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Aethionema 'Warley Rose'

Written by John James, posted on Thursday, April 25, 2019

One of our more unusual plants is currently flowering its heart out in the Mediterranean Border in the Masters Garden.

Sadly highly under rated and hardly ever seen, I had never come across this plant until researching plants for the border. I found it on the original planting plan and having researched it, decided it would fit in nicely with the theme of the border.

The plant's common name of Stone Cress gives away its preference for stony well drained soils. The plant flowers throughout the spring and much of the summer.

Aethionema ‘Warley Rose’ like the more familiar genera of Aubretia and Iberis is a member of the cabbage family and is native to the Caucasus Mountains and is classified as an evergreen sub-shrub. The plant was awarded an Award of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in the 1990’s, and, as the plant seems to be easy to grow and roots readily from cuttings, it is surprising how uncommon it is.

The biggest issue we had using it for the border was sourcing the 30 plants necessary for the initial planting. Most UK nurseries who claimed to supply it could only manage to supply two or three at most, so we ended up having to source the plants from a nursery in Brittany.