The scabious, plants that neither the sun nor the drought can stop

This is becoming recurrent: all of France is affected by surface drought, despite the recent violent storms. Our gardens are suffering, and despite this, some plants flourish without apparent concern, including scabious.

So, focus on these plants which also have another great quality: they settle quickly, quickly dressing a young garden, giving it allure right away. Even if patience is the first quality of gardeners, there are times when installing plants that quickly satisfy them is essential. Some plants make the garden look mature. So, when the scabious, in addition to their speed of growth and hardiness, flower for several months, and remain lovely when it’s very hot, we adopt them without delay! An additional property? They are melliferous (1)! One more ? Lovers of bouquets particularly like these flowers which hold up well in a vase.

Came from the Caucasus

The blue scabious, with a country look, bloom from June to October, marrying very well with all the colors of the roses. These are the Caucasian scabious: Scabiosa caucasica. 50 to 60 cm high, these perennials are essential in all sunny beds, flower beds and cut flower gardens.

The pretty blue of their large round flowers contrasts with the yellow or pink of the yarrows, also camel plants. The examples of associations are innumerable because they are plants that are easy to place. There is a lovely white form, and some interesting hybrids, more or less compact in shape, whose blue varies from pale to almost navy, even mauve or parma, such as « Vivid Violet ».

A black scabies

If you like almost black flowers, adopt without hesitation Scabiosa atropurpurea « Chile Black » with an amazing color, chocolate brown with sometimes purple or purple reflections. Sophistication in the wild! Over the weeks, this plant blooms permanently, sports, from August, opulent and soft beige seeds punctuated with green. I find the mix of seeds and flowers absolutely lovely, but if you prefer an abundance of flowers, just remove the faded ones, to encourage regrowth.

Perennial? Biennial, Annual? It’s hard to say, because it wanders around so much that it’s almost impossible to spot the feet that remain in the same place for several years. What does it matter! Its bohemian, good-natured side and its incredible color make it a must! She stubbornly emerges from the beds to join the rockery, and, shamelessly, squats the edges of the houses, as the hollyhocks do. It settles between two macadam cracks, which proves that it does not fear drought, and these days, it is a great quality. Moreover, if like the other scabious it holds well in a vase, I tell you a personal experience.

In front of my house, there are large bins, planted like a garden. These scabies reseed themselves there, overflowing onto the sidewalk. A month ago, a zealous roadmender uprooted everything that was « dragging » around the planters: sedums, sempervivums and a sublime black scabious… Cut, left for dead, on the ground… The well-branched stem, placed in a washing machine full of water, still blooming, more beautiful every day.

Marry her to Scabiosa ochroleuca, with very pale yellow flowers, and just as resistant. The two colors complement each other wonderfully.

little and big cousin

Very close, here Knautia macedonica. Graceful flowers all summer long, of a color uncommon in the plant world – deep purple – characterize this full-sun perennial. Rustic, it settles quickly, forming a beautiful clump. It measures between 60 and 80 cm high, with pinnately lobed basal leaves and simple or lobed upper leaves. From July to October, there is a succession of flowers in crimson heads, 3 to 4 cm in diameter, very similar to scabious, perched elegantly on rather soft branched stems, which gives a spreading tuft.

With its very present pompoms, while being discreet, the tuft gives an impression of transparency, enhancing the gray foliage, and goes particularly well with yellow or ivory tones, such as the flowers of the pale yellow scabiosa, Scabiosa ochroleuca. There are about ten species of knautias, the best known being Knautia arvensis or Field Knautia or Field Scabious.

Just as close but in a giant version, here is Cephalaria gigantea. This plant with pale yellow flowers, which can measure up to 2 m in height, is perfect at the bottom of beds, where it plays the veil all in lightness. It also has its place in flower meadows.


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