"Observe this dew-drenched rose of Tyrian gardens."

-Christina Rosetti


At the foot of our roadside's Butterfly Bush we added two clumps of Helianthemum x nummularium 'Cheviot' Sunrose (or Sun Rose) to a row of flowery sunroses & rockroses (Cistus hybrids).

Rockroses & sunroses are wonderful evergreen subshrubs that are very drought-tolerant, plus sunroses & some rockroses are equally cold-hardy. They are perfect roadside plants, not only for their extravagant flowers & evergreen presence, but most varieties, including 'Cheviot,' for such dense mats that it does a superb job of smothering weeds.

CheviotNamed for the Cheviot Hills of Scotland, where rockroses & thyme grow wild, 'Cheviot' has silvery grey-green leaves in contrast to the shiny green leaves of our H. nummularium 'Mrs. Mold' growing near 'Cheviot.'

A clump is already mature at a eight inches tall by a foot wide & will be covered with flowers, each apricot-peach-colored golden-hearted crepe-papery bloom the size of a twenty-five cent piece. It can spread easily to three feet or wider, & mound upward to two feet though usualy only one foot.

CheviotIts pastel flowers occur May through the whole of summer & sometimes into autumn. The first photo was snapped in June (2003). In an especially sunny spot without too many overcast days in early spring, 'Cheviot' will begin blooming well before the end of April, which is when the second & third photos were taken (2004).

The second clump is enough further away from the butterfly bush that it gets extra sun & blooms first of all the rockroses in that row.

Blooms are heaviest May through July. When its flowers become few & it seems nearly done for the year, a light sheering will induce autumn rebloom.

It will be hardy & robust for several years, but not being notably long-lived, eventually sunroses show signs of decline. Cutting them back nearly to the ground may get refreshed growth started, but all too often a time eventually arrives when it is best to start over with a new plant. Replacements can already have been restarted from cuttings of young shoots, taken in August & started in coldframes or indoors, to replace the worn-out subshrub the following spring.


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