Since ‘Butterfly Blue’ came on the scene almost thirty years ago, a succession of new scabious in other colours have appeared but few really caught the imagination of gardeners. Now, as a new British bred series of five colours arrives, perhaps that will change.
The Dessert Series all have a number of features in common. The drought-tolerant plants are bushy and compact, but not dwarf and dumpy; they reach about 20in/50cm high and 16in/40cm across, ideal for containers or sunny borders. Flowering over a long season in summer and autumn, especially if dead-headed, the colours are rich and the flowers have an unusually high nectar content, particularly the lilac and purple shades, so are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Five colours are available: ‘Blackberry Fool’ (lilac pink), ‘Blueberry Muffin’ (lilac blue), ‘Cherry Pie’ (red), ‘Plum Pudding’ (purple) and ‘Rhubarb Crumble’ (pink). More are on the way.
Raised in Essex by John Burrows of Pro-Veg, John told me: “These remarkable new scabious have resulted from more than ten years of continuous selection, re-selection and improvements.
“These exciting new flower colours have been carefully selected for their excellent plant uniformity, well branched, reasonably compact plant height, free flowering plant habit. Some unique new colour combinations have being developed as a result, including bi-colours and new shades in a wide range of distinctive colours.
“Originally 36 different colour combinations were chosen, from which these have now been picked out as the best.”
One other important point, all are free of Cucumber Mosaic Virus which can be a serious disease of scabious.
You can order the five colours in the Dessert Series of scabious from Hayloft Plants.