An elegant groundcover from Turkey and the Balkan region with finely cut, silver-grey leaves growing in downy rosettes and contrasting with the bright-yellow flowers. Its strong rhizomes can check erosion on slopes. H 30cm. S 60cm. C Dry, poor soil; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H5.
ARBUTUS X THURETIANA
This A. andrachne x A. canariensis hybrid is a wonderful strawberry tree for milder climates. Spectacular bark in June: the old orange-red peeling bark reveals a smooth, new, green bark. H 8m plus. S 4m. C Tolerates a wide range of soils; full sun or part shade. SI Year round. HR RHS H4.
One of the best evergreen groundcovers for dry gardens and attractive to butterflies. Needs little weeding as the plant releases germination inhibiting compounds (allelopathy). H 20cm. S 40cm. C Tolerates a wide range of soils; full sun or partial shade. SI Year round. HR RHS H5.
CISTUS X PORPHYREUS ‘PURPLE PATCH’
An attractive new selection bred by Yorkshire Cistus specialist Bob Page. Aromatic, evergreen foliage and large, purple flowers with dark blotches. H 1m. S 1m. C Best in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; full sun. SI May to June. HR RHS H4.
The narrow, silky silver leaves are covered by a mass of pale-pink flowers in summer. Excellent in coastal gardens, as it’s extremely tolerant to salt-laden wind. The plant grows as a dense cushion, perfect in a gravel garden. H 30cm. S 40cm. C Poor, well- drained soil; full sun; SI Year round. HR RHS H4.
The striking silver-blue leaves that spiral around the 69 stems take on a pink tinge in winter. Flowerheads stay attractive over a long period; bright-yellow in winter, orange in spring and fading to crimson in early summer. Self-seeds easily. AGM. H 30cm. S 50cm. C Well-drained soil; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H6, USDA 7a-10b.
A ‘giant’ Linaria from the Tizi-n-Test pass in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. Steel blue-silver leaves, strong bushy growth and long spikes with pink-veined, yellow, velvety flowers. H 1.5m. S 80cm. C Best in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H4.
This sub-shrub from southern Crete is probably one of the most attractive plants for dry gardens. Soft, velvety, grey-green foliage and dense mounding habit. The lilac flowers in spring are followed by fluffy seedheads that stay attractive all summer. H 80cm. S 1.2m. C Well-drained, dry soil; full sun or partial shade. SI Year round. HR RHS H4.
A chance seedling that was found in our garden, this free-flowering hybrid is a cross between O. syriacum and O. majorana var. tenuifolium. Highly aromatic, silver, evergreen foliage, abundant white flowers in early summer, very attractive to insects. H 80cm. S 60cm. C Best in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H4.
The rosette of salad-looking leaves – the name Petromarula is Greek for ‘rock lettuce’ – produces fast-growing spikes covered with pale-blue flowers. This Cretan species from the Campanulaceae family thrives in the rockery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It can be short-lived but it self-seeds easily. H 80cm. S 60cm. C Best in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; full sun. SI Spring. HR RHS H4.
A fast-growing shrub with flexible, bushy, silver-coloured vegetation. In early summer, the shrub bends under the weight of thousands of soft golden flowers. The Spanish name, lluvia de oro, translates as rain of gold, and gives a good idea of what the plant looks like in bloom. H 3m. S 1.5m. C Tolerates a wide range of soils; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H5.
An aromatic, medicinal perennial, used as a herbal tea in Anatolia, this is a highly desirable plant for a scented garden. White flowers on long spikes from May to July. H 60cm. S 60cm. C Poor, well-drained soil; full sun or partial shade. SI Spring to summer. HR RHS H4.
The small, violet flowers of this aromatic perennial. grow out of large crimson calyces. Extremely attractive as a rockery plant or small groundcover for gravel gardens. AGM. H 25cm. S 30cm. C Best in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; full sun. SI Spring. HR RHS H3.
This lovely sub-shrub is endemic to the limestone ridges of the Kyrenia Mountains in northern Cyprus. Its whorls of lime-green flowers on reddish stems contrast with the silver-coloured, woolly foliage Often short-lived but self-seeds freely. H 50cm. S 30cm. C Poor rocky soils, needs excellent drainage; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H4.
A tough perennial that is cold and heat tolerant, from Caucasus steppes. Dense, silver foliage, silky whorls of small, lilac flowers. A lovely groundcover for gravel gardens. H 25cm. S 50cm. C Best in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; full sun. SI Year round. HR RHS H5.
Mastic thyme, a sub-shrub that originally comes from the mountains of southern Spain, has one of the strongest fragrances among all aromatic plants from the Mediterranean. The nectar produced by the small white flowers is highly attractive to bees and other beneficial pollinating insects. H 30cm. S 25cm. C Poor rocky soils, needs excellent drainage; full sun. SI Year round for the fragrant foliage, spring for the flowers. HR RHS H4.
Don’t miss the final part, coming soon!