If I had to recommend one plant for a new gardener to buy it would be Erysimum ‘Bowle’s Mauve’.
Erysimum, otherwise known as a perennial wallflower, is a very easy plant to grow. It prefers full sun, but will cope with some shade and it isn’t too fussy about the type of soil it is grown in, unless it is very wet.
You can expect flowers from Spring to Autumn; you just need to dead head the blooms and to trim back the whole plant in Autumn to stop it getting leggy. This is the plant that the butterflies really favour in my garden. A couple of years ago I had three Red Admirals who spent a good few weeks visiting every day.
Although pretty hardy, these plants are not long lived. You can keep them going for a few years, but then they get very leggy and tend to fall over onto other plants. This is not a problem as these are one of the easiest plants to take cuttings from.
I did this for the first time last year and now I know how easy it is, I will be doing it every year and saving myself a fortune. You just need to break off the top of a stem and stick it in the edge of a flowerpot full of compost. I put mine in a sheltered spot outside and Hey Presto they were growing fine the next spring. One cutting even had a flower starting, until I removed the tips hoping to encourage them to branch. I have just transplanted them into separate pots.
There are plenty of other colours of Erysmimum that you can buy, but they are maybe not so available.
I have grown Apricot delight a few times. This is a lovely colour, especially for flower arrangements. The plant itself is not quite as robust as ‘Bowles Mauve’, but it is still worth growing.
It is also a very prolific flowerer and looks great in arrangements.
This year I have also tried ‘Yellow Bird’ for the first time. I planted them yesterday only to find out today that this is a much smaller variety more suitable for the rockery. Oh well, they will just have to be moved. That will teach me not to read the label.
There are many other colours you could try, but you might have to order them online.
This one looks interesting.
If you don’t have any of these plants and have space for a smallish shrub, why not give one a try.
If you have grown any other varieties I would love to hear how you got on.