"Of meek repentance, wafting wall-flower scents
From out the crumbling ruins of fallen pride."
Sissinghurst Variegated Wallflower (Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum,' sometimes given as 'Variegata') is perfect for the xeriscape garden, although it may need some water gotten to it during its first summer to get established. It is thereafter ultra-hardy & low-maintenance for container or roadside sungarden.
It is hard to say which is its formost feature, the bright multicolored red flowers or the slender white & bluish-green striped foliage. As an evergreen subshrub, it makes an amazing impact in the winter garden.
The flowers are present May to mid-summer, & can sometimes start sooner & last longer. Flowers tend to begin lavender-mauve & fade through a rainbow of pinks & oranges. The May flower close-up shows this wonderful behavior of having more than one color of flower.
It prefers light, sandy, neutral to alkaline soils, & does not require fertilizing. It seems to adapt to our naturally acidic soils, but can be assisted by a little lime around the base, or a piece of chalkboard chalk inserted into the root once a year, or save your eggshells to crunch up & sprinkle undernearth it.
If wallflowers have any drawback it is their relative short lifespan. They give a few years of extreme beauty & give the impression of being rather premanant evergreen shrubs rather than perennials, a foot or so tall with three foot circular spread. But eventually they tire & loose their evenly & naturally mounded round form. Fortunately they do grow rapidly & if replaced every few years soon fill out nicely. It can be restarted from summer or autumn limb cuttings.
We have additionally E. linifolium 'Wenlock Beauty,' & the more tender E. cheiri 'Charity Scarlet.'
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