As the woodland drifts of bluebells fade, a new pretty in pink carpet takes over in a very different Isle of Wight environment.

There’s no better display on the Island than at Tennyson, where Sea Pink cling to the cliff in their favoured coastal environment or the different gentle, rolling, former golf course of St Helens Duver.

At the latter they have developed en-masse over the decades, under the care of the National Trust, long after the tread of luminary players at the Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club included prime minister Arthur Balfour and Lord Brabazon.

Sea Pink, otherwise known as Thrift, Ladies Cushion or by the Latin, Armeria maritima, are a wonderful addition to Island gardens large or small and now is the time to choose them at garden centres, so you can be sure of the colour you are getting.

Isle of Wight County Press: Pretty in pink thrift.Pretty in pink thrift. (Image: Richard Wright.)

They come in subtle pink (Armada Rose Pink is in my opinion the best) and the much darker Splendens. Both have places in our little rockery.

It is in that well-drained, sunny, environment, amid stones or gravel, they are at their very best and before and after flowering the lush green evergreen cushions of grass-like foliage don’t look half bad either.

Top Tips for Isle of Wight gardens this week

  • Large broad bean plants will need some support now in all but very sheltered sites. A handy trick is to use round metal poles in a ring around the row. Rope or thick string can be moved up the poles to provide support as the plants grow bigger.
  • Take softwood cuttings of shrubby herbs such as sage and lemon verbena.
  • Tie-in sweet pea plants with cushioned sweet pea support rings or rubberised ties to encourage them to climb. Pinch out the growing tips to encourage more growth and prolific blooms.
  • Top-dress permanent pot plants to refresh the compost. Scoop out the top couple of inches of compost before adding fresh peat-free compost. Slow-release fertiliser is a useful addition too.
  • Continue earthing up potatoes. It will reduce greening and encourage more potatoes to develop higher up the stem.
  • Harden off tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins for planting outdoors early next month.

Isle of Wight County Press: Sea Thrift on the Isle of Wight.Sea Thrift on the Isle of Wight. (Image: Richard Wight.)

Thrift can be dead-headed when the blooms turn papery, to prolong flowering.

They can be bought in the alpine section of garden centres right now or, better still – much more cheaply – grown from seed.

Simply collect seed from the pom-pom heads after blooming and in early autumn sprinkle them on a well-prepared seedbed and cover them with a light sprinkling of soil.

Indoors, there is still just time to propagate. Soak seeds overnight in warm water and they will germinate in darkness in less than 20 days in a temperature of between 60 to 70°F.

Prick-out when large enough to handle and transplant them outdoors or to a container in autumn and they will over-winter in even the worst of snow (if we ever get any) or bitter frosts.

They mature quite quickly; will bloom in their second year and you will enjoy solitary plantings, or – preferably - drifts of this diminutive delight.