Plant

Top 9 Beautiful Magenta Flowers for Your Garden

01. Clematis

Clematis viticella “Madame Julia Correvon”

Flowering time: June-September

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Spectacular late-flowering climber for fences, arches and walls

If I had to have a wild and passionate affair with a clematis then it would have to be one of the viticella hybrids – actually, probably with more than one, so the whole thing could become rather complicated.

‘Madame Julia’ is very high on my list, being one of the more seductive members of the coven. It has quite large, wine-red flowers (which is no bad thing in a partner), which have slightly twisted sepals so that it sometimes seems as if it is glancing coquettishly over its shoulder with ‘come-to-bed- eyes’ (or maybe that is just my fevered imagination). All viticellas are late flowerers and make absolutely perfect companions for climbing roses; they start just as the roses begin to trail away.

Propagate by pinning a lightly wounded stem to the ground, where it will send out roots. After a year this new plant can be safely detached from its parent and planted elsewhere.

02. Meconopsis

Meconopsis punicea

Flowering time: May-September

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A perennial with a short, but glorious, life

It may seem odd that something that looks as delicate as a palace made from spun sugar can withstand the inclement, and occasionally violent, weather of northern Tibet. But this little poppy is a case in point: it’s a great deal tougher than it looks, so don’t let those skinny, slightly hairy legs and the wide-eyed crepe de Chine petals fool you into providing any unnecessary luxuries.

Meconopsis punicea will grow to about 45 cm (18 in) high, and if it is very happy it can flower from mid-summer to early autumn. Its only quirk is that without enough water it might sulk and become monocarpic. Monocarpic plants die immediately after setting seed although, unlike annuals, they may take many years to get to that stage. Good examples are some house leeks (Sempervivum), saxifrages and echiums.

Meconopsis does not live that long, but preventing flowering for the first season will help it become stronger. Seed germinates easily when sown in loamless compost.

03. Waterlily

Nymphaea “Rosanna Supreme”

Flowering time: June-September

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Gorgeous floating flowers attracting darting dragonflies

Waterlily leaves look like the pie charts with which we all struggled in school maths lessons (although, actually, they often involved coloring, which was always a lot more fun than simultaneous equations): round and leathery but missing a perfect triangular slice. Bobbing about amongst the foliage of Nymphaea “Rosanna Supreme” are the dark pink flowers that are much more complicated, with many layers of pointed petals.

The combination of circular leaves, intricate flowers and flashes of dark water are one of the most exciting things in any garden – even better if you get a glimpse of goldfish or carp swimming amongst the stems.

Ideally waterlilies should be planted in at least 20 cm (8 in) of water. They prefer still water, though, so don’t plant them too close to fountains.

04. Cape Daisy

Osteospermum “Springstar Mirach”

Flowering time: July-September

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A tender perennial infused with all the joys of life

These daisies are amongst the most cheerful of all plants and are always grinning. Originally they frolicked across the veldts and clustered around the kopjes of South Africa, smiling at passing impala right up to the moment that they were eaten by them. In domestic gardens they are just like a pack of very small, pink labrador puppies leaping around and enthusiastically greeting every visitor with a chorus of delight.

The Cape daisies have such simple forms and come in a wide spectrum of colors (some with different shaped petals), and provided you keep on top of the deadheading, they will happily carry on flowering until the first frosts. Even established plants need a bit of cosseting, though: lots of sun, regular water and a weekly feed.

For new plants, sow seed inside in spring or take cuttings in late summer by separating some non­flowering shoots from the base of the plants. Keep an eye out for aphids and mildew on young shoots.

05. Oriental Poppy

Papaver orientate “Manhattan”

Flowering time: June-July

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A large-flowered, hardy poppy

All poppies are wonderful, with their slightly wrinkled, shar-pei baby petals, their depth of color and their central bosses with their crown of black stamens that quiver like an upended beetle.

Papaver orientate was introduced from Turkey and, for the first couple of centuries, you could have it in any color you liked, provided it was orange. Then breeders worked out how to get pinks and whites into the mix and wonders like this vision, “Manhattan”, in its knicker pink, became possible.

Many gardeners feel that allowing oriental poppies into your borders can be like inviting a guest on holiday only to discover that, beneath the initial charm, there lies somebody of unsound personal habits. This is because, after flowering spectacularly, these poppies tend to die very messily, so always make sure that there is something close by to take over.

Divide congested clumps of plants in spring to get more plants, or take root cuttings in autumn.

06. Penstemon

Penstemon “Red Ace”

Flowering time: June-September

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Good, strong, long-flowering plant for the summer border

There are a lot of penstemons available in good, strong colors, and there are also a fair few that are pretty horrible. Penstemon “Red Ace” is definitely one of the good guys: perfect incarnadine trumpets hanging in long skeins upon shapely stems. If you look closely down the throat of the flower, there is a small epiglottis of pearl-colored stamens. The leaves are fairly narrow and understated, but they do hang on later than those on most deciduous plants. It should eventually reach about 40 cm (16 in) high and is a great plant for adding a little zip to a tired border.

Unless you want to collect seed, deadhead regularly and it will thank you by flowering for ages. Sow seed in late winter, but it is easier to propagate from cuttings in summer.

07. Petunia

Petunia “Conchita Doble Velvet”

Flowering time: June-September

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A long-flowering, trailing petunia – perfect for troughs and baskets

Many gardeners can get a bit sniffy about petunias because they are just regarded as easily disposable bedding plants of the sort you see in municipal window boxes and hanging baskets (busy Lizzies and trailing lobelias come into the same bracket).

It is true that petunias are not at all intellectually taxing – their name is simple to pronounce and growing them as easy as falling off a log – but they, and all bedding plants, serve their purpose very well, which is to raise a smile and lighten a leaden morning.

There are hundreds of different sorts of petunias available, in colors ranging from pure angelic white and strawberry blonde to livid, hair-raising magenta and sultry purple.

Buy petunias as young plants or sow seed under glass in full light. Pot them on and plant them outside only after the last frost. To get the best performance from petunias, give them a high- potassium feed every fortnight and never let them dry out.

08. Rose

Rosa “L. D. Braithwaite”

Flowering time: June-October

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A strong-growing rose that’s perfectly sized for most gardens

David Austin is one of the UK’s finest rose specialists, and over the past thirty years he has developed a whole new race of ‘English Roses’. These have been bred from a mixture of old roses (Gallicas, Damasks, and others from the eighteenth century) and modern-day hybrid teas and floribundas.

L. D. Braithwaite was Austin’s father-in-law, and he has one of the best crimson roses named in his honor. This is a clear, confident loudhailer of a rose that draws plenty attention and fulsome compliments. It has slightly tousled petals and grows to about lm (3 1/3 ft) high and wide. It’s not the most scented of roses, but you can’t have everything.

Roses are susceptible to various diseases: keep an eye out for aphids (which can be sorted by ladybirds and hoverfly larvae) as well as blackspot and rust (which can be controlled by spraying early).

09. Tulip

Tulipa “Maytime”

Flowering time: April-May

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A tulip well worth tiptoeing through

All tulips are spectacular: their straight stems, noble bearing and gorgeous coloring announce a wonderful start to a new season, but while some tulips are like archbishops (upright, well-behaved and dressed stylishly but with decorum), others are much more outrageous.

Tulipa “Maytime” is one of the latter: look at her, have you ever seen anything so coquettish in your life? She has a body like Jane Russell seen from behind, and with petals that look like satin and the color of a showgirl’s lipstick, she shimmies along showing off a perfectly curved (and substantial) rump with a waspish waistline. Her presence is enough to make even the dreariest shrubs sit up, suck in their stomachs and take notice. She’s a real showstopper.

Dig up the bulb after flowering and you might find little offset bulbs attached. Separate these and grow on in sandy compost until large enough for planting out.

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