August – Sit back and enjoy the colour

Thinking on from my last blog about enjoying what the garden has to offer I took myself for a walk down the Hot Border and it didn’t fail to deliver for me.

We’ve been moving quite a lot of plants around in the Hot Border and also dividing some of the plants that have outgrown their space. We’ll be doing a lot more of this work in late autumn. Plants like Echinops ritro and Persicaria amplexicaulis have gone from good clumps to a bit of a thug. So they’ll be dug up and split and we’ll pot the rest up for sale in a year or so.

In the meantime, down at the bottom of the border a whole new clump of Lychnis chalcedonica or Maltese Cross, with its compact domed heads of small vermillion cross-shaped flowers it’s a real head turner and a big favourite with bees.

I also love its cousin Lychnis coronaria, common name Dusty Miller or charmingly Bridget-in-her-Bravery. I have no idea where that name originates from and how plants get their common names is the subject of a whole different column. Eye catching with its silver felted leaves and cerise coloured flowers, once established you will never lose it. It’s a short lived perennial that self-seeds freely. Pop a plant or two in a sunny part of your garden and enjoy.

I have great fondness for Kniphofia rooperi or Red Hot Poker. It’s a bit of a marmite plant for many people but it is (along with Dicentra formosa) one of the first flowers I can remember. It grew in the garden of my extreme youth and, I don’t know, maybe it was it’s very brashness, tall, slightly angular flowers in the brightest of oranges that made it appeal.

I’m clearly not alone as there is now an abundance of cultivars to chose from. The bright orange of ‘Bees’ Sunset’, the pale lemon of ‘Little Maid’, the creamy green of ‘Ice Queen’ or the caramel of the delightfully named ‘Toffee Nose’ to name but a few means there should be something for everyone. I’m rather fond of the bright oranges but that’s just me.

I’ve also been increasing the dahlia stock of the garden. They do involve extra work in needing to be lifted and stored over winter but in spite of that I have become a complete convert to this flower with its incredible range of colours, shapes and sizes.

I plumped for the gorgeous tawny heads of ‘Gwyneth’, the almost black drama of ‘Hadrian’s Midnight’ and the large deep pink decorative heads of Elma E. They all bring more colour and drama to the Hot Border but I confess that my heart still belongs to ‘Chat Noir’, a cactus class with garnet red petals; just beautiful.

But for good doers that just go on and on flowering I think Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ or ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ (Sneezeweed), or Anthemis tinctoria ‘E. C. Buxton’ (Dyer’s Chamomile) or Rudbeckia fulgida (Black-Eyed Susan’ just can’t be beat. Regular deadheading should see them flowering well into October and providing a blaze of tawny oranges and warm yellows. Something to warm the cockles of your heart as the evenings draw in and the temperatures start to drop.

All of these are in our Hot Border and flowering their socks off. If you do get the chance, come and enjoy them here. If not, I will try my utmost to get back onto posting pictures of gorgeous plants on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ll do my best, promise.


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