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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Sunday
Feb152009

And Now for Something Different: a Perennial to Knock Your Socks Off!

Cephalaria gigantea or Scabiosa gigantea. As the name suggests, this is a giant perennial with a Scabiosa flower head, only taller. It will grow 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide; so give it lots of room to bloom. Flowers are about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and range in color, depending on growing conditions, from creamy white to bright yellow. Its long stems make it a good cut flower.This is a dramatic background perennial for deep gardens with vast perspectives. However, its coarse appearance requires that it be partially camouflaged by other plants. European gardeners have been successfully using this perennial in the back row of their flower beds for quite some time. It is now available in North America, but not yet well-known.This plant requires moist fertile soil that is well drained. It also needs full sun; otherwise it will flop over. Be prepared to stake it with unobtrusive fencing using transparent fishing twine and tall stakes.To prolong blooming, deadhead flowers regularly. After stems are spent, cut them down to the ground and trim foliage for a tidier appearance. Plant is hardy from zones 3a to 9b and is attractive to birds and butterflies.

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