Found by garden writer Margery Fish growing in her Somerset garden, this hybrid is far more delicate than other polemoniums: a neat mound of ferny foliage and sprays of pale-lilac flowers. It is hard to define what makes a ‘cottage garden plant’ but this is certainly one; easy to grow and with a comfortable, un-groomed look about it that sits well with aqulegias, ajugas, Solomon’s seal and other cottage garden plants. It has a reputation for being short-lived but I’ve had my plants for over a decade. Divide it regularly, though, to prevent the base of the stems becoming woody. It prefers fertile soil in shade but is very adaptable as long as the soil is not bone dry. It flowers from April to June and grows to about 40cm tall.