Agapanthus 'Northern Star'
Agapanthus is one of my favourite genera and makes a really valuable contribution to the garden at this time of year. Over the years I have built up a selection of different species and cultivars with considerable diversity of flower colour, shape and inflorescence character; this gallery gives a sample of some of them. Many have come from Pine Cottage Plants in north Devon, where Dick Fulcher has a wonderful collection and nursery specialising in Agapanthus. The fabulous blue 'Northern Star' (above) is one of his selections and is hardy in the British climate.
Agapanthus 'Sarah', an evergreen cultivar derived from A. praecox and thus better suited to pot cultivation in the UK. It has extra perianth segments, giving it a distinctive appearance.
Agapanthus 'Midnight Cascade' - probably not very hardy, but I haven't tried it outside yet.
Agapanthus caulescens is another deciduous species that has been used in breeding and selection and seems to be moderately hardy. It can give some interesting flower colours with a purplish hint: this is particularly obvious in 'Liam's Lilac' (left), a Dick Fulcher selection that has been hardy here for several years.
One of the great myths of gardening, endlessly trotted out, is that Agapanthus need to be crowded in a pot (or even in the ground, which seems strange) before they will flower well. Just try it. Crowding almost always means starvation, and aggies are greedy feeders - flowering performance almost always diminishes rapidly once the plants begin to feel starved. They do flower best when properly established, however, but establishment does not need to mean crowded.
Agapanthus 'Loch Hope', currently flowering extremely prolifically at Colesbourne Park (with Phlox 'Natural Feelings'); it is one of the cultivars selected at the Savill Garden in the 1970s and still a superb hardy garden plant. I bought a plant of it from there in 1983, from which this patch is derived. 'Windsor Grey' (below) is another from this stable.
Agapanthus 'Windsor Grey'
Agapanthus 'Selma Bock'