Cheiranthus linifolius 'E.H. Bowles'
Bowles' Mauve Wallflower
Shrubby, gray-leaved perennial to three feet
Some plants just burst on the garden scene, and such is the case with a wallflower being called Bowles' Mauve. It's sudden popularity with garden designers is easy to understand--it grows fast, has the tidiest of gray foliage and flowers all the time.
Now this wallflower is not like the wallflowers that are so popular in England. This one is a little bush and the others are grown as bedding plants. Botanically, it gets bounced back and forth between two genera, in one book being a Cheiranthus and in another a Erysimum . The specific name, linifolius , refers to the narrow leaves that are a fine blue-gray.
Bowles' Mauve is remarkably tidy and symmetrical and deserves a special spot in the garden. The plant grows to about two feet tall in six months and then slowly to three feet. Though this cultivar obviously originated in England (E.H. Bowles being a legendary English nurseryman), it is native to Spain and looks completely at home in a California garden, where it, incidentally, can get by on little water.