At the Chelsea Flower Show 2014 much of the talk centred on the purple, plum and maroon colour trend that featured in several of the gardens this year. As well as the plant of the year shortlist, there are always certain plants in the show gardens that are a hit with the public. It seems to be Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais' that's the star this year.
The dark burgundy spikes of Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ appeared on Hugo Bugg’s gold-medal winning rain garden and the Brewin Dolphin garden by Matthew Childs, among others.
Butterflies and bees love it, and so did we, whether planted with pale blue irises or alongside an astrantia of a similar purple-red tone. Sometimes it's the word-of-mouth favourite that becomes the sleeper hit and upsets the blockbusters.
Recently introduced to gardens, Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ features beautiful flower spikes of deep claret which bloom continuously from May to September.
The plants are most effective when planted in groupings, they give a good effect used in tight drifts through grasses and other perennials. The crook of the purple flower spikes give a sense of movement and rhythm when they're repeated.
Lysimachia ‘Beaujolais’ has an upright spreading habit of growth and reaches about half a metre in height and width. It will spread slowly if given a moist soil in sun or part shade, in drier soils the plants should be grown in some shade. The attractive pointed leaves are greyish green in colour with interesting silver undersides throughout the season. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.
The deep claret stems, a highly unusual colour in perennials, are very effective and add winter interest. They are ideal for cutting, the dark flowers are adorable in bunches.
Well-performing dark plants will always be in demand for garden borders with a bit of extra oomph, and the bulging spikes of deep claret ensure this will remain an interesting, distinct and fascinating plant.
Sowing: Sow in spring or in autumn.
Sow on the surface in trays or pots containing a good seed compost. Place in a cool place and maintain an optimum temperature of 14 to 18°C (55 to 65°F). Germination usually takes 30 to 90 days.
If sown February to July the plants can be put into the garden in late summer. Overwinter autumn sown seedlings and transplant to the garden in spring once all frosts have gone.
Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Acclimatise young plants to outdoor conditions before planting out 45cm (18in) apart.
Plant outdoors in moist soil in sun or part shade. Add plenty of organic matter to enrich the soil and keep moisture levels high before planting. In drier soils the plants should be grown in some shade. The plants flower in their second season.
Although Lysimachia prefers moist, well drained soil, it tolerates poor drainage; it is less vigorous in dry soil. Water first-year plantings regularly during dry spells. Established plants can generally get by on less water, but most grow best if the soil remains evenly moist. In a hot summer established plantings benefit from occasional watering, too.
Apply a generous 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plants in autumn. Lift and divide congested colonies and give a top dressing of bonemeal each spring.
Borders, Cottage / Informal Gardens, Wildlife and naturalising, Bog gardens and Container Planting.
Lysimachia atropurpurea is native to the Balkan Peninsula. Traditionally classified in the family Primulaceae, but belonging to the family Myrsinaceae, according to a molecular phylogenetic study.
The Lysimachia genus are a varied group, many are upright hardy perennials and reach from 30 to 90cm (12 to 36in) in height, however some are very low growing and reach only 7cm (3in) in height.
The generic name is dedicated to Lysimachus 360BC – 281BC was a Macedonian officer and diadochus (successor) of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus (King) in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.
The species name atropurpurea means 'very dark purple', The word 'atro' is a prefix conveying the sense of 'blackish or very dark,' and purpurea means the colour purple. It is often used in species names, as in atrocaeruleus, 'dark blue' or atrococcineus, 'dark scarlet'
Lysimachia atropurpurea ‘Beaujolais’ is occasionally called the Burgundy Gooseneck Loosestrife, The flowers are similar to the white Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) but in a deep rich burgundy-purple shade.
The curious name ‘Loosestrife’ is used for a number of tall plants that bear upright spikes of flowers.
Named for King Lysimachus, who used the plant to calm his oxen, translated from the Greek it means something like 'that which placed on the yoke of quarrelsome oxen will calm them down' . It was thought that garlands of the herb hung around the necks of oxen would encourage a team to plough a field in harmony. The veracity of this is a little hard to put to the test these days.
It should not be confused with Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) which is a wetland plant. Plants do not spread at the root or become invasive, though they may self-seed a little where happy.
Hugo Bugg - The 'Waterscape' garden.
The Chelsea Flower Show saw Hugo Bugg win the Chelsea Flower Show gold medal, with his environmentally conscious rain garden called 'Waterscape' making him the youngest ever winner at 26 years old.
His Chelsea garden, a collaboration with the Royal Bank of Canada, is a 'sophisticated, sustainable and symbolic' demonstration of the ways in which home gardeners can conserve and use storm water all year round. It also aims to highlight global water issues, and features a variety of trees, grasses and herbaceous perennials to provide food and shelter for birds and insects.
Hugo Bugg’s design demonstrates practical, year-round water management solutions for home gardeners. This is in keeping with the goals of the RBC Blue Water Project - a wide- ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world’s fresh water resources. Drawing inspiration from the parched effects caused by extreme global weather, the design is layered with naturally-occurring geometric patterns.
The resulting angles and striking motifs expose and conceal sections of the garden, enticing visitors to explore the space via a ‘floating walkway’. Water is directed through the garden at different gradients and speeds, mimicking the natural watershed and showing how storm water management can replicate nature although in bold and inventive ways.
Blues, lime-greens and yellows are predominant colours in the planting scheme including Iris bullyana, Iris robustra, Euphorbia and Geum. A variety of plants will have different roles in the garden's filtration, rain garden, and retention pools, inviting unusual combinations and contrasts including selected Irises, Juncus inflexus, Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais' and Amsonia tabernaemontana.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 30mg Average Seed Count 80 Seeds Family Myrsinaceae Genus Lysimachia Species atropurpurea Cultivar Beaujolais Common Name Crimson Loosestrife Other Common Names Burgundy Gooseneck Loosestrife Other Language Names FR: Lysimaque Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Deep claret flower spikes. Natural Flower Time May to September Height 60cm (24in) Spread 45cm (18in) Position Full sun to partial shade Soil Evenly moist soil