Country diary: a coral form with a fondness for dry stone walls

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Allendale, Northumberland: The glaucous leaves and lemon yellow flowers of roseroot give it an underwater feeling – I almost expect small fish to emerge

Above a stone retaining wall at the front of my flower border, I grow mounds of a succulent herb known as roseroot. Rising out of a sea of forget-me-nots, their rounded shapes resemble strange coral forms. Their colouring of glaucous leaves and lemon yellow flowers adds to that underwater feeling; I almost expect small fish to be sheltering in their rhythmic branching.

They are termed herbs because the dried rose-scented roots were used in perfumery. Succulents because their water-retentive leaves enable them to live in high alpine conditions among dry rocks.

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