I bought little seedlings of this lovely perennial Honesty (originating from several Greek islands) around Easter last year from Special Plants in Bath and this spring they have started flowering. I had to move the plants last autumn to make way for my new greenhouse and was surprised to see that their roots were akin to Dahlia tubers, big and chunky, storing up plenty of energy for gorgeous blooms this year. This variety will grow in sun or light shade, with rich purplish seed pods, and if you sow seeds in late spring this year, they should flower next year. I’m hoping they’ll start to self-seed in my garden for the years ahead as it’s only a short-lived perennial.
I spent a few inspirational days volunteering at Great Dixter last week, where self-seeding is always encouraged to keep planting dynamic throughout the garden. Both green-leaved and variegated biennial Honesty (Lunaria annua) self-seeds freely in their borders (and in cracks in-between paving and buildings) allowing for some serendipitous planting combinations and I hope to get back to see some of these over the next few months. Special plants offer seeds for both biennial and perennial Honesties, including Lunaria rediviva, another perennial with lavender flowers and elliptical, more pointy seed pods.
These seed pods are a great childhood memory, sliding off the outer coats carefully, to reveal that delicate pale papery translucent film underneath. It’s only now that I’m realising what useful spring colour they can add to a garden.
At the moment ‘Corfu Blue’ is looking great alongside some nodding Leucojum aestivum (summer snowflake).