I love the colour that flowers bring to a garden and can see how they transform the atmosphere. When we came to this house eighteen years ago there was no garden. The house had been built two years before on reclaimed farm land so we really had part of a farm paddock for grass - you could not call it a lawn.
Previously I had created two gardens from scratch. Many of the plants for all my gardens cam as cuttings from my Mum's garden. She just loved striking cuttings but did not have a very good strike rate. However she kept at it and of course, many plants grew.
The second photo from the left on the top line is Centranthus ruber. My Mum remembers it from when she was a child on the farm near Geelong - eighty five years ago. Instead of it's fancy Latin name, she called it Kiss-me-quick. So it just goes to show how flowers pass down through generations.
This plant is seen in abundance in the TV series Doc Martin. Here the centranthus ruber perches in the brick walls along the roadsides and lanes in the Cornish town making for a pretty picture. This plant is very hardy.
The internet today allows us to find out all sorts of information so I was able to find out the Latin name for this plant and also to find out other common names used for it including valerian, red valerian, Jupiter's beard, Keys to Heaven, Fox's bush and spur valerian.
I have what is called a red colour but is really a dark pink, a mid pink and white flowering plants. There is also a pale pink flower.
These plants flower profusely then go to seed. The seed head does resemble a white fluffy beard. I know because my husband has one. If trimmed back half way down the stem two new flower heads will blossom. When the plant is finished flowering, just cut it back to within 10-15cm (4-6in) from the ground and it will shoot up again.
The plant grows large tubers or long, fat, pointy roots under the ground. It stores its reserves of energy within these tubers and so is not reliant on watering. It makes the plant drought resistant.
I throw the discarded seed heads in the garden where I would like some plants to grow. Next year they are there.
This plant is an herbaceous perennial growing to one metre tall (three ft) and self seeds. It has grey-green leave. It is suitable as a cut flower. It is great for a cottage garden. It also does well in dry rockeries and gravel gardens.