Brilliant flowers can provide perfect colourful companion

A Generic Photo of Polemonium. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
A Generic Photo of Polemonium. See PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature GARDENING Gardening Column.
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Best of the bunch - Polemonium

These cottage garden favourites look great in dappled shade, where their lance-shaped leaves and clusters of cup-shaped blue, white or pink flowers show up well.

Also known as Jacob’s ladder, polemoniums thrive in fertile, well-drained soil and don’t take an age to become established. Among the most popular is P caeruleum, which grows to around 60cm (2ft) tall, producing soft blue flowers with bright yellow stamens, and self-seeds freely.

They make good companions with other early summer-flowering plants, including aquilegia, geum and trollius.