CINQUEFOILS (potentilla) may not be the most dramatic plants in the garden, but they are border stalwarts, producing a colourful show of flowers for months. The pink, red, white or yellow blooms of the perennial forms open in generous succession from June until the end of August, while shrubby potentillas can flower from May to October.
The heavily veined leaves are usually divided into five – hence the name cinquefoil, stemming from the Old French for five leaf and one of the plant’s common names being five fingers. Their strawberry-like appearance makes it unsurprising that they are closely related to strawberries. Being a member of the Rosaceae family, they are also cousins of geums, which the perennial forms resemble, and wild roses, which the shrubby forms are reminiscent of.
One of most well-known perennials is ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’, the offspring of P. atrosanguinea, which produces fabulous single scarlet flowers above bright-green leaves. There are also double red forms, including orangecrimson P. russelliana ‘William Rollison’ and sumptuous-claret P. ‘Volcan’. But for softer cottage-garden charm, go for pastel varieties, such as salmon-pink P. x hopwoodiana and primrose-yellow P. recta var. sulphurea. Growing to 16-24in (40-60cm), they sit well at the front of the border with low grasses and perennials such as lamb’s ears and cranesbills.
Shrubby potentillas have fallen out of fashion somewhat, but they deserve their place. P. fruticosa ‘Sunset’ produces warm apricot blooms, P.f. Princess (‘Blink’) has soft-pink flowers and P.f. ‘Elizabeth’ is butter-yellow. Reaching 24-36in (60-90cm), they work well in the middle of the border, providing structure and colour among perennials (including large nepeta), as well as other shrubs, such as lavender, cistus and roses.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
How To Create A Winter Container
There are as many options as in summer, says Ruth
Citrus Plants In Winter
Too much cold weather and they will fade, says Ruth
Winter Care Of House Plants
Think about how water, light and temperature affect your indoor plants during winter
Make a winter container
Having removed the summer bedding from my pots, what can I plant now? Can I reuse some of the loose compost at the base? Anthea Bagnall, Hornsey, London
The wheel McCoy
As another wheelbarrow is wheeled off to meet its maker, Toby reflects on his most memorable garden assistants
Let it be…
Leave some of your winter garden untouched, says Val
There are three basic types of peony and each has a great deal to offer in terms of gorgeous fragrant blooms, says Anne Swithinbank, as she reveals her top picks
Want to hang on to those precious harvests? Check your supplies before storing or preserving, as Bob explains
Know your onions!
Seed is cheaper but sets are much easier, says Peter
The elegant, dainty flowers of epimediums are one of the most useful ground-cover plants in the garden that light up awkward shady areas, says Hazel Sillver
Expression and flow
MASTER PAINTERS OF THE WORLDS
MASTER PAINTERS OF THE WORLD
A QUESTION OF THE HUMAN CONDITION
Colour for every space
In the final part of her series, Carol Klein shows you how to put colour theory into practice no matter how tricky your plot
ALL THE FEELS
Get your dose of wintry cuteness with Anabella Cahwje’s felt mice
IDEAS ORIGINALES PARA PLANCHAR SIN PLANCHA
Una tetera caliente, el colchón, el secador de pelo, la ducha... Con estos divertidos y sorprendentes trucos, ya no habrá excusa para llevar la ropa arrugada.
Rooting for ROSES
Dreaming of blooms in June? Start planting now
COCKTAIL FAVE WHAT A STAR
This sophisticated dessert, spiked with coffee liqueur and with a silky dark chocolate layer, is easy to make ahead and makes a stunning Christmas centrepiece
DON'T LET A LACK OF SPACE STOP YOU FROM GROWING THIS POPULAR VEGGIE
Make your dull denim sparkle again in a star-struck cushion design