Hebes for Colour and Versatility!

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Hebes for Colour and Versatility!

When the hebes start arriving in spring I’m always amazed at how many different cultivars there are; every year new names appear on the scene with this year being no exception and they’re all bound to please someone.

Hebes are attractive shrubs, some make good utility plants, hedging and the like, others have fantastic foliage, most bear colourful racemes of flowers attracting a variety of wildlife making them a good choice for any wildlife garden.

They grow in full sun, but many will be just as happy in part shade; good drainage is essential for them to thrive and their winter hardiness varies with some being tougher than others. With so many sizes and colours to choose from they are ideal for beds and borders and but are sure to brighten a your patio or container garden too.

I often wonder how some plant breeders decide upon names for their plants and Hebe ‘Marilyn Monroe’ is no exception. I don’t think its her colour or compact growth habit or the fact that she starts off early in the season with her striking new foliage being a wonderful deep purple that colour changes to olive grey with cream margins. The flowers are not blonde but instead a lovely deep purple producing a good nectar source for the butterflies and bees in spring and summer; she’s tough with a hardiness rating of minus twelve degrees Celsius with a height and spread of up to three feet. Maybe it is that Hebe ‘Marilyn Monroe’ has proven herself to be an all round star performer and just as Marilyn was for the movies this little Marilyn is going to be a star performer for the garden.

Hebe ‘Heartbreaker’ has been no doubt one of the most colourful but now has some serious competition with the outstandingly vibrant Hebe ‘Burning Heart’; this eye catcher has dark pink juvenile leaves that turn a grey green with pink margins followed by pale purple flowers in summer. It may be a little smaller than ‘Heartbreaker’ but makes up for it with its stunning depth of colour and is sure to raise a pulse in the garden.