I have been re-planting this area over the past 2 years. The Sanguisorba menziesii was a seed-success about 5 or 6 years ago, and likes it much better here where there is some cool in the morning and early afternoon. The Rudbeckia was another seed-story, funny that, as this year I have drawn a complete blank with some extra Rudbeckia seed. Common but very bonny nonetheless, the Rudbeckia fulgida var.sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ lights up the dark colouring of the Sanguisorba, and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Tiny Wine’.
Warning: ‘Tiny Wine’ is not that tiny- heading easily towards 1.5m x 1.5 or maybe 2m in height, but it is a real 3 season-player. Warm red Spring shoots are followed by soft pink-white flowers, and then the deep colouring starts with the leaves, which, by late autumn, glow crimson-red with colder nights.
Further down this stretch are two Hydrangea paniculatas- ‘Phantom’ and ‘Great Star le Vasterival’. They have toiled a bit the last two years with dry Springs and hot summers, but have been greatly restored by the wet, cool, even cold Spring we have had this year. They are both a creamy-white, with ‘Phantom’ having the more typical conical flowers of the Paniculata, whilst ‘Great Star le Vasterival’ has a looser, almost mop-head shape. The ‘Phantom’ photo was taken very early one morning, hence the almost blue colouring.
Across the path, albeit fairly flattened by the heavy rain of 10 days or so ago, Eryngium planum is the bluest I have ever seen it. I used to see this plant in bunches at markets visiting France when we were younger, and I was sure that the flowerheads were somehow dyed! But no. It is a fabulous, trouble-free plant given very good drainage, and in the heat, the colour is phenomenal.
July is the month for Liatris spicata. I have the purple-pink one and the white, both superb and great pinpoints in the garden, giving structure and depth. Liatris is perennial, but variably does or doesn’t make it back the following year. But the very best way to grow them is to sling in new bulbs every Spring, if you hunt for them, you can buy them really cheaply, but they give a lot for a few pence and there is a chance you will double your money the following year.
July and into August brings back Mirabilis jalapa. This tuberous plant is utterly unaffected by heat and dryness. It has a lush, jungly look, and yet will grow almost anywhere as long as there is full sun. Bob Flowerdew talks about lifting the tubers as per dahlias- but if you have free-draining soil, in my experience, try leaving it in as it comes back in the Spring even after periods of -10C with us. It should be ludicrously easy from seed. Ah well.
In amongst the gone-over pale blue Agapanthus, popped up this lovely white one this week. Sometimes, gifts appear from nowhere…