- A lovely subtle variety that provides a great compliment to a wide range of other colours. The flat heads of flowers are a gentle salmon pink, displayed over a long period above dense ferny foliage. June to September. A good cut flower. For a sunny, adequately drained position. Height in flower 90cm
Achillea ‘Pretty Belinda’ is an excellent strong-pink achillea with broad heads of flowers and fine dark green foliage. Flower colour strengthens as the flowers age giving a pretty two-toned effect. Plants have a compact habit and good ability to stay upright. 50cm. Summer. Repeat flowers if cut back.
Achillea ‘Summerwine’ has intense dark cerise flowers crowd in dense flat heads. This is a variety that has fine green foliage and spreads well making an open clump. Grows well in variety of soils, but will be longest lived in a well drained soil that is on the dry side,especially in winter. full sun. 75cm
Achillea ‘Faust’ has domed saucers consisting of hundreds of small deep red flowers with yellow centres with the quality of a rich velvet brocade. The deepest of the reds it has distinctive grey-green foliage and tends to branch less than most. A long succession of flowers from june to September above evergreen ferny foliage. To 60cm when in flower. Trim away spent flower stems for repeat flowering or for timed flowering, cut back, feed and allow 6 weeks for recovery.
- Short and stocky Achillea with deep cherry red, yellow-eyed flowers packed in broad flat heads. Easy to grow adaptable perennial which forms Dense ground cover. 60cm. Full sun. Any soil
The colour combination of sage like grey green foliage and flattened heads of burnt orange flowers is as subtle as it is beautiful. Achillea ‘Walther Funcke’ has flowers that start rich brick-orange and becomes more golden as they expand and age. A neat varirty with a compact habit. Flowers over a long period. 60cm. Full sun. Easy to grow adaptable perennial. Grows well in most soils but prefers it dry
- Broad flat heads containing a myriad of tiny flowers that open dark terracotta orange and fade through burnt orange to tawny gold and finally cream. Flowers July to September. The foliage of this variety has a grey green quality that adds to the plants beauty. Mid height at about 90cm.
Achillea ‘Lachsschonheit’ is a cracking variety which has earned the accolade of a RHS Award of Garden Merit. The broad heads open a soft pastel salmon-orange and gradually fade to cream and pink. This is pne of the Galaxy series, a group of Achillea produced from a crosses between Achillea millefolium and Achillea taygetea. 60-70cm.
Achilea millefolium is found in a variety of habitats from hedgerows and pasture to wasteground, thriving best on poorer soils. It grows from lowlands up to considerable altitudes. Gerard noted that it grew well in churcharyds and supposed it a reproach to the dead ‘who need never have come there if they had taken their Yarrow broth faithfully every day whilst living.’
It is used both for the subtle range of colours, from pure white, through soft pinks and vibrant reds to pink and lavender. Oranges, yellows and flowers that fade a second colour are also covered. The flower heads dry well for dried arrangements. They are excellent plants for the border, where they will flower twice if cut back and excel in xeriscapes. Longevity is increased on poorer drier soils. They tolerate mowing excellently. They are very hardy. Their main enemy is excessive winter wet.
The leaves of Achillea millefolium are strongly astringent and are considered excellent in helping to heal cuts made by steel. Clean cuts can find it hard to knit together. If the leaves of Achillea are chewed and then placed in the wound, the astringent qualities tighten the wound and then the rough nature provide a structure for the wound to heal across. In days when swords where the weapon of choice, soldiers would carry achillea as part of their standard kit, leading to common names such as Soldier’s Woundwort.
The Greeks named Achillea after Achilles, the legendary heroic warrior who they believed discovered the plants properties. The common name yarrow is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘gearwe’ the name of this plant. The specific epithet ‘millefolium’ or ‘thousand leaf’ refers to the much divided leaf.
Another common name, ‘Nosebleed’, could have two opposing derivations. By some it is said to be most effectives at staunching nosebleeds, yet by others it is said to induce bleeding from the nose, such as in the custom in Eastern Counties of divining your one true love by tickling the inside of the nose whilst reciting:
‘Yarroway, Yarroway, bear a white blow, If my love love me, my nose will bleed now.
Another way to forsee your fortunes in love is to place Yarrow beneath your pillow, wrapped in a flannel and recite before you retire:
‘Thou pretty herb of Venus’ tree, Thy true name it is yarrow, Now who my bosom friend must be, Pray tell thou me tomorrow.’
Your sleep will then bring you a vision of your future spouse.
There is a further history of Yarrow being used in the art of divination, the herb having a long association with the Devil.
Achillea millefolium ‘Rougham Salmon’. Yarrow, Yarroway, Milfoil, Devil’s Nettle, Devil’s Plaything, Bad Man’s Plaything, Old Man’s Pepper, Soldier’s Woundwort, Knight’ Milfoil, Herbe Militaris, Thousand Weed, Nose Bleed, Carpenter’s Weed, Bloodwort, Sanguinary, Staunchweed,
Achilleas belong to the Compositae.
The family Compositae comprises the daisies. Whilst you might look at the flower of a daisy and think you are looking at a single flower, what you are actually looking at is an inflorescence – a group of flowers. In daisies the flowerhead, or more rightly the capitulum, is a composite of two types of flowers. In the centre are the disc florets which are small, normally tubular and fertile. They produce the nectar that attracts insects and lead to the seeds. Outside these in a ring are the ray florets which are like flattened petals. These are colourful and have the job of getting the flowerhead noticed.