90 new varieties to choose from in 2018, and these promise diverse changes in colour and form as the year progresses.

A few plants in the catalogue are on my wish list.

A scented summer climber, Milletia reticulata, that twists around upright supports, looks interesting. With pea-like flowers, attractive to bees and butterflies, it could provide cover for a garden structure.

It’s a hardy perennial, capable of growing to 3m, and if ordered, would arrive around April. The £22 price tag could be off-putting, but it is different, fragrant, perennial, and looks as if propagation would be a possibility.

Angel’s fishing rods is an apt description of dierama because the graceful blooms dangle on long stems in early summer and nod gently in the slightest breeze. It grows to one metre, attracts key insects, is good for cutting, and there’s a choice of three varieties; Snow Bells, Pink Rocket and Blackbird.

I’ve occasionally mentioned Plectranthus coleoides, a tender, variegated pot plant that doubles up as a trailing subject in summer displays outdoors, but the discovery of a hardy perennial version in Hayloft’s catalogue has fired the imagination.

It offers large spikes of lavender-blue flowers in late summer to autumn for butterflies and gardener alike. Better still, it’s hardy down to minus 5C.

Monarda is the botanical name for bergamot, a constituent of Earl Grey tea. It’s also commonly called Bee-balm for the obvious reason. The flowers can be used for decorative purposes, fresh or dried, or the fragrant leaves can be added to pot-pourri.

Having noted how well this plant performed in the border over the past year, more would be welcome. Three cultivars of Monarda Sugar Buzz have gone on the wish list – Grape Gumball, Bubblegum Blast and Pink Frosting.

Trachelospermum asiaticum is the white, star jasmine. In keeping with the attractive, yellow Jasminum nudiflorum, currently blooming without scent, this one is also hardy to a point, but is grown for the exquisite fragrance. The introduction of a pink variety, which is also highly-scented, is certainly of interest.

When visiting gardens, it’s always a thrill to come across a plant that does not register on the radar. This would have been the case had I bumped into Titanotrichum oldhamii before the Hayloft catalogue arrived. But now I’ll recognise the plant with purple fleshy stems, rising from clumps of purple leaves, and the foxglove-like, golden-yellow blooms, with red centres.

Happy gardening in 2018.