Perennial Flower Information
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- Rock Cress, Wall Cress
Cress is a small, white, four-petaled flower and its
masses of snowy bloom early in the Spring contrast beautifully
with the Basket of Gold (Alyssum saxatile compactum)
and the blue False Wall Cress (Aubrietia). It
blooms very soon after the snow disappears and the flowers
are so numerous that when a plant is in bloom, no foliage
is visible. The foliage is gray and the plant attains
a height of 6 inches. It is of a spreading nature and
the stems form a dense mat about a foot across which
blooms continuously from very early Spring through May.
Arabis alpina is the commonest form grown but
A. albida is a better bloomer. Both have white
flowers. There is a soft pink sort (A. aubrietioides)
which sometimes winterkills.
It is a splendid rock garden plant, growing where it
will droop over the rocks. In borders it should be used
to cover bare spots. The flowers are sweet scented and
are valuable for cutting purposes. It is a neat plant
Any good garden soil will do, provided it is loose and
open. Arabis is a drought-resistant plant, does not
need much water, but requires lots of sun and heat.
After blooming the plants should be cut back thus causing
them to branch freely and form better plants for the
next year's bloom. A. aubrielioides is best wintered
in a coldframe.
Rock Cress is propagated by seeds or by dividing the