Three majestic Masterworts (Astrantias) chosen by plant hunter Lark Hanham
The majestic bracts of a Masterwort are a thing to marvel from as early as May. Their ruff-like bracts together form sprays of star-like mini explosions, ideal for repeating through the garden. However, the bountiful displays normally start to generate intense admiration in June when the flowers have finally pushed above the herbaceous foliage. Astrantias are ideal for shoehorning into mixed borders, where their hard-wearing resilience will ensure they still perform their socks off in either sun or shade. Since the Tudors, Astrantias have been growing in popularity year by year, and today are considered one of the most purchased hardy plants around, frequenting almost every Chelsea garden, and it’s not difficult to conceive why. Their accommodating aptitude see them thrive in pretty much any setting, and their charming aesthetics are bolstered by their generous disposition.
Astrantia major ‘Roma’ (PBR) AGM
This special variety is both RHS award-winning and protected by plant breeders’ rights, so it’s in high demand. It offers unmatchable flowering periods from late May to October and it’s also one of the most distinctive pink Astrantias I’ve ever seen. Perhaps that’s why it’s a favourite of Piet Oudolf’s, who seamlessly combines it with tactile grasses, where its wiry stems bob and seductively tangle in a mass of different textures. There’s nothing timid about Roma: it’s got conviction and grace in barrow loads. Height 60cm.
Forming neat mounds of deeply cut palmate leaves, position the compact Moulin Rouge at the front, where it can be enjoyed up close. Its another protected variety, however, don’t be seduced by the saucy Moulin Rouge: it’s dynamic and hard-working, flowering profusely through July and August. Its dark, brooding colour is ruby-red with almost black, robust spiky bracts. Moulin Rouge’s habit is particularly compact, only growing to 50cm tall, so it’s also great in perennial pots.
Astrantia major subsp. involucrata ‘Shaggy’ AGM
This will arrive to the party fashionably late, but its large, dual-toned, green-and-white blooms are worth waiting for. Named Shaggy, it’s the ideal choice for an informal garden as its raggedy flowers add a relaxed feel to any setting. Its taller stature is great for repeating in serpentine swathes through borders alongside tall grasses and Salvias for a late display. It will also reliably self-seed, so look at this purchase as an investment. Height 75cm.
How to buy
Buy Lark’s majestic Masterworts (Astrantias)
Buy one for £8.99, three for £17.98 or the mix of six for only £32.94 - save £21. P&P is only £4.95. Supplied in 9cm pots in 14 days*. Order at gardenshop.telegraph.co.uk/astoa or call 0333 772 0325. Contract for supply of goods is with Hayloft Plants Ltd. *Offers subject to availability.
Offer closing date July 22nd, 2019.