"Allah is a Sunrose from the Seir Mountains."
(Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki)
The alpine sunrose Helianthemum x nummularium 'Henfield Brilliant' is extremely cold hardy. In zone 4 it may behave as a dieback perennial, but in our temperate Zone 8, it is a silvery-leafed evergreen woody subshrub.
If it does ever suffer winter damage, which would be more from dessicating winds than the cold, it can be hard-pruned in spring, to start over. It benefits from a mild pruning in any case, either when finished blooming (to excite rebloom) or at winter's end for the sake of spring's fresh leaf production.
If never pruned it will get too rangy around the edges, & the leaves that rest right on the ground will get very messy & ugly. Apart from a sheering once or twice a year, however, it demands no other attention.
It is also heat & drought-hardy, a superb plant for hot sunny borders, requiring very little watering even at the height of summer. Our sunrose collection is out by the road among water-conserving herbs, & 'Henfield Brilliant' is on the very corner of the property where it gets both morning & afternoon sun.
Sunroses are not fussy as to soil conditions or pH, just so long as they are never too wet for long at a time. Perfect drainage is essential for them to do well through our rainy seasons.
The single flowers of 'Henfield Brilliant' are bright coppery-coral to burnt-orange, with yellow hearts. The colorful tissue-paper petals are a strong contrast to the tough silvery-grey leaves.
It blooms in most places at the very latest from late May & all of June, but in an extremely sunny spot will flower late in April. For us it has been among the first of the sunroses to bloom & is in full flower by mid April. Plus it generally reblooms before autumn, after it has been sheered a bit to induce new foliage & flowers.
It is a recipient of the Award of Garden Merit. It grows in a prostrate manner from eighteen inches to two feet wide, but only ten inches tall, humping at the center to a foot height, & capable of cascading off a stone ledge. It is sufficiently compact to keep weeds from coming through, so a collection of these little sunroses make a marvelous weed-suppressing groundcover.
Sunroses can easly share space with tulips or alliums, which will burst right through the groundcover in their season.
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