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Aubrietia

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Aubrietia common name – False Wall Cress / Rock Cress.
Hardy Perennial
6 inches to 1 foot.
Shades of purple and crimson. Flowers February to June.

A low-growing plant spreading after two or three years into a dense mat of foliage covered in earliest spring with single flowers. It is related to the Arabis, which it somewhat resembles in habit, but the foliage is finer and of a darker green, its flowers are more compactly set and, instead of white, show a range of beautiful purple tints.
The old Aubrietia græca or violacea, the first a light, the second a darker bluish mauve, is still indispensable, to anyone who cares for spring gardening; but space should be found for some of the newer varieties, amongst which should be noted Leichtlinii, a light crimson or carmine, Souvenir de W. Ingram, a larger form of the last, and either Purple Robe or Dr. Mules; the latter is a fine strong grower and when in bloom presents a piece of colour – a pure dark purple or rich violet – which nothing else in the garden approaches.
The older kinds may be raised from seed by sowing in boxes in May and brought on with attention in the way of moisture and shade in hot weather; but the more recent introductions must be obtained as plants. Cuttings may be made from small off-shoots at the end of the first summer’s growth, and, kept in boxes of light soil under glass during the winter, will be ready to put out in March or April following.
All the Aubrietias are happy when they can hang over stones or walls, and the pendant sheets of bloom which they form in such positions must be seen to be appreciated. The lighter mauve or lavender shades harmonise wonderfully well with the richer purples, and patches of the latter, alternated with white Arabis or with yellow Alyssum, make one the most beautiful of spring contrasts, sumptuous and yet most pure.
All the race will thrive in almost any tolerable garden soil, and when well established large pieces may be taken off (with a little care in finding rooted fibres) and planted out. A large plant may be forked up and broken into sections, which may be planted out in a nursery bed, and if looked after in the matter of watering and weeding, will make nice little clumps for the following season.
A few pieces of rough stone buried and half-sunk in the ground, in the manner of a rough crockery, will be an advantage in planting Aubrietias; and if a place can be found for them on the top of a low retaining wall or stony bank, with a good root-run in soil and a sunny exposure, the result in the second and third springs will be most enviable.

Aubrietia deltoidea
Perennial

A colourful and almost evergreen race of trailing plants of the eastern Mediterranean region from Sicily to Persia. The best-known species is A. deltoidea, but the garden forms are of mixed origin. They have small spoon-shaped foliage, toothed and greyish green in colour, with single flowers, half an inch across, varying in shade, among garden forms, from pale pink to lavender, purple and crimson. There are also double forms of garden origin and a form with variegated foliage.
The Aubrietias are useful for the front of the herbaceous border, particularly where there is an edging of rock stone which the trailing growths will cover quickly, followed, in season, by masses of brightly coloured flowers. They are valuable also for the rock garden. It is wise to cut back after flowering in order to maintain a tidy habit of growth. They can be grown successfully in any well-drained soil in full sun and are usually planted from pots in early March.

Propagate from cuttings for preference, by division or by seed.

The flowering season is in spring and early summer.


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