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I'm sitting on a train as I write this, something I do more frequently than I used to, in an effort to cut back on the number of miles I drive each year. One of the best things about taking the train is being able to gaze, semi-comatose, through
its vigorous suckers (and copious amounts of seed) can easily become a problem. Each plant can cover many square metres of ground and on Colonsay (and other areas of west Scotland) it thrives on the acid soil and is taking over great swathes
, with regular deadheading, keep going until the autumn. Propagation is also quite simple: take cuttings from the non-flowering shoots in the summer.I haven't even started on alpine and annual varieties but must mention D. carthusianorum - a really good perennial
. This is not nearly as scary as it sounds as it is simple to manage. It sends up fast-growing, very vertical shoots, with tinkling silver leaves that bustle and worry in the breeze. When one trunk gets too big you cut it down and let another take its place.
and an interesting story.The elder has always been considered a magic plant, supposed to ward off evil and provide useful protection from witches - in some parts of the world cutting down an elder may bring the wrath of some evil sprite upon you. If that is the case